Christians Urged to Engage in Election with the Eyes of Faith

Monday 26 July 2010

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has urged Christians to get involved in the current Federal election with their faith as their guide.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that it was important for Christians to promote values which are at the heart of Christian faith.

“We hope that Christians will actively engage their local candidates in discussions about the values which shape their views on important social issues from taxation to foreign aid,” Mr Arndt said.

“Values such as the inalienable dignity of every human being, the common good and putting the welfare of the weakest and the most vulnerable first are values that Christians can encourage politicians from every party to embrace in every policy they adopt,” he said.

“We have a calling to be witnesses and agents of justice and peace and we can do that by getting involved in the election and, just as importantly, after the election,” he said.

“The Church should not be telling Christians how to vote, but the Church can be a voice for people who do not have power or influence,” he said.

“While we won’t tell Christians how to vote, we will try to give them opportunities to hear representatives of major parties and to ask them questions on important issues,” he said.

The Commission has sent parishes a guide to help them organize meetings so that local candidates’ views on important issues can be heard and discussed.  Prayers focused on the elections have also been distributed.

In addition, the Commission is working with representatives from the Anglican and Uniting Churches to organize two forums at which Senators and Senate candidates from the ALP, LNP, Greens and Family First will speak and be questioned on a range of election issues.

The first forum will focus on Mental health, refugees, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy  and climate change.  It will be held on Wednesday 4 August at 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m. at the Broadwater Road Uniting Church, 481 Broadwater Road, Mansfield.

The second forum will be held on Monday 9 August at St Paul’s Uniting Church, corner of Mimimine Street and Webster Road, Stafford at 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m.  Its focus will be taxation, poverty, housing and homelessness.

In both forums, a series of questions will be addressed to the party representatives by a panel representing the three churches followed by a period of questioning from the floor.  All are welcome to these forums.

The Commission also hopes that a meeting at which a thorough examination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy can take place will be arranged with the collaboration of Indigenous Christians.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB  This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Mandate which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

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