Though speaking of today, I moved to Australia exactly seven years ago. Yay and such. I still don't know why I moved here or why I wanted to. Once I'm done with university, I'm leaving Queensland as soon as possible. At least, I hope I can. New Zealand, Wales, or anywhere nice and cold would suit me just fine. The Antarctic, maybe? I am looking forward to establishing my cold utopia.
Tomorrow's the federal election here in Australia, and honestly, I haven't really followed this election campaign. I don't think it's worth it. Labour and Liberal seem to disagree with each other just for the sake of disagreeing with each other, the Democrats are a national joke, the largest Greens supporter base within a few hours of me probably consists of the weed cultivaters down in Nimbin and Byron Bay, the other minor parties can't do a thing, and I've seen some extremely vicious bashing of this new Family First Party on Interference's Free Your Mind forum. I think some of those people need to free their minds from preconceived bias. Whatever was wrong with a party based upon an ethical platform supporting family values? Apparently they're the scum of the earth. And what about the stoned hippie candidate running for Nimbin? Seems he's quite alright. Am I the only person missing the logic here?
There seems to be this constant opposition to political candidates, representatives, and parties with ties of some description to religion - for example, the leader claims a particular faith, they are endorsed by a particular church, and so on. Oh wait, who am I kidding? If a Muslim were to establish the United Islamic Party of Australia, people would be hailing it as a success of multiculturalism and declaring that the Muslim community of Australia finally have their own political voice. Name any religion other than Christianity and the same reaction happens. But the second a Christian speaks up - even a liberal - all sorts of slanderous labels are thrown around. The politician or party is labelled divisive, bigoted, closed-minded, and a danger to this country. The 'fundamentalist' tag is thrown around with total disregard for its actual definition. You can't be a Christian and be a politician. It's just not on. Be a Muslim, be a Hindu, be a herd of homosexual cattle with a computer programmed to create catch-phrases, BUT DON'T BE A CHRISTIAN!
Here's a revelation for you: Christians have brains too. Oh, that's right, we also furthered literature, science, medicine, the study of history, philosophy, and technology.
I fail to see why people have such a problem with politicians being Christians. Personally, I'd like to know that my elected representative has a foundation higher than himself and an authority he feels compelled to answer to, regardless of my religious persuasion. I'd rather an elected official who has clearly defined values, ethics, and morals that are open for me to read about, and what's more, I'd like to know that he's committed enough to this position that he will adhere to it. Now if his ideals and morals are akin to Stalin's, then I won't vote for him and I hope no-one else would, but under normal circumstances, it's good to know where you stand with someone and have an assurrance they are going to act based upon values and ethics that aren't decided arbitrarily or on the basis of shifting emotions.
Any reasonable atheist - which is essentially all atheists, seeing atheism is reasonable - would have to accept that a logical extension of atheism is that with the lack of a higher power, each individual atheist is free to determine their own set of values. It's the survival of the fittest and there is no-one else and no other force to impose any values upon the atheist. I'd know. When I was an atheist, I did just that and worked by my own, self-determined morality. I'm not trying to condemn atheists because I know many who have very respectable value systems and who will rigidly stick to them, but what I am trying to point out is the total absurdity in the condemnation of Christian politicians and political parties.
Look, vote for whoever you want. Support whatever political party you want. But when making those decisions, and when arguing against opponents, don't argue against their religion, argue against their policies. Also, do yourself a favour and recognise the important value of religion in our society, both in the past and at present. Anyone familiar with theology can tell you it's not something for the brainwashed and idiotic.