POLITICS, POLICY AND FAITH: THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT IN AUSTRALIA

  • Marcus Smith RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Peter Marden RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Abstract

In this paper we offer a critical assessment of the politics of the Christian Right and question the degree to which the religious values of the Christian Right are compatible with a democratic political culture. If religious values are equally political values making the separation of religious belief and political action a fraught exercise, then a number of issues arise. Political action inspired by religious faith should not prevent critical scrutiny of the underlying values, or more importantly, their influence in shaping public debate and public policy. If religious values are indeed political values, then do protections of freedom of religious expression privilege forms of faith-based politics over secular forms? And if so, to what end? We argue that a more nuanced analysis of the intersection of religion and politics is required to ensure that public politics is not threatened by particular forms of religious political activism that exhibit totalitarian tendencies. At the very least, close attention needs to be focused on particular policy advocates and the agenda they seek to advance with little accountability or transparency despite claims to represent the public interest. It is to these ends that this paper makes a contribution

Keywords: Christian Right, public policy, democracy, political values

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Published
2017-01-10