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Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Overview A definitive collection of the theologian and public intellectual who was the conscience of the American Century.
Product Details About the Author. Show More. Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches. A Documentary History of Religion in America. Up-to-date one-volume edition of a standard textFor decades students and scholars have turned to the View Product.
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The second aspect of the public presentation of religious beliefs is more debatable in my view. In her major work Marion Maddox argues that, just as in the USA, the government has been speaking in code about matters such as values in education to attract the support not only of religious believers but also others who would not identify with a church.
Government appointments. Religion and politics is also more prominent, though not widespread, in public appointments. The most controversial Howard government appointment in this context has been that of Archbishop Peter Hollingworth as Governor-General in June Hollingworth at the time of his appointment was Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane. Some argued that it was contrary to the spirit of s. The Prime Minister defended the appointment by reference to the diverse religious affiliation of previous Governors-General, such as the well-known Catholicism of his predecessor, Sir William Deane, and the Jewish faith of Sir Zelman Cowen.
But he had taken a further step by his appointment of Dr Hollingworth. The Hollingworth appointment should be seen partly as an attempt to counter the outspoken Sir William Deane, whose social comment on Indigenous rights had a clear Catholic inspiration. Furthermore, it was a public counter-balance to the criticism the Howard government was receiving from church leaders, including other Anglicans. Harper, publicly presented as an active Christian economist, soon rejected criticism of the industrial relations reforms by the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen.
Public policy debates and conscience votes in parliament. The Christian churches have played a significant public role in numerous policy debates, including taxation reform, the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, and industrial relations reform. These partisan issues are discussed in the sections that follow. Before addressing these issues, attention should be drawn to the role of the churches in issues that were resolved by the parliament in the traditional non-partisan way, by use of the free or conscience vote.
There are similarities between the two cases beyond the use of the conscience vote and the party divisions that inevitably followed.
The Prime Minister personally supported the first and opposed the second while the Opposition Leader on each occasion, Kim Beazley, supported both. The parliamentary debates each had strong religious-secular overtones, though this was only part of the story and many other themes also featured. Notably each generated enormous religious primarily but not solely Catholic pressure group activity closely associated with Catholic parliamentarians in both parties, Labor as well as Liberal, and Catholic church leaders.
In it was called the Euthanasia No! There are also differences. The euthanasia issue contained an important states-rights element. The abortion issue, exemplified by the gender of the four movers of the bill, contained a much more explicit gender dimension. In only three women senators out of 25 voted against the private members bill. An analysis of parliamentary voting patterns on the RU legislation shows that Catholic MPs voted overwhelmingly against the bill, though with some notable exceptions, such as Coonan, Nelson, Hockey and Turnbull. At the time the issue of religion surfaced to an extent rarely seen in Parliament.
I thought we had moved on from there. Faith-based delivery of government services. Another controversial element of religion and politics is the role of the churches in the delivery of some government services. Privatization of the delivery of government services has enabled some churches and charity groups, such as Mission Australia, Wesley Mission, the Salvation Army and Anglicare, to successfully tender to participate in the delivery of government programs in several fields, including relationship counselling.
As far as services to the unemployed were concerned this opportunity arose with the privatization of the Commonwealth Employment Service and its eventual replacement by the Job Network program. Controversy followed in December —January over allegations that both the staff employment practices and the client practices of these Christian agencies might breach the separation of church and state and infringe the non-discriminatory nature of the delivery of secular government services.
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
The critics included not only the Labor Opposition and the Democrats but also Jewish community representatives  Tony Abbott, Minister for Employment Services at the time, jumped to the defence of the agencies and charged critics with religious intolerance. The controversy extended to the churches themselves, some insiders doubting the wisdom of such a close association with government. The next theme of this lecture is the interaction between church leaders and the Howard government.
The main Christian churches, Catholic, Anglican and Uniting, represented by the statements of their leaders and leading agencies, have become a consistent element of the opposition to the Howard government on some of the major issues of the decade. At the time of the federal election he was joined by the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne and the Anglican Archbishops of Sydney and Melbourne. It does not apply to all policy areas either.
Lobbying in the Shadows: Religious Interest Groups in the Legislative Process
In the traditional areas of personal morality the churches have generally supported government attempts to maintain the status quo, or at least to resist moves in alternative directions. This included not only opposition to euthanasia and abortion above , but also to same sex marriages. The federal parliament, led by the government but with Labor support, made clear its opposition to same sex marriages just before the election.
But overall the assessment is correct and it predates the Howard government. While generally unsuccessful and often unacknowledged, the churches have been one of the last of the traditional institutions to resist the allure of the economic nostrums of the so-called New Right. There has been considerable church criticism of social policies, such as mandatory detention of refugees and asylum seekers, and infringement of Aboriginal rights. Some of this church criticism has been central to election debates and to the campaign contest between the government and the Opposition. The tenor of church opposition continued when Howard moved to introduce a GST in Only then-Archbishop Pell demurred from the unified Catholic opposition on that occasion by arguing that there was no single Catholic position.
The most recent example occurred with industrial relations reform in The Catholic bishops, joined by many other Christian leaders such as the new Anglican Primate, Archbishop Philip Aspinall of Brisbane, were united in their concerns. The criticism was not solely of the Howard government, though this did little to mollify Coalition members.
Opposition to economic rationalism pre-dated the Howard decade and applied also to the Labor Party. In Australian Christian leaders, joined by Jewish and Muslim leaders, called on all state and territory leaders all of them Labor as well as the prime minister to develop a national strategy to reduce poverty. In June an interfaith coalition of mainstream Christian churches also launched an anti-poverty election campaign. Paradoxically, perhaps, given the general positive stance of Government leaders towards personal religious belief and towards the place of Christianity in the formation of Australian national identity, the relationship between the Howard government and most major Christian leaders has often been very strained.
According to the government they have been speaking out of turn.
But I think from the point of view of stresses and strains when the only time they hear from their leaders is when they are talking about issues that are bound to divide their congregations. Such reflections by Howard followed numerous flare-ups in the relationship since , including suggestions by back benchers that, because of church support for Aboriginal native title, rural churchgoers punish their churches by withdrawing financial support.
They also followed some attempts to mend the relationship by some closed-door meetings between church leaders and their co-religionists in the ministry. But there is little evidence of any major improvement in the relationship. The Foreign Minister argued that the church leaders had misplaced priorities, caused perhaps by their unhealthy attraction for personal publicity.
And this tends to cut across the central role they have in providing spiritual comfort and moral guidance to the community. For some, social work has become the be-all and the end-all.
Environmental issues, feminist and gay agendas and Indigenous rights provide constant grandstanding opportunities. The Foreign Minister regarded the tone of the criticism of church criticism as intemperate. That he was attacking both the major parties is no comfort. Finally, Downer accused his church opponents of misplaced certainty and ignorance. Family First Party. The most recent development in religion and politics has been the emergence of the Family First Party.
The emergence of this new party at the federal election was just one aspect of the larger relationship between the Howard government and evangelical Christians. Despite the success of FFP it remains a less significant phenomenon than the direct influence of evangelical Christians within the Coalition.
Related Major Works on Religion and Politics (Library of America, Volume 263)
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