Sunday, November 25, 2007

Australia's new Prime Minister-elect a "bookish Christian"

Kevin Rudd, a man who has been described by the media as "a bookish, intellectual Christian" has triumphed in the Australian general election against long term right-wing incumbent John Howard.

The new Prime Minister-elect has been open about his progressive Christian faith, but has argued that the role of faith is not to dominate the political arena but to contribute to it.

He declared last year in the journal The Monthly: "A Christian perspective on contemporary policy debates may not prevail. It must nonetheless be argued. And once heard, it must be weighed, together with other arguments from different philosophical traditions, in a fully contestable secular polity."

Rudd added: "A Christian perspective, informed by a social gospel or Christian socialist tradition, should not be rejected contemptuously by secular politicians as if these views are an unwelcome intrusion into the political sphere. If the churches are barred from participating in the great debates about the values that ultimately underpin our society, our economy and our polity, then we have reached a very strange place indeed."

In an article in the Sydney Morning Herald last October, Kevin Rudd wrote about German theologian and intellectual Dietrich Bonheffer, who was killed by the Nazis in the last days of the Second World War: "Sixty years after his execution, Bonhoeffer's gospel of social justice still speaks to us. Regrettably, much of this social justice tradition of Christianity has been drowned out by a new brand of political Christianity which is being systematically exploited in Republican America and John Howard's Australia."

He continued: "It is a brand of Christianity that celebrates private morality and personal prosperity alone - to the virtual exclusion of equity, solidarity and compassion."

According to some analysts Labor's victory will presage significant policy changes including more action on the environment and global warming, the likely withdrawal of Australian personnel from Iraq and a more compassionate approach to migration.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for these interesting comments on the new leader.... let's get busy praying! Firstly for our prime minister, also for our government, for some Godly leadership and guidance to prevail in our country, and for the Christians in parlaiment, as well as for wisdom for all our leaders particularly in government, but also those running various aspects of the country, at whatever level it may be.... directors, decision makers, people in power, also teachers, parents, all people of influence over others are in need of prayer, and wisdom.
I guess that's my prayer.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the opportunity to contribute. Here is a prayer we might all say...

Praise be to you, O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honour come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
We thank you Lord for - the Governments of Australia that allow us to worship you in freedom and without hindrance. We pray that you will influence those that rule over us so that this may continue if it is your will. We thank you Lord for the Brotherhood in this country and worldwide, as we walk on our Pilgrimage it is a great comfort to have brethren and sisters around us. We thank you Lord for the temporal things of life, for we are indeed richly blessed, these blessings remind us of your love for us even though we are unworthy and were once without hope. We thank you Lord for the example given to us by Jesus our Servant King and for the gift of Grace that was purchased at such a high price. We now present to you our brethren and sisters who were unable to be here today, and ask that you would bless them as they have need. Lord, we seek to come closer to you as we consider your word and the messages that are in it so that we may honour you and worship you without ceasing. We pray that you will give us receptive hearts and understanding so that we may be equipped to be your active servants in our community.
In all things we give you praise and honour that is due to your great and holy name. We offer this prayer to and through our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.

In love and by Grace