Flat White

Putting the Christ back into politics: a Christmas message for the PM

17 December 2019

12:00 PM

17 December 2019

12:00 PM

Dear Prime Minister

I trust you will not take offence at my presuming to give you advice, particularly since your David-like electoral victory over the forces of Australian socialism.

While attending church last Sunday, I noticed how much our congregation has shrunk from the days when I first brought my young family along. I found this a little worrying. Nations that have embraced atheistic principles in their founding have always proven to be tyrannical and ever ready to crush the freedoms that citizens of liberal societies enjoy.

People in every society need reasons to obey the law and those with reasonably strong religious beliefs have proven themselves to possess sufficiently good habits so that the law is not an imposition but second nature.

The logic of religion in society is two-fold. First, it is good for the soul; if, that is, you believe that we have a soul. And if a pagan like Aristotle can show by demonstration that we do possess a rational soul and not just ‘mind’ that would seem to dispense with that argument conclusively.
Second, when we speak of habits, it is useful to know that if one is commanded by God not to murder with a promise of divine punishment in the hereafter, sensible people will not take the risk; and ‘not taking the risk’ over a long enough period of time is exactly the same as a good habit.
For those who don’t believe in the rational soul or God and place their trust in a positive law that says do not murder, they must be reminded to guard against their fellow man for by what reason is that stranger your neighbour? If that stranger wants to indulge his desire for killing, all he has to do is to take control of the law and all sorts of killing can suddenly become perfectly legal.

The state governments of Queensland and Victoria are good examples of government who want the law to allow them to do what most say they shouldn’t.

You can’t torture a prawn or a mud crab in Queensland without facing a fine or going to jail. But a woman and her doctors can leave her freshly born-alive baby to die alone in a hospital of thirst and doctors can kill unborn babies with impunity.

Nor are the elderly safe. The voluntary assisted dying laws in Victoria have made killing the elderly a simple task of getting their consent. Victoria was the last state to abolish capital punishment but just hasn’t quite ditched that bad habit. Victoria’s licence plates could be branded: “The State You Die for”?

Religion is crucial for liberal democracy. That fundamental belief in a benevolent and just God who has revealed how He expects us to conduct our private lives is the foundation of a liberal society. Without it, we are merely savages under the control of the strongest arm and slaves to his or her whim.

From what I know about your life and your faith, Prime Minister, I do not think there is anything I have said with which you would disagree. But the declining religious observance in this country need your urgent attention; and what better time than now, the time of peace and goodwill to all men.

So, I would like to encourage you to take a small step to counter the atheistic and socialist media who profit greatly from Christmas carols and fairy lights while expressly and implicitly ridiculing the acts of redemption and justice of a Gracious God, that underpin religious faith and liberal democracy.

While the Queen will make her annual Christmas speech, I would encourage you, as the leader of our nation, to do likewise if some days in advance. But your speech will not only extend your Christmas wishes to all Australians. It should also encourage the belief that we did not do this on our own.

Freedom of religion is important in many ways, but there is more to that freedom than Christmas. You must speak to the faithful peoples of all religions in this country. As our political leader, you can use your obvious moral authority to suggest and encourage Australians to take their families to their local church or synagogue, chapel or mosque during the festive season for at least two reasons.

First, so that they can give thanks to God for the benefits that life in Australia has brought them. Second, so that they make some provision, as much as they are able, for those who are less fortunate than they.

Charitable giving is private giving; it comes from the heart because you love your neighbour as yourself. It is the opposite of socialist or public charity where the poor get only what the government has already taken from others’ pockets.

The benefits which we all enjoy and for which we should be thankful are not simply the result of our own labour. They are only available to man because a natural bounty is provided by a divine will.

If you, Prime Minister, use your authority to illuminate a need for faith in divine benevolence, you will be making all Australians mindful of their duty to their neighbour.

Prime Minister, I look forward to hearing you speak. And I wish you a happy and holy Christmas. May God bless you, your family and the Commonwealth of Australia.

David Long is a retired solicitor and economist.

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