Having spent most of Saturday at a polling booth in the Canberra suburbs handing out how to vote cards for the Green candidate I was moved to reflect on the significance of what I was doing and how it related to my fundamental convictions as a follower of Jesus.
For a reflection on the moral significance of the election see Adrian Glamorgan:
The key issue that emerged for me was that to frame the activity in terms of active non-violence in the shifting of power was to highlight an element of what was going on that we take for granted. Pacifists are often derided yet to peacefully transfer executive power is a massive achievement when we consider the alternatives and the record of violence in the struggle to control the levers of government.
A friend of mine with a long experience of working in the Philippines in a situation of complex conflict commented:
I suppose you breathed more a weary sigh of relief than shouted with euphoria. Yet, our political atheism as Anabaptists means our work has changed faces not gone away. How does one such as Rudd remain accountable and not drift off into political heights as so many have done.
Framing politics within the Christian task as a "non-religious" issue, from a position as political atheists in which we are called to participate while neither over estimating the significance of political action nor denying it as being a form of service to the neighbour and living with the reality that structures designed to serve human good can become destructive is difficult.
The potential global significance of the election of Kevin Rudd as a factor in accelerating movement for international action on combating both climate change and global poverty should not be underestimated, either.
Australia will now ratify the Kyoto Protocol and actively engage in the debate about shaping a crucial post-Kyoto settlement. The country is now effectively decoupled from alignment with the United States reticence on this issue, and that change of stance will leave the United States further isolated internationally. See my comments in the Ekklesia story "Australian Christians wrestle with a political Ruddslide"