As you come to vote in this weekend's referendum you should remember these Biblical principles:
(Matthew 22:37–38, 1 Corinthians 6:19–20, Ephesians 2:19, Philippians 3:20)
You are not your own, if you are a Christian, you belong to God through Jesus Christ. As a faithful follower of Him, you're called to Love the LORD with all of you heart, soul, mind, and strength. Bring these faculties to bear as you seek to serve the LORD in this area - use your mind, use your heart, use your strength. You have a dual citizenship of Australia and God's Kingdom, so vote in such a way as to represent God's heavenly permanent kingdom to this broken earthly nation.
(Matthew 22:39–40, Leviticus 19:18, Galatians 5:13–15)
As you vote, you are casting your voice into the collective voice of the nation and we must not use that voice to try and sway the outcome to what serves myself best or makes me feel better. We are aiming to make our nation more and more like the way God's word says it should be, and that by extension also means a nation that is better for my neighbour. Our vote needs to be founded on love for God and others.
Think about all your neighbours in this nation, not just the advantaged or disadvantaged ones. This may include your neighbours down through time. Give voice to the presently voiceless like children and the future citizens of Australia. Am I using my voice to steer us toward something that will be good for the future? Or will they be cursing me for my contribution to their misery?
Loving your neighbour also means dealing with them as an individual. God made and interacts with families and nations as discrete units, but God also deals with us as individuals, this is why the rights of the individual have been so recognised in western nations (Ezekiel 18, Acts 17:30). Is your vote for the benefit of all Australian individuals or only for some Australians?
Loving your neighbour also means working out that love. We may feel compelled to vote a certain way to satiate our desire to "do something". But it is not enough to merely be well wishers, our love needs substance. Are you voting for the substance of love, or just a declaration of it? (1 John 3:16–18, James 2:15–17, Proverbs 14:23)
(Colossians 3:12–14, 1 Corinthians 8, 10:32–33, Galatians 6:10)
There is a right and a wrong side, but some of us will not be able to be convinced on which is which. Bear with those who's conscience has convicted them to vote the other way on the basis that they think they're doing the right thing before God.
(Proverbs 6:16–19, 18:17, Jeremiah 29:8, 2 Timothy 4:3–4. Some of these are about spiritual truth, but I think we can agree we should seek truth everywhere we go)
There's heaps of empty talk going on, not the least of which are all the pronouncements about what a Voice will do or might help with. You are not being called to vote on ideas, possibilities or platitudes, you are voting on what the constitution says with very specific wording. The potential implementation of the proposed Voice is not in our hands, only whether or not to amend the constitution wording.
The Constitution is the foundational document for the country, and in principle it needs to provide the boundaries of who we are as a nation under God. The question is basically "should the fundamentals of our nation include this thing?" All the proposed ideas around who will be in the Voice, how they will be selected, etc. are good to know to help inform a decision, but they are not what will be enshrined in constitution and not what we're voting on.
A trick to try and see if you're having the wool pulled over your eyes is to flip the script and see if the argument still made sense in other circumstances. You can trace out hypotheticals in other contexts to expose the crux of the issue (like Nathan & David, 2 Samuel 12:1–15). It can help to cut through all the emotionally charged language to the principle of the thing.
Emotionally charged language can confuse the issue. In the midst of talk about what is fair, divisive, listening, representation, recognition, compassion, and so on, we ought to be able to take a step back and see what we really mean by these words, and are they being used in the same way by others?
(Deuteronomy 1:17, Leviticus 19:15, James 2:1–9, Romans 2:11, Acts 17:26–27)
There is one race of humanity under God, all made in His image and with inherent value and dignity. There are ethnic and cultural distinctions between us, but there are no hard boundaries between one group or another, we're all related, and in our multicultural melting pot it is impossible to see where one ethnicity or culture ends and another starts as DNA tests regularly prove. On top of that God is the one who has decided when and where we shall all live. We should neither elevate nor diminish others on the basis of their ethnicity. There may be qualitative differences in culture that can be celebrated or dismissed in so far as they are approved by God, as expressed by Paul's assessment of the Cretans (Titus 1:12–13). However, the Christian ethic teaches us that the inalienable qualities of another should not serve as the basis of treating people inequitably before the law, either "positively" or negatively.
(Jeremiah 17:9, Proverbs 4:23, 16:32, 29:22)
Your heart can deceive you, and others can play on your heart to try and drum up the response they desire. This can include feelings of anger or compassion. It might go something like this: "Don't you care about X? Then you must do what we tell you in order to fix the problem." This is a trap. It is entirely possible to care about "X" and also disagree on the best way to adress the issue.
Feelings themselves are good things given to us by God, but we must remember how subjective they are. They are not to be our master, but they are indicators that should lead us to question why we feel the way we do, and even question if our feelings are justified (Jonah 4). Voting by feel is a sure fire way to make a whole lot of people's lives very miserable.
In case It's not obvious, I'm trying very hard here not to say how you should vote. I'm not sure I'm doing a great job of it. I'd like to think that's because the biblical principles lead an obvious direction, but I'm fully aware that, like most, I have bias on political issues and that is going to bleed out whether it be truly founded on a biblical worldview or not. What I want each of us to be able to do is to work from the principles of how God calls us to live, and trace out that trajectory with our voting voice.
Please know that how you vote does not put you outside Christ, or outside your Christian community. You are loved and welcome and invited to find the grace that we all need in Jesus Christ our saviour. While continual contact with the Word of God may change our outlook on life, our present political position is not a barrier to our communion with God's people.
Let us pray that the result of this referendum will be one more step toward our nation bowing the knee to Christ and practicing true righteousness in this country.