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August 10, 2006



Wow. The author may not write from a Christian background but he has assimilated the language to great and persuasive advantage in his paper.
The subtle references to current Australian political trends (ie Howard is a better leader because of undercurrents of religious persuasion) carry great weight and cause us to question political support given on basis of religion.
I support his proposed Model no 5 "the Gospel is both a spiritual Gospel and a social Gospel." however, I would deviate from his path that suggests that in order to live this social gospel we must vote in his preferred way.
Yet, a broader view on why we prefer certain political parties other than the typical vague family values and even sexual morality is needed.
Too often "Christian" politics merely affirms or tries to maintian the 'Christian' status quo(whatever that is, and however, Biblical or not it has become) lets look outside that box...we will probably be surprised at what we see.
No, I am not persuaded to vote Labour, but I can affirm with Rudd that "no political party owns God." Let's never begin to assume that they do.

Deborah Taggart

(I couldn't get your version of the full pdf file working, but found it on Kevin Rudd's website: )

One of the statements that caught my attention was "the church, together with other institutions beyond the control of the state, have a central role to play in continuing to apply an ethical yardstick to the practical decision making processes of the state".

It made me think about how easily we may look back with horror at how many of the churches in Germany backed (or at least didn't actively oppose) Hitler.

What will the generations to come look back at, and think....'when this aspect of the Christian ethic was so clearly being ignored/violated in politics, what did the church of the twenty-first century do? Why did they turn a blind eye? Why did they let _______ and ________ distract them from working towards God's kingdom coming in Australian politics?'

Father, open our eyes that we may see the issues you would have us take on in your name. Give us understanding and boldness to address them. Help the Christians working in the difficult sphere of politics, give them wisdom and grace. Lord, let us be infused with your heart and mix with the world like yeast that can transform a whole batch of dough.

Liz Langton

I was really impressed with Rudd’s comments as I believe he makes some really valid points that many Christian voters do not think about or chose to ignore. Model number five was what struck me most as when it comes to caring for the poor and needy, I believe we overlook its importance. The Christian trend seems to be to choose the most ‘ethical’ laws. By this, I mean choosing the party whose policy rebukes abortion and homosexual marriage but on the other hand, provides a lack of services, support and complementing laws to the poorest in our society. On what basis is such a decision made when both issues concern human life and Christian principles? Matthew 25:40-43 comes to mind, ‘The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
I believe Rudd raises the issues we are facing as a Christian community – the issues we should open our eyes to. His conclusion says it all, “No political party owns God. Our challenge is to respond to the great ethical challenges of our age – consistent with the dictates of a properly informed human and Christian conscience.” Isn’t that what Christian ethics is all about?

Joshua Ballard

I read the article, and enjoyed it...I thought he had some brilliant points on how Christians have been encouraged *cough* to vote for certain parties based on a very narrow policy range.

Offering multiple viewpoints, and then presenting his agenda in point five...

And then I remembered that he was a politician.

Grrrr....Bad Politician....

So I looked at it again with my "discernment" *cough* (mean-spirited judgmentalism) *cough* goggles on, and thought...why don't we take his critiques on board, understanding the legitimacy of them and educate "our" "Christian Candidates" and reform "our" Christian political that we do not ignore the matters of mercy and justice while pushing for legislation on issues of sexual ethics.

I must admit that I have a new-found respect for either Kevin Rudd or whoever writes his speeches...He definitely seems to be informed on what the Gospel is meant to mean.

But then, the MP label poisons the well for me. But before anyone gets carried away thinking I'm one of those political Christians, my (probably completely unfounded) prejudice against politicians applies even for Christian parties in politics. the words of my 7th Grade African-American English teacher...

"I'm not prejudiced...I hate everybody equally"

I dig the personal ethics part of the class, but I wonder what's gonna happen when we get to the public part of the course.

Craig Bennett

Kevin Rudd is a very real born again Christian and is speaking from a Christian Perspective, and makes some real and valid points. It may suprise many that there is a very earnest Christian prayer / fellowship group that comprises of politicians and staff from the various political parties that meet weekly when parliament is in session.

One of the most interesting I found was the previous Senator for the One Nation Party who had a real Christian influence on this nation behind the scenes.

Rowena Giunta

I am terribly perplexed. Although well aware that most politicians have their public addresses written for them by professionals I need this to not be so in this instance. I want very much to believe that there are individuals in the halls of parliament who, regardless of party persuasion, truly understand the social focus of the Gospel. I want to believe that Kevin Rudd truly has a grasp of the mandate of Scripture to care for the poor and the needy, to open the shores to the refugee, to heed the cry of the environment.

Undoubtedly it is a well informed piece that emphasizes the duality of purpose inherent in scripture; “the Gospel is both a spiritual Gospel and a social Gospel”, underlining the core truth that the Gospel is “an exhortation for social action.” Moreover it is enhanced because it accentuates the need for integrity and accountability and the author does well to address the relational implications that play out in families because of political decisions……..these are all good points, valid and theologically correct…..but are they Kevin Rudd’s words? I need to know.

Luke P

It seems to me Mr Rudd is advocating a position that “Christian political might makes right”, or in other words the view that “we should enforce as much of ‘the Christian view’ in policy as we can get away with”.

He says sometimes you encounter the view that “a Christian view on policy should always prevail no matter what”. He says we don’t live in a theocracy, we live in a secular democracy. And the significance of this for Mr. Rudd (it seems to me) is NOT that Christians shouldn’t insist on the righteous thing being done because we should not impose our moral / religious views (which are not shared by the rest of society) in ways which will inhibit everyone else’s freedom unfairly. The significance of ‘living in a secular democracy’ is that “you end up electing the people that the society itself ultimately reflects”. So Christians enter the political debates, and yet their views don’t prevail through a want of power. It seems to me Mr. Rudd is saying if Christian politicians had the requisite power then we should expect that “a Christian view on policy should always prevail no matter what”. If this is the case the only difference between the theocratic form of government of a few centuries ago to which Mr Rudd refers, and a government in which the Christian view on policy always prevails (which Mr Rudd thinks is “terrific”) is political power and numbers.

Craig Bennett

G'day Rowena,

I can't say whether or not Mr Rudd did write that message, however it does reflect his Christian beliefs.

Why do you need to know if they are his words? Many preachers at times have their sermons that they preach written by others, we all say prayers and sing songs that were written by others, and even read books that have been highly edited and polished by others.

I heard him speak once about why he was in the Labor Party and how he felt called by God to be in that party and how its historical values sat well with his own Christian convictions. (This challenged me personally)

I think even amongst Christians there is a unhealthy attitude towards our MP's such as reflected by Joshua which is not warranted. Our politicians for the most part are hard working people, and under resourced and underpaid and do work hard under demanding conditions - who all need our prayers to be able to do the job they were elected to do so.

The sacrifices they make are harsh on family,such as one bloke I was talking to from Brisbane who when parliament was called to sit, lived in a one bedroom bedsitter in Canberra because he couldn't afford any thing else, and it was hard on his wife and kids because she had no access to transport if she came down with him....

I believe we need to honor our politicians more, pray for our politicians more and even be prepared to support or go into politics our selves.

Steve Murray

I have always found politicians boring. People who talk in different vocabularys that promise you certain things that you find out later are unavailable through reasons beyond there control. However After reading Kevin Rudd's speech i did feel moved towards his comment on being part of a Fearless Church. I believe we shouldn't be a church that dodges bullets or puts up a defence shield when critiscised for our out of date opinon in a changing world. Perhaps Kevin Rudd can help the churches fearless voice become an impact in politics?

Stefan Bachmann

Kevin Rodd's paper gives an interesting contribute to the political debate about the role of Christians in the political activity. It’s true that maybe Christians have had for a long time a passive attitude towards politics and this has brought some
patterns of behaviour towards politics as the first 3-4 models proposed by Mr. Kevin Rodd describe. This passive attitude doesn't lead to a thoughtful choice that takes really care of the political contemporary issues. One thing, though, that is difficult to comprehend for all the non-Christians,is that sense of immediate trust that Christians have towards a Christian politician:it cannot be the same towards a non-Christian one… That point is missed by Mr. Rodd in the model 1 when he makes a comparison between the belonging to the Syney Swans with the belonging to Christianity(that should mean belonging to Jesus). One could maybe disagree with some views that a Christian politician holds, but the trust factor lays in the assumption of the fact that he asks the leading and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in doing his work, and holds on the basic biblical principal:therefore more worthy of trust.. The problem is that not everyone who declares to be a Christian is a committed one..(and that especially in politics it is easier to fall in compromises). But I agree with K.Rodd that it is not given for granted that Christians are well prepared to face all the existing topics.. Finally I agree on the fact that Christianity shouldn’t be represented by only some political parties. Christians should spread out in the different parties, giving a testimony that Christianity can be also politically various, with different opinions, not just one colour: its unity is found in one common belief, Jesus Christ.

Benjamin Pinn


Sarah Todd

This statement made me think "the church, together with other institutions beyond the control of the state, have a central role to play in continuing to apply an ethical yardstick to the practical decision making processes of the state". I wonder how much this really is the case? I think it could be more so.
What Kevin Rudd had to say made me think a little bit more about how the state and the church can work together effectively to move Australia forward into its future. I do like what is said about the importance of social justice and the role of the church in those processes.
It is encouraging to see that so many politicians throughout Australia's history were Christian but I do think there is more of a place for the incorporation of Christian values and morals in government decision making processes.
I did find myself respecting politicians that little bit more after reading this. I do think we need to respect them.

Caroline Quek

The short extract from Rudd's paper raises many issues. The presentation of the first four models is a good reflection of how people (Christians & non-Christians alike) engage in ethics in the area of politics. Rudd's statement 'read down rather than read up the ethical teachings of the NT' made me realize how often Christians engage in deontological ethics, even though we may deny it.

Rudd's presentation of model five is brilliant because I feel that in it, he highlights a problem and at the same time proposes a solution (a hope). The happenings and the people in the political scene is a reflection of today's society. Therefore if one feels the lack of Christian influence in politics, the same is true in the wider society. This encourages Christians to make a difference wherever they are, as it will ultimately change the society and politics in the country. At the same time, Rudd also notes that although the Christian perspective may not be a very strong influence in politics at the present moment, it 'must be argued and be heard by those in authority'.

Following the models, Rudd gives three examples to illustrate his points, recognising the challenge for us today is our ethical responses toward issues of our days. Perhaps informing and educating people in ethical choices might help? When people do not know or do not understand, they do not care, do they?

Marcus Henningsson

This is a very interesting article. I totally agree with the author, no political party has monopoly on Christianity. We live in a democratic secular state which is a necessary construction in a global society. The author is right that we too often end up in trouble when we call certain political parties "Christian". Helmut Kohl was the German prime minister a couple of years ago; he was also the leader for the Christ Democratice Partie. Helmut Kohl, leader for a "Christian" party got found out misusing federal money for his own interest. It is better to live as a Christian than dragging the name if Christ in the gutter.

Kevin Rod is also right in the fact that we can't have political parties that are only interested in "Christian issues", such as abortion, homosexuality, family values etc. A political party must take responsibility and have a holistic political program which is applicable for every sphere of life. What we need is not a new “Christian” political party. We need politicians who have had the inward change of their heart through an encounter with Christ, an encounter with our savior which enables them to act in a Christ like manner.

Steven Palazzolo

I am impressed with Mr Rudd's thoughts. Infact, I find his thought process to be balanced & fresh. Having come from a business background and having been saved at 27, I took (& still do take) a close interest with what's happening in the political arena. When I became a Christian at 27, I soon found it suprising how 'one-sided' many Christians can be when it comes to choice and even the democrtic process. I agree that Christians (obviously not all.,but at least quite a few in the penticostal church I know) would vote Liberal soley because of the perceived 'God Influence' within the party. I tend to take the more democrtic view & try to set aside the Christian influence factor because I believe that makes sense & I believe that is what God would want me to do - use my God given brain & make choices based on the policies and actions presented by all the competing political parties. Christian headship, unfortunately is not always enough in my view and is often 'not on time'. Mr Rudd's conclusive views especially should be commended. In presenting his thoughts regarding industrial relations, asylum seekers & global climate change, (& associated themes of relationships etc) he brings together much of what is at the heart of God - justice, compassion, ethical living and love. Love not only as relates person to person, but person to planet & creation. A respect for what God values underpins Mr Rudd's views. Again, impressive & fresh.

Chris Hutchinson

This is an interesting paper. I am actually pretty happy with the way he addressed the 5 models. The first and second rose a very good issue stating the "vote for me because I'm a Christian". For me, to confess that you are a Christian is one thing, but to act like one is another, and I'm sure a lot of you would agree to that. I think that is a cop-out in a sense, to gain extra votes throughout churches and individuals that actually want to see Christians in politics, and don't give it enough time to see who this "Christian" is. I would definitely want to read more into the identity of the "Christian" before I would vote, for example - unfortunate situations where "Christians" are also homosexual, or have almost heresies for doctrine.

I believe that Kevin Rudd is on the right track regarding Christianity and Politics, and I think that the models he stated should be reviewed by all Christian voters, and also would be a good thing for Christian Politicians to revise aswell.

Maneesha Antony

When politics is mentioned in any conversation, I admit that I switch off. However after reading Kevin Rudd's paper, I I realised that I need to care and take notice of our politics.

One thing that really struck me was the impact that Christians had on our parliament. I knew that Christians in our government had tried to bring correct morales & behaviours into our government but it never crossed my mind that they actually made a difference.

Unfortunately I don't think that trend has continued. As stated we hav "developed a culture that, in a manner hitherto unknown to humanity, excludes God from public awareness."

The only person that we can truely blame is ourselves. We think we are doing good by supporting the parties that hate abortions, gay marriages, pornography etc but we are not!

Jesus was a man of compassion, He didn't approve of their actions but He still loved them. He was the "greatest of all social reformers."

It's sad to say that probably most Christians including me are in models 3 or 4. I agree with Rudd that we as Christians need to be in model 5. Jesus didn't just have compassion but He moved in compassion. In the same way we can't just say, we need to move and take action so that we can make a difference.

maryjo Wheeler

Helloooo.....Spin City!!!!

I find it most entertaining that Mr Rudd reminds us "We are, of course conscious of all the things that the churches have done wrong - Yes, political buck passing at it's best!

I do, however like Mr Rudd's opinion on "family values" in the political arena. He raises an important question. Do we only accept the traditional view of the family as created by God or can we deviate to cater to the world we now live in? As a Christian politician, how does one represent a population that are becoming more a reflection of the world and less of our creator?

"You end up electing the people that the society itself ultimately reflects." As Christians, are we now reflecting the wrong image? Although we are striving to live "good Christian lives" are we in fact falling short of our purpose and ending up with leaders that we not only deserve, but whom if we look closely are a reflection of ourselves?
I was just wondering????

Cilla Richardson

I believe the gospel is both a spiritual gospel and a social gospel which flows through the life of the Christian.
I am not sure I want to go as far to say the gospel is a political gospel as Jesus showed he had no interest in the elitism of polictal power but responded with his Father's mandate and avoided meshing with political power, but his lifestyle certainly invoked political interest.
I struggle with the thought that the collective power of society really has a say especially when matters of a sensitive ethical nature can be passed during the night by our political electives while the collective society and even the Christian lays dormant.
It is time the Christian collective to awake and start moving together to fulfil the Father's mandate to care for the marginalised, the poor, lonely, disadvantaged to bring an equality to humanity, a call to social justice which may go as far to challenge an economic equality.
We are called to action, too many politically correct words have been spoken, it is time to act.
It is good to ask what the gospel really is and is not.
My concern is for Christians to be careful they do not mesh with society and politics that we loose our identity and the gospel, the Father's mandate that clearly has a cutting edge challenging the values and ethical status of society.

Neil Castro

This is quite a thought provoking read. I’m sure we can agree with Rudd that the gospel is more than just a personal and spiritual aspect but also social since after all the life Jesus lived should be evidence of that.

I realised that there may actually be genuine disciples of Christ who not only want to make a name for themselves, or be head and not the tail, or have personal motives and agendas, but are willing to get their hands dirty for a good and godly change to happen in our society. At least some may truly be genuine in their actions in the name of God. I wonder what I have done lately in seeing my society changed for God.

I agree with Rudd that it would be good if the Church be given greater allowance to be heard in the world of politics, not to speak of what we think is ethically correct or not, but to bring in the voice and heart of Christ in a place where it should be loudest. Humbly, we should be reminded that just because we are the ‘Church’, we are not the world’s answer, but we do know who is.

It is going to take more than just tyring to rally up the troops of believers who can agree with fellow believers in politics. There is more to it than just looking like a Christian or even speaking like a Christian, and the verse “you will know them by their fruits” comes to mind. It is going to take more than just having nice or good moral values, or even about what we stand for or against. It is going to take action, not by our own strength, intellect, reason or will, but God’s. We need to see to it that we actively bring into our world, not just words of hope, but the display of justice and truth that God desires for this desperately needing and lost world to have. It is going to take everybody, Church and State, those in politics and those who aren’t, Christians and non Christians alike, to work together to bring hope and healing to a broken and dying world. Moreover, let all true Disciples of Christ actively live out the social gospel that Jesus Christ began more than two thousand years ago.

I apologise as I realise the length of my blabbing. Do I get penalised for this? =(

Michael Bingham

Kevin Rudd MP suggests that the new IR laws will “make our family life increasingly time-poor and therefore relationship-poor” and that this is an important issue worth addressing because “strong family units = a strong country”. This is true to certain extent. Although I would suggest that the IR laws are not the predominant factor effecting family units. I would go as far as to say that the problem lies in changing family compositions as the result of changing social norms and that it is these changes that need addressing.
Families underwent significant shifts in structure over the 20th century. At the time of federation, families often had extended kin and unrelated people living with them. In the decades following World War 2, nuclear families became more common. While this is still the case, social changes in the later part of the century saw increasing diversity in the kinds of family structures that exist within Australian society:
Social norms are changing; widely accepted pre-marital sex, living together prior to marriage, and even many choosing not to get married at all or even opting not to have children until their 30’s. This dramatically affects the role of women in the household as even the term ‘household’ encompasses so much more then it did 200 years ago.
Im no polititian - praise God - but thats my story and i'm Mike Bingham signing off.

Warren Richardson

The closest I’ve got to politics is watching and listening to Bono and Bob Geldof championing the world leaders for debt reduction for third world counties, and Nelson Mandela’s fight for the abolition of apartheid and the rights of minority ethnic groups, Yes probably naive of me to cruise through life and not take some sort of stand for something in this country and so as a simple knuckle dragging Neanderthal my thoughts on Kevin Rudd’s presentation will be simple but to the point as I see it.
Model 1… “Just because I’m a Christian” definitely not enough content for a vote.
Model 2… “Just because I’m a Christian and have a defined set of views e.t.c.” OK a bit better as you have some guidelines that your constituents can assume you will follow.
Model 3… “Family values” another step in right direction as the future is our families, the next generation will take over from us, showing right from wrong or how we handle ourselves in any given situation, even politics, makes us a television screen for our children to glean our Christian values from. Whether “family Values “ is an abused term does not take away the importance of the subject matter.
Model 4… I have to agree here and although I haven’t been as informed as most, I have worked within the confines of Industrial Relations system and even stood up for people with my Christian hart to the fore, a combination that could only better any relationship be it fellow workers or management.
Model 5…I like most of this, a social gospel that wipes the tears away, and strives for a better union of human kind. A Christian perspective must be prevalent in politics if only to ask the question “who’s getting the glory here”

And that’s how I will wind this up, in all things, “Who’s getting the glory”

Micheal P

Generally i find politicians quite dull, un-imaginative and wouildnt say i listen to them with great enthusiasm. However this article by Mr Kevin Rud was a pretty good read. It was very interesting. He has obviously put some effort into or at least his PA has.

Anyway it was quite interesting how he was bringing across the view that the Labor party makes its decisions based on ethical views and that doesnt always mean its based on christian perspective.

My final thought is that if western society is becoming less and less christian like he said, well as a church (and i put myself first) we need to do better.

Rita Reddy

i very much believe Kevin Rudd's conclusion on industrial relations, the profound effect overtime on families and the fact is every family life needs a relationship and we do need time to nurture them. Therefore we do not want to suffer with time frames and end up with poor relationships with our families.

Felicity de Sauty

Definitely a speech used for motivational purposes! I find his views very interesting.
I agree that using 'I am a Christian' to sway voters opinion is both poor and ironic. It seems perfectly suitable for a politician to pull the voters using this language but it is common knowledge not to interfere real politics with religion. We could hardly see in the midst of a political debate, a politician standing up and saying 'We SHOULD allow Assylum seekers into our borders. Why? Because I am a Christian.' We as voters need wider eyes. Christianity is a loose term, and we need not to assume we are on the same page with those using it. Broad statements can be addressed in speeches but are unlikely to bear any fruit in reality. Coin phrases such as 'family issues and life values' can be labelled so broadly that in effect they become nothing. Are we read up enough to pay attention to politicians addressing real issues or those who are just chasing ideals with emotive talk?
It is necessary to address and hold firm to our convictions such as that on abortion, euthanasia... however are we also focusing on issues that do not draw power for the politician such as becoming the voice for the voiceless?
I agree that too often we limit the gospel to Salvation. If we read the parables and commandments of Jesus, yes he is primarily concerned with our salvation but He is addressing a way of life, a transformation of the heart, that a culture of the kingdom may be outlived on Earth. THAT is social, THAT is political, that concerns both the individual and corporate.
ok.. lots can be said. It is a great topic. But I will finish on the point Rudd raised. He asserts politics has a profound effect on our values as families and as individuals and infers it as vital for a Christian voice to be heard for with or without, it will determine the shape of future generations. It is true that the Bible needs to remain very closely linked to the political arena, however how we package it and present our views is vital to the influence we will have on this nation and its politics.

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