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Voting and Praying When There are No Great Options: Two Perspectives from the TGCA Council

Justin Knol, flickr

We asked our TGCA Council members what things were on their minds as they prepare to vote in the upcoming federal election. Here are a couple of their responses


Rory Shiner

In his Boyer Lectures, Australian novelist David Malouf points out that, despite compulsory voting, Australians very rarely cast a donkey vote. It seems that, on the way to the beach or back from picking up milk and bread, when we go into that booth, we take the task somewhat seriously. And then we cheerfully collect our fundraising cup-cakes or democracy sausages and go home, without a thought that we will be under any sort of threat for what we did in that booth.

Like many Christians, I find the decision of how to cast my vote a fraught one. I am aware of many issues in which my faith is directly implicated—abortion, the treatment of refugees, freedom of speech—which don’t map easily onto the respective parties. And I have acquired various convictions about economics, foreign policy and so on—positions which can only ever be those of an amateur, but positions which nonetheless my nation kindly asks me to contribute to the process.

I find the decision of how to cast my vote a fraught one. But I always walk away deeply thankful for the peaceful and relatively corruption-free context in which we exercise this responsibility.

I never go away from the booth 100% sure I made the right decisions. But I always walk away deeply thankful for the peaceful and relatively corruption-free context in which we exercise this responsibility. Let’s be thankful to Almighty God for these gifts of common grace, and pray that Christians will cast their votes in responsible and faithful ways, neither over-estimating nor undervaluing the privilege of voting.


Tim Thorburn

As I look forward to exercising my wonderful right to vote in the looming Federal Election, I find myself more internally conflicted than I have ever felt. But I feel a little silly for being so conflicted and ‘swinging’, because the 2 major parties are not that far apart politically. We seem to have swung from party to party and leader to leader over the last 20 years without much impact on my life.

But still my conflicts arise from a few factors:

1. In the areas where the two parties differ, I am aligned with one on some important (to me) issues, and with the other on other issues. So what do I do?

2. One party seems to myopically focussed on economic management as if there is no more to life than the holy $ and what it can buy. The other party has a heart for social policy, and I applaud some of their policies, but am fearful of the effects of other policies. I can live with some increased difficulty in living and speaking my convictions, but I fear for the effect of some of the social engineering policies on vulnerable members of our society (especially children).

3. I am not impressed with either leader (and I can’t hide behind the naïve assumption that I am only voting for a local member). Although one appears to be a brother in Christ, what I observe is a man with little substance. Even if what I see just is the blokey image his handlers have created, he doesn’t have the substance to escape their clutches. The other appears to have more substance, but I am frightened by some of his convictions.

So what will I do? Even if I vote first for a minority party (which seems a good idea—as a protest vote), the genius of preferential voting is that I will get to vote for one of the two major parties anyway. First I will pray for God’s wisdom, and keep praying for whoever is elected. Second, I will do a bit of reading and research, fact-checking the policies, the characters and the scaremongering that will inevitably descend. And third, I will vote praising God that I have the privilege of living in a country where we can change governments without bloodshed (I pray).

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