Thursday, November 24, 2011

Choose well

Mark Harris at Preludium has a considered post on the 'lessons from the lands of ACNA and AMiA'. There is 'trouble at t'mill' in AMiA (as reported here and there in recent weeks). I think we need to distinguish between two different polities at work in the respective Anglican provinces, the former IMHO easier to work with for many Anglicans than the latter, not least because its Rwandan provenance has a rigidity to it which even conservative Anglicans do not desire. As far as I can tell AMiA could fail, fall or fade away and ACNA would remain the strong presence in North America which it is seeking to be. I note that my former Nelson colleague, Julian Dobbs, now a bishop of CANA within (alongside?) ACNA, is quoted by Mark Harris. Clearly Episcopalians leaving TEC for other Anglican pastures should choose well.

Putting all previous posts of mine re our forthcoming election to one side, I find that in these last days before the election I am getting weary of our leading politicians' behaviour, obscurantisms and (in)competencies. John Key seemed disdainful of Phil Goff in last night's debate: what is the true character of our Prime Minister? Phil Goff (our Leader of the Opposition) has made a very strong showing in this campaign, but why was that not there before the campaign started? And why has he not been able to summarise Labour's key financial figures with confidence and conviction? Russel Norman presents well as a leader of a rising Green Party and is making noises re economics which make him sound like a contender to be the next Governor of the Reserve Bank (i.e. responsible noises), but that is a smokescreen hiding aspects of Green policy which are highly objectionable (think drugs, abortion, and propensity to spend like there is no tomorrow). Which brings us to Winston Peters and NZ First who is all 'campaign charm' which acts like an opiate to make some among us forget his egomaniacal tendencies to hold this country to ransom: politically speaking I will never forgive him for what he did in 1996, making us wait for a government to be formed which turned out to be the one he had implied he would not support. Thankfully some fascist thugs turned up at a political rally in Christchurch the other night and have been outed as NZ First supporters. Great!?

Further dampening my enthusiasm for this election is the referendum on our electoral system. I am determined to vote against MMP (because it yields too many list MPs who are not responsible to local voters) but cannot make my mind up re a better system. FPP is not for me - I recall how Labour lost elections under FPP in 1978 and 1981 even though more voters in total wanted a Labour government. But which alternative proportionality system is better?

Back to specifically Christian matters in politics. Cranmer has a thoughtful post on an irony in the United Kingdom re Christianity and politics: as contributors to 'big society', Christianity and its network of ministries anchored into the parish system is eagerly and earnestly desired by the UK government; as holders of distinctive values which may clash with secular values and values held by other faiths, Christianity is getting a hard time from the same government. The post points to a conference addressing these matters which has some 'heavy hitters' like John Milbank on the rostrum. Worth going to! For Christian voters in the UK elections must be even more depressing than this one Down Under is turning out to be :(

6 comments:

Father Ron Smith said...

Well Peter, here's something at last that we can both agree on. I don't think MMP is the best solution either. It gives too much prominence to minor parties - leading to some instability of government.

There is, of course, a viable option in S.M. - Supplementary Member - which allows smaller parties a part in government - proportional to their electoral valuation - but not more!

Whether or not I will vote for S.M. - I couldn't possibly comment!

Shawn said...

I'm no great fan of MMP myself, but I'm not sure I want to vote against it. SM would be the best alternative. It allows for a degree of proportionality but still tends to give one party rule. While that is more stable, if your out on the political fringe, and I admit that I am, and you want in time to see change in a certain direction, then how does a small party ever get to have any influence?

This is the first election in which I will be double ticking National, largely because of the global economic situation. But my practice has always been to give my electorate vote to the Nats and my party vote to the Libertarianz. Now while the Libertarianz are a small party with little chance of entering Parliament any time soon, in the long run I believe that will change, especially with the slow and painful demise of ACT.

But how will that happen except under MMP? So I'm going to hold my nose and vote for the status quo on the referendum.

The situation for conservative Christians in Britian is truly dire.

Recently a married couple who foster care were banned from ever doing so again, despite the fact that they were apparently very good foster parents. Why? They were evangelical Christians and refused to teach 8-9 year old children that homosexuality was a valid lifestyle.

This sadly is not an isolated incident. Increasingly in Britian ANY opposition to or criticism of homosexuality is being criminalised in the name of "diversity", "human rights", and "multiculturalism". This is Liberal totalitarianism at its best and worst.

The irony is that the couple in question were black. Apparently they just weren't "diverse" enough for the judge.

Father Ron Smith said...

Your British friends, Shawn, did not have to teach their foster children that 'homosexuality was a valid lifestyle'. All they needed to do was refrain from saying that it was not.

They were probably so incensed by the fact that homosexuals might be thought to be children of God - the same as anyone else - that they did not want to be prevented from saying they were not.

Shawn said...

In other words they had to compromise their faith in order to appease Ceaser.

And you think thats ok Ron?

"They were probably so incensed by the fact that homosexuals might be thought to be children of God - the same as anyone else "

Rubbish. They, like all Evangelical Christians, DO believe homosexuals are children of God. This kind of false claim is unchristian and dishonest. Lying is a sin Ron. Stop misrepresenting what Evangelicals believe and why they believe what they do. I heard these kind of lies repeatedly at St Michaels, until I started going to Grace Vinyard and found out that real Evangelicals are not the hatemongering bogeymen you and others claim.

Do not bear false witness against your neighbour. Remember?

Evangelicals believe homosexuals are children of God, we also believe that like ALL God's children they must repent of their sins and conform their lives to Christ.

And Jesus is Lord, not Ceaser.

Father Ron Smith said...

Shawn, it so happens I'm rather fond of the parable of the 'Pharisee and the Publican' - where the Pharisee quotes all his 'goody-goodiness', while Jesus commends the Publican, who cannot bear to look up, but meekly bowing his head, says "God have mercy on me a Sinner".

Jesus said, "Which of these two went away justified?"

My question here is: "Which is the worst sin? Sexuality or judgement?

Shawn said...

Ron,

they are both sins. You cannot make one sin ok by comparing it to another.

There is no judgement going on here, there is merely faithfulness to Scripture and a calling for accountability.

Being clear that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin is no more judgemental than believing that murder or gossip are sins. Moral discernment is not judgement.

Yes we are all sinners. But saying that does not make any sin right, including homosexuality.

And the pro-homosexual liberals in the Church do not have the right to lie about what Evangelicals believe.