There is a very “necessary activism” that accompanies the church’s outworking of authentic Christian mission in today’s Australian situation.
As Christ’s people we are called to be good neighbours to all, including those who may not be particularly popular to befriend, such as prisoners, boat people, the socially outcast and ostracized, the poor, the unpopular, and otherwise marginalized.
If our governments, or their institutions, through their systems implement unjust policies of ignorance, hate and contempt toward those or similar groups of our neighbours, we cannot in good conscience just acquiesce to that popularist political correctness in neutral appeasement to the very things we know run counter to Christ’s vision for justice and equity for our neighbours in his future plans for his Shalom society.
It’s all very well to cite texts like Romans 13 to defend being voiceless and silent in some sort of misguided loyalty to the principalities and powers we presume that God put in place over us. But Paul never intended his statements there to be misused as control measures to prevent us from speaking out prophetically in Christ’s name against un-neighbourly and unjust systems promoting ideologies and systems which oppress and marginalize people.
To counter that sort of thinking, there are far more biblical texts than that one text taken in isolation illustrating the fact that, when necessary, to be faithful to God’s mission for us as a society, we are actually called to speak out hard truths of correction to political and institutions when they behave unjustly toward the poor, the refugees, sole parents, Centrelink (government assistance) recipients, the disabled, the orphans and similarly marginalized among the people of our nation.
History tells us that Nazi holocausts, murderous crusades “in the name of God”, genocides of First Nations people, slavery and systemic economic and racial violence more easily occur when good people, such as Christians, fail to muster together in solidarity to prayerfully and deliberately resolve to prophetically speak out and demonstrate publicly against it.
When the Church fails to speak out for justice, it fails in its mission calling from God. How can it liberate in Christ’s name (viz. Luke 4) if it remains silently uncritical about systems of political and institutional injustice occurring around it which afflict and oppress its neighbours with hostile and un-neighbourly policies. By remaining passively silent and neutral in its posture while witnessing such unjust things unfolding, the church actually becomes complicit in the injustice being brought to bear against the victims.
~ Andrew Park. Creative Arts & Social Concern Network Coordinator