Monday, November 10, 2008

The Problem of a Christian Party

How would it be possible for a Christian party to get traction in NZ now? I really have my doubts that it could even if there were the will.

It would require all the Christians to work together, which seems impossible. Look at the current situation with 4 parties, 3 of whom polled beneath Legalise Cannabis and the Bill and Ben party!

Even then, it would require getting 5% of NZer's to agree to vote for them and/or get an electorate seat or two. Getting 5% seems an aweful long way off when the combined vote was 2.8%!

Peter Dunne may get another crack in the future, but he was close to losing this time. Can he pull off another one? Plus, he can't go on forever.

The smaller parties have built themselves, in the main, off disaffected mainline party MP's (Anderton, Dunne, Peters) who have pulled the plug on the parties and gone alone. Are there others who could come out of the mainstream to work with Dunne and the other Christians? They would have to be high profile, safe seat people. Do they exist? Perhaps they do.

Alternatively we go the way of the Greens and avoid individuals and find a set of core policies which NZers care greatly about and go for it. But are NZers moved by such family and social ethics as much as they are on the huge global ecological issues.

Such a party would have to come together with a coherant set of policies. Christians tend to be right wing in their politics because of a concern for family and personal ethics. Yet, Christ I think while not opposing wealth creation, would align very much with the left's view of wealth distribution to care for the poor and needy (generally speaking... a much more nuanced discussion needed here!)

A true Christian party would have to combine Christian family, personal and social ethics. I suspect that is very difficult in today's fragmented church environment ranging from Christian socialism through to a prosperity doctrine. There are such different views of the relationship of church and state where some want separation and others want engagement.

Why not abandon the idea of a 'Christian party' and work within the mainstream parties. Let's resolve over the next 100 years to choose the party closest to our values (always prepared to compromise), join, and work for constructive change.


Nichthus said...

Hiya Mark,

I agree with the complexities of forming meaningful 'Christian' policy. Part of the issue is that acting in love requires relationship - something that the cold hard text of legislation cannot achieve. All people are different, and the nuances of their needs differ. The law speaks large scale; love requires individualisation. Genuine charity for one is a needless gesture to another. Withholding benefits might be just what some need, but might be abusive when applied to others for whom need is genuine.

Establishing genuine need and a loving response requires the knowledge that can only come from fellowship and genuine friendship. The hand of the state and its tools, which seek to be objective, will always be insufficient to adequately express the more subjective and relational exercise of love.

See also reference to Boyd's work at!

Cheers, eMark.

Philip and Briar said...

At the risk of sounding cynical, democracy, it seems at some level, undoes itself. One party comes in for 3+ years, changes and maintains things, then another comes in and reverts previous changes, does their own things and maintains the country. Then the next party comes in etc etc. We are forever oscillating between Labour - social and National - business. Perhaps what we need (and here I introduce idealism) is a single, solid, wise, good leader - sorta like David was for the Israelites - who has about 40 odd years to bring this country into stronger times. Someone who can bring together the social and business (and the many other things). Uplift the poor and stimulate the economy. Close the gap between rich and broke, relinquish the hold debt has over the nation and individuals and perhaps even reduce crime and drugs without having to chuck everyone in prison. Of course this person would be exceptional, selfless and ever serving etc etc. However as I said earlier, that is idealistic. Democracy is what we have and I'm all for it.