Christianity and the greens

Would you like salt with that?

My WebSalt article about the Greens is now up. You should go over there, read it, and argue it out with me in the comments… It’s much more balanced than my regular blogging fodder because it’s not polemic – it’s balanced… I hope.

“But there is much in their policy platform to celebrate – an Australian Christian Lobby media release issued prior to the 2008 election praised the Greens for their strong stance on climate change, refugees, overseas aid, work life balance and poverty. These are important issues – and should be serious concerns for biblical Christians.” “The criteria that determine an individual’s political preference will come down to personal convictions – that’s the fundamental freedom offered by a liberal democracy. So voters need to decide for themselves whether caring for the poor should be the government’s concern or the church’s? Or whether we should impose a Christian ethical framework on non-believers? Can we vote for a party that purposefully pursues an easing of restrictions in the circumstances surrounding the termination of the lives of unborn children? Just how much of a concern is the environment?”

#00AF33 is the new #000000

For that title to make any sense at all you’d need to google the hexadecimal codes. Go on. Do it. You know you want to…

It’s clever. And it recognises the fact that I’ve truly scraped the bottom of the barrel when it comes to writing headlines about the Green debate.

I’m still working on my WebSalt article – and thought I’d bring you – and the debate – up to speed with my progress. Our local perennial Greens candidate, Jenny Stirling, also happens to be an Anglican chaplain/minister/social worker. I sent her an email with some questions about how she sees the Green party in relation to her personal faith. Here’s a summary of her responses:

I am a Green because of my Christian spiritual values including a strong belief in social justice; respect for God’s creation and the certain knowledge that  all creation groans from our misuse of what is essentially a custodial role; the grass roots nature of our organisation which is  respectful of difference and mindful of marginalised discourses; and last but not least because it talks about peace and non-violence.

In my activism for the Greens and on Green issues (which encompass  all of people’s issues and not just the environment) I employ what I understand to be  the Jesus model of  working with people, that is; compassion; giving respect; opposing oppression; speaking truth to power; standing along side people who need support; listening; acting out of God’s strength and not my own and being mindful that it is  better to be the ‘salt than to have power’ – this quote comes from Bonhoeffer’s  “Seize The Day” which is a daily reflection on the bible from his cell in a Nazi concentration camp. I try to read it most days.

I mentioned the standard “Christian” criticisms of Green’s policy – in fact I sent her a copy of the article so far – which you can find in the comments section of this post. Here’s what she had to say about that:

I belong to the Anglican church and we do not oppose people having the right to express being gay.

I strongly suggest that the public perception is wrong in understanding that we are  soft on drugs. Our policy is in line with most organisations that deal with the link between drugs and crime, including the police. We favour decriminalisaton because it takes away the lure of  the anti-social, robs crime bosses of much of their power to corrupt and we basically want to make drug abuse a health and medical issue. I say that with full confidence because my son is a detective with the CIB and  deals with the standard approach and its failures to make any difference to the drug culture and crime. It is not working and kids lives are going down the drain because we have our heads stuck in  the  sand. Prohibition has never worked. Along with decriminalisation of drug use we support harm minimisation programmes and would continue to throw the book at hard drug dealers.

As for abortion, I am against it personally.  That said I cannot justify putting my values over someone else’s. There will always be women who are abused, raped  and abandoned in pregnancy. I cannot force them to have a child they do not want or leave them to back yard abortionists. I do not see abortion as an acceptable form of  contraception and would vote against that and late term terminations.

I am really impressed with two things – her willingness to speak and act for her convictions and the fact that she took the time to answer my questions (which went over a few different emails).

I don’t however agree with her on some points of theology – or at least the emphasis. But I’m sure some of you – my valued readers and commenters – do. So let me know what you think the most important things she had to say were and what you agree/disagree with. I’m also thinking that I should read some Bonhoeffer.

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