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Neither John nor Kevin is Lord

  • 14 November 2007

Are we there yet? Because I’ve already left the bus, and I don’t think I’m alone. This never-ending election campaign reminds me of another never-ending story — of the age-old disappointment in political machinery captured by the phrase 'Caesar is not lord'. That's what the early Christian church meant when they struck upon the now familiar affirmation 'Jesus is Lord'. It wasn't pious or proper; it was political and more than a little divisive. And the subtext was heavy: Caesar, the political ruler of the moment, is therefore not lord. Because Caesar, it seems, is too easily captive to the priorities of the world. This is not news. It's been no picnic watching the promises unfold each day of this election campaign. From the tone-setting opening act we might call 'tax cuts for beginners' or 'people worried about their seats' onwards, the election protagonists have wanted to persuade us that life will be good with them in charge. But all they've got me asking is, are we there yet? And where would 'there' be anyway? At this stage I'm tempted to think just having the election out of the way might be enough. But what kind of place are we going to live in when it's over? It's got me downright cranky just thinking about it. I feel quite a bit like the early church contemplating the local Caesar — hell, no, he's not my lord! Traditionally, as we know, Australians like to keep religion separate, rendering unto Caesar that which is political. So even just raising the question of faith in voting can be controversial, and the campaign hasn't been without its share of flack regarding the political influence of Christians.

While the Christian Lobby was releasing statements on how to make your faith count in voting, the front page was fanning controversy about which politicians have connections with which of the more extreme Christian groups — and Bob Brown (unlikely spokesperson of the church!) was offering sound bites admonishing against letting one Christian group speak as though they represent them all. So it seems that winning over Christian voters is an issue already on the table. So despite the Aussie instinct to avoid mixing faith and politics, perhaps some help in this respect is in order. If you're a candidate for Caesar and you want the Christian vote, then here's some advice.

First up, you're in a