• by Christopher Newport

Turning Over Tables?


I should put my cards on the table. I am a left-leaning Christian. My intention in this article is not to criticise fellow Christians, but rather to emphasise the nature of Christ.

Recently, I saw a news report. It showed Australian Prime Minister, Mr Turnbull meeting American President, Mr Trump. Both were very complimentary and supportive of each other. Mr Turnbull was complimenting Mr Trump on the repeal of the past president’s healthcare act. The irony is that Australia has healthcare for all. Both purport to be Christians and yet both are behaving in a most un-Jesus like way. Healthcare cuts, treatment of refugees and care for the elderly and disabled are just a few of the issues that make some of us very concerned.

An image of Mr Trump and his party members celebrating the repeal of Obamacare was disturbing to many. The sad thing is that universal healthcare is standard in all western countries except one. It’s not the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand or Australia: who all have some form of healthcare…it’s the USA!

So what?

So, why discuss the USA leader when I, and so many others do not live there? Why should we care? Well, because no matter where in the west we live, what happens in the US affects us all.

Here in Australia, we have had a right wing government for some time. This Government and its leaders have also attacked the poor and the sick and currently have no marriage equality. Many politicians state they are Christian and yet: they support cuts to healthcare, education cuts, reduce government aid and foreign aid. At the same time they support tax breaks for large businesses and increase student loans.

As a side note, in Russia, women’s rights are currently being attacked; a new law in Russia states that spouse abuse is permittable and is not a punishable offence. You can beat your wife so long as you don’t break any bones. Because bone breaking is a no, no! In Chechnya, homosexual men are imprisoned, tortured and some executed.

As a Christian where do I stand?

Do we believe our politicians who profess to be followers of God? Should we call them out as hypocrites? So often politics and faith just do not mix! Proclaiming as Christian, yet having little or no compassion… do they reflect the love of Jesus? Why lock refugees away? Why take from the poor by cutting benefits? Why give tax breaks to the rich?

Mr Trump declares he is a follower of Jesus and has the support of many church leaders…though not all. In the USA, evangelists are surrounding Mr Trump and calling him the ‘next best thing’... “Jesus wants him in charge” they say.

Worldwide, there are some seriously weird pressure groups and political parties. Are politicians really followers of Christ, or are they just after our votes? We have to look at the actions of our political leaders and their governments and decide by their words and actions.

John 4 says this: For it’s not where we worship that counts, but how we worship—is our worship spiritual and real? Do we worship by our actions? I believe we do.

This is the good news

Christians should love and be kind and should speak out of love. Perhaps there is a way we can question Christians who see Mr Trump as their new Champion? There are Christians who look at Trump, but do not see. They listen to the rhetoric, but ignore the facts.

For every USA there is a Canada. For every Australia there is a New Zealand. I know that within politics there are factions and power brokers and there is the left leaning and the right leaning and many in between. It’s difficult to steer a ship with both left and right currents pushing from both sides. It’s an uneven journey, so Jesus is ignored by some.

It's all about you, Jesus

The good news is that love is a force to be reckoned with. The use of social media means that both sides have a voice. As Christians we know what Jesus has said and what he wants us to do. That message is, at times, so far removed from the message that we are hearing from the powerful Christian right. Jesus is love.

We are getting noticed.

Perhaps we should be doing what Jesus did and turn over the tables of those in the temple taking advantage of others. The opponents may believe that, as Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet “The lady doth protest too much”. They see it as trouble making.

The metronome of politics will move in the other direction in time. It’s time for Christianity to take on change (again) and revisit the mission of Jesus. It is about caring, love and support.

The hope we hold is that the world will learn from this, in time.

Main Photo Credit (Jesus Turning Tables): Image by Dave King www.flickr.com/photos/djking/3728775956/

Christopher wants to see equalness in the world and desires to see the doors of Christianity open to all. He feels that, too often, faith and belief are used to promote individual ideologies. Christopher has been a drama junkie for decades. He enjoys reading, theatre, good food and good company. He loves music but can’t play a note, nor sing very well for that matter. He has two adult children and a patient wife. He lives in Melbourne, Australia. See previous articles by Christopher Newport

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