"It's an uncompromising message.....that Christian ethics, unless applied to the concrete social challenges of the day, is meaningless... It's not OK to go to church on Sunday and be unconcerned about social justice on Monday." - Kevin Rudd, shadow Foreign Minister.
I'm fascinated to see/read what the Australian Labor politican Kevin Rudd has to say about religion and politics in a magazine article he's had published, so must hunt that down sometime soon. As someone on the Left, it will be interesting to hear his perspectives, although I'm not sure about how the Labor Party making a stronger connection with religion in Australia would work (particularly because of their kind of "secular" background).
Mr Rudd's also been featured on radio and TV with this kind of thing (as noticed in a 'flu-haze last night on Lateline). It was quite interesting, although I did kind of end up letting my mind wander to pondering 'flu meds at the end so I'll have to look at the transcript on Lateline's website. Anyways, apparently Rudd discusses Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the article, too. Love Bonhoeffer's work and I wonder what Rudd's take on him will be.
I'm quite sick of the whole Right-wing Christian thing, evangelicals doing neo-liberalism etc annoy me (plus there's the quote, "The scandal of the evangelical mind is there isn't much of an evangelical mind" and I can't remember who said it at the moment, but it's true), Christians most definitely aren't just found on the Right and more people on the Left need to do something about bringing intelligent Christian debate to the fore (no, it's not an oxymoron).
Sadly, there are so many Christians I know who think that the sun shines out of George Bush and John Howard's collective rear ends, ignore the Christian social gospel and don't give a damn about other people as long as they have their nice McMansion, plasma TV and big car to drive to their Hillsong-style church on the weekend. AARRGHHH!
Christian ethics is a dead thing unless it's converted into positive social action that's constructive, helpful and intelligent, providing a voice for those who are suffering and abused. And I guess that's the Christian socialist side of me talking there... *sigh*
Plus I'm not sure about this in how it does the church/State combination. I'm definitely in favour of the separation of the two, although I think that personal faith(s) can be a positive influence in how politicians conduct themselves and their work (ohh, the stary-eyed optimist in me...). Many people from a variety of religious/faith backgrounds have done fantastic things in politics and make important contributions to society and I don't think that can be ignored.
However, as Mr Rudd says, no political group has a monopoly on God, but I think that religious groups probably shouldn't have a monopoly on politics, either. Although it might start with good intentions, it can easily get hijacked and go down the wrong kind of paths.
Still, I guess I'm glad to see a politician not banging on about things and attempting to use religion as a trump card in their argument as some are wont to do.