Thursday 21 June 2007

Church and State - Do leaders have a right to speak out?

Not sure if you read the short opinion piece by Gerard Henderson in the SMH on Tuesday 19th June but it offered welcome support from a secular institute to church leaders who speak out on important issues. George Pell's comments in the recent stem cell debate led to almost hysterical comments from many politicians and community leaders. Henderson makes the point that people can be very selective in whether and when they want church leaders to speak out. He cites Michael Burleigh (2007) who has written that Europe's public culture is dominated by 'sneering secularists' who set the tone for the population. As Henderson also points out, secularists like Richard Dawkins have dominated a great deal of the public space in recent times with their claims. So why shouldn't Christians express their views. Of course this is exactly why CASE exists, to provide opportunities for Christians to express their thoughts on any contemporary issue that they see as important. If you'd like to read more about the relationship between Church and State why not have a look at the 2005 New College Lecture material. In fact you can buy the DVD that includes all the lectures from Andrew Cameron, Kevin Rudd and John Anderson for just $5.


mark said...

As one who has been heavily influenced by the writings of Francis Schaeffer, i feel strongly about the need for Christians to be vocal on matters of morality (and the construction of society in general). Whilst I conceed that the unbelieving world has a different set of presuppositions in order to understand the universe, i think that history shows us (this is illustration - NOT - a dawkins/hitchens type of 'proof') society declines when it moves from its Judeo-Christian base. "In a society without absolutes, society is absolute." Schaeffer (How Should We Then Live)

Let us take the Gospel boldy into culture for the glory of God!

Mark Fairfull said...

I agree with Mark's comment. I also like Trevor's remarks as they point out to us the inconsistency of the society and state's views on the voice of Christianity in the public square. It seems to me if a politician or government doesn't agree with Christianity, they spin like crazy against the proponent of the opposing view to make them seem ignorant, unwise and foolish, indeed down right wrong to have expressed any public view at all. The New College Lectures material on this topic is very, very good quality!