Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Peas in a pod

For the first time in living memory Australia has a Christian Prime Minister and Opposition Leader. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is an Anglican, and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott a Catholic who once trained for the priesthood. This may upset those who think that religion and politics should not mix, but both men claim that their religious beliefs inform their politics. In recent years, both major political parties have sought to actively court the Christian constituency. Prior to the 2007 federal election, the Australian Christian Lobby hosted a forum at the National Press Club in Canberra in which former Prime Minister John Howard and then Labor Opposition Leader Rudd addressed a gathering of Christian leaders. At this time there is no word as to whether a similar event will be held this year.

The next federal election is only months away. It may not be held until October, but there is some speculation that it will be called soon after US President Barack Obama visits Australia in June. Rudd, Abbott and other openly Christian politicians may be sincere in their faith, but they cannot take it for granted that Christian voters will automatically vote for them. To earny my vote, you'll have to do more than tick a few boxes on a "values voter" checklist or say right sounding things. Behind the facade of your carefully controlled public image, you might be a good and decent person, but are you a competent leader. In the end, having looked at all your policies, it will come down to a choice of whether or not having you lead Australia is in the national interest.

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