October 30, 2005 | Graham

Christianity in the political workplace

We seem to be simultaneously in a time of strident secularity and one where it is unprecedently fashionable for politicians to declare their Christianity, and Christians to want to interfere in politics, as Christians. Industrial relations policy is the arena where most of the action is at the moment.
You have Kim Beazley’s declaration to the Australian Christian Lobby that “I do pray from time to time that I make right decisions.” Although he conceded “I don’t necessarily think even then that I’d blame God for the decisions that I make.”
Beazley said politicians shouldn’t try to exploit religion for their own “political ends”, but he presumably didn’t mean they shouldn’t use it to their advantage, or it would have made a nonsense of him being at the conference. And by backing a call by Catholic parents to put the government’s industrial relations in the school curriculum, he did appear to be trying for a religious advantage.
This is an issue that the churches have bought into in a big way, being more ecumenical on the workplace than they can manage in most areas of dogma. Beazley may not have been trying to exploit religion, but others, particularly in the churches, have.
Take the attempt by the president of the Uniting Church to intimidate the new Fair Pay Commissioner Professor Ian Harper an evangelical Anglican saying he “should face a crisis of conscience between his faith as an evangelical Anglican and his role determining the wages of the lowest paid.”
Which all leads up to the issue of what the Christian position ought to be on this issue, or whether there is such a thing as a Christian position. I had an email discussion about this with a friend of mine employed by the Anglican Church. My conclusion was:

I think Jesus would probably say something along the lines of, “If you do a good day’s work and put your heart and soul into it, then you don’t have to worry whether you get sacked or not, and if you don’t put your heart and soul in, well look out. Whatever happens is God’s will.” Something like that. He was pretty big on rolling with the punches. And you also get the impression that Joseph’s carpentry business had a few employees. Certainly some of those parables reveal a commercial mind. He probably would have approved of the boss’s right to make decisions about employment matters. He certainly likens God to a tough boss plenty of times.

I might not have this right, but I’m sure he would have been much more equivocal than modern day churchmen which could be one reason his church saw two thousand years of growth in the West, while theirs’ is in steady decline.

Posted by Graham at 6:26 am | Comments (2) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. Graham, your post is full of the usual unexamined assumptions/presumptions about “jesus”.
    In this day and age “jesus” is really just a childish cartoon character along the lines of the tooth fairy, the easter rabbit and santa claus.
    And “jesus” did not found the Christian church. It was founded centuries later by men (no women of course) by people who obviously never new “jesus”. Nor has the “church” ever been faithfull to the radical spiritual teaching of “jesus”: thou shalt love the lord thy god with every fibre of ones being and THEN love thy neighbour as thyself.
    Historically “jesus” has been used to justify every horror imaginable. And christianity has been an integral part of the entire western imperialist misadventure. And it still is courtesy of “gods” man in the Whitehouse!
    See 1. http://www.dabase.net/reformch.htm for a unique interpretation of churchianity. John

    Comment by John — November 2, 2005 @ 7:11 pm

  2. “Christianity in the political workplace” – Well here we go again… when are we going to wake up to the fact that polticians are not to be trusted. They will use their grandmother one day, their children the next, and when convenient God. Christianity my friends is not to be confused with churchianity which is a man made institution. Jesus did start His church made (only)of true believers in Him. Stating that someone prays or goes to a church building does not make them a Christian more than goin to a cinema makes you a movie star. Beware of the cameleons.

    Comment by John — November 3, 2005 @ 8:32 am

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