Where was the Christian Vote in the Federal Election?
Where was the Christian Vote in the Federal Election?
Did Church leaders fail to have a voice?
Did Church Pastors fail to give their people necessary information?
Lachlan, you were pretty outspoken prior to the election regarding what you saw as Christian issues in voting – do you think you were heard?
The few times I actually had face-to-face opportunity in speaking at meetings, yes – but there were too few of those opportunities.
Is it a problem for you to be outspoken?
Yes, as a medical practitioner and a senior member of our society I have an obligation to be respectful of others and their opinions. Most importantly I must not bring dishonour to my Lord Jesus Christ.
Do you find yourself at odds with other Christian leaders?
Yes, I find myself at odds with what is said and what is not said.
Can you succinctly define those matters?
Firstly I don’t think the big issues are really understood by many, secondly they get submerged in a lot of fairy floss or, thirdly, they don’t get said at all – these latter two for fear of offending people or for fear of being perceived as too radical and therefore not heard.
What do you mean by fairy floss?
I don’t mean it to be disparaging but I mean issues on which all Christians should be agreed as matters of concern even though there may be different opinions on how these should be addressed – concern for refugees, our place in international conflicts, third-world poverty, homelessness, overseas aid e.g. should this be provided by government or by private giving through international aid organisations? Our vote may be split on how to tackle these matters but in my view they are not the big defining issues. Biological sustainability and climate change are also matters of concern and bring out differences in how they should be addressed but they also are not big defining issues. If these matters only are discussed and the really big issues are missed out then I consider we have failed.
So how do you define a “defining issue”?
Defining issues are wrongs actually brought into being by government introduced legislation as opposed to matters occurring or happening in our world. With respect to things that are happening we may argue about contributory negligence and about what might be required in legislation to rectify that and also to prevent it. But what we cannot argue about is when governments actually legislate to permit wrong. What we cannot argue about is when governments legislate to permit evil. And especially what we cannot argue about is when governments legislate to compel evil.
Whoa! “Permitting evil” and “compelling evil” – that’s heavy stuff. How can you justify this language?
The law in Victoria regrettably illustrates this. In Victoria we have unrestricted abortion right through to term by any method which for mid-trimester abortion may mean simply pulling the baby apart with forceps – carefully reassembling it later to make sure bits are not missing – and for very late abortion may mean delivering it as a breech and then puncturing the base of the skull and sucking the brain out so as to collapse the skull thus allowing delivery of the head through an incompletely dilated cervix, and all of this without any consideration of anaesthesia for the baby. As there are no restrictions for reason there is effectively state approval of eugenic selection of anything regarded as less than perfect through to birth, including readily correctable abnormalities such as cleft lip. And – worse still – in Victoria we have legal compulsion of doctors to act against their conscience. Doctors are compelled to refer to a doctor they know will support a request for abortion.
Whoa again – that’s too much to take in!
Yes, agreed. It seems that the general public in Victoria have no idea what their government has done or have failed to realise its significance. But tragically it’s real. Do you understand?
But there must be some checks and balances surely?
Up to 24 weeks it only requires the mother’s request and a doctor to do it. Over 24 weeks it only requires one doctor in addition to the abortionist to agree with the mother. And if the doctor does not agree then he or she has to find a doctor who will.
Surely that cannot be?
One would think not but written into the legislation is the Section 8 provision to force doctors – even when such is against their deeply held convictions and conscience – to refer for abortion when asked by a patient. It is the first time in the Western world since Hitler’s Germany that doctors have been forced by government legislation to participate in evil. Now it is one thing to pass a law that permits evil but it is something more to pass a law that compels evil.
How come there wasn’t a huge amount of protest – at least from Doctors?
Oh, there was – from the AMA and from many groups. The overruling of conscience provision even flies in the face of Victoria’s own Charter of Rights and Responsibilities – all of this got ignored.
But how could this be?
It is a sad but inescapable fact that many MPs are elected with specific agendas to implement regardless of any logical argument that may be subsequently be mounted against those agendas. The Victorian abortion legislation owes much to the influence of Emily’s List.
OK, tell me about Emily’s List.
Just under 60% of female Labor MPs nationwide are Emily’s List members. Founded in 1996, Emily’s List aim was to get Labor women into parliament and from its beginning it was to be pro-choice. This extremely pro-autonomy (seemingly at the expense of any consequences to society), pro-choice (read pro-abortion), pro-euthanasia organisation boasts of the great victory of the abortion legislation “free of harassment”. The legislation was introduced by MLC Candy Broad, one of the founders of Emily’s List.
So what’s the connection between all this and the recent federal election?
Our newly elected PM Julia Gillard is also a founder of Emily’s List and wrote its constitution.
Oh! Would you like to enlarge on the significance of that?
The connection is inescapable. She is a believer in all that Emily’s List stands for and presumably in what it has achieved. If not, then she could easily have distanced herself from what it stands for and has achieved. To my knowledge she has not.
And so, this is a defining issue for you?
Yes. And the majority of Church leaders have failed to get to grips with this as an issue or have been too reticent for fear of being seen as disrespectful. But there is a time to grapple with the truth and declare it and challenge those who espouse the ideals of such as Emily’s List – a small issue in the eyes of some but immensely significant in terms of what I call straight-out good and evil and if you don’t like those terms then I challenge you to come up with another name for what has taken place in Victoria.
Does that mean that Julia Gillard can’t be a good PM?
No it doesn’t. Although I would much rather have a PM who believes in traditional marriage as the bedrock of society and who believes there is a God, she has the potential to hold things together to actually work for the good of the nation. We need to pray for her and all the disparate factions to this end and that the factions that would like to implement some of the bad – mostly social issues – will take a backseat and not make things difficult for her. I do have some fears once the Greens hold the balance of power in the Senate – and I do not think enough has been said by Christian leaders about the bad side of the Greens.
So you’re still upset by Christian leaders not having said enough before the election?
Yes, I am. There’s a time to pussy-foot around and “be nice” and there’s a time to confront and challenge and tell the truth. Now I don’t mean to condemn my fellow workers in Family Voice Australia or Saltshakers or Right to Life or the people who put together the Christian Values Check List or other outspoken individuals and bodies – I mean denominational leaders and individual pastors of congregations. We all have an obligation to tell truth. Pastors should all have some prophetic role in telling truth – not telling their parishioners who to vote for but defining evil brought about by government. I challenge anyone to call what has taken place in Victoria anything else but evil.
Now I know you have been very active in Christian Democratic Party and have also stood for election four times now. How does this fit with what you have been saying?
I really don’t want to detract from anything I have already said but voting intelligently is a Christian responsibility. It is not optional. We are not confessing Christ if we vote irresponsibly. I will not tell people who to vote for – although I obviously wish they would trust me and the party I work with – but I do want people to use their vote intelligently. I want them to understand that if they put their minor party of preference first and major party second their vote will flow on at full value if the minor party does not win. It is so simple but people still do not understand – I think out of fear of losing their vote. I still have people telling me they voted for me yet put me down in second place. In illustration I only need to remind you that if just 91 Liberal voters who put me as number two in 2005 had instead put me as number one I would still be in state parliament. OK, God was in charge of that process as a lot of things have taken place that would otherwise not have been possible but it’s a good example of the importance of knowing how to vote. Only 91 supporters who understood the system…
And are you saying that church leaders and pastors have a role in this too?
Yes. I consider this to be a part of Christian living, Christian behaviour and confessing Christ – as much as intelligent and ethical behaviour in business or driving responsibly, eating responsibly or whatever. Such behaviour needs to be taught and I consider it needs to be taught from the pulpit. We have shied away from such teaching over the last few decades.
But pastors will disagree, won’t they?
They won’t like me telling them but when will they inform? OK, at the moment we have a PM whose party in 2009 removed the definition of marriage as being between male and female from Labor Party policy, who herself has not married but lives in a de-facto relationship, who obviously prefers “counsellors” in schools to chaplains, and who believes in the values of Emily’s List. Wasn’t this enough to inform? But what if we had been faced with the possibility of a PM who said they would bring in same-sex marriage, compulsory euthanasia for certain conditions and ultimately age, physician assisted suicide, restrict palliative care drugs and hospice funding as medical insurance bodies have done in Oregon, limit benefits for children of “genetic outlaws” who have refused to abort their babies when significant abnormality has been shown – would pastors then define what is good and what is evil and then teach their people how to vote in a manner befitting Christian responsibility? Or would they still be silent, like the church in Germany?
Wow! So what are you going to do now?
I have known for 20 years that I had another task to do that would occupy the rest of my life and that I was marking time so to speak with three very important matters in the ninety’s and 2000-01. What I am doing now in speaking publically and challenging, first of all God’s people, I will be doing until God informs me otherwise.
Lachlan Dunjey. September 2010.