Friday, June 25, 2010

On politicians, peace and prayer

Amazing what can happen in just a few days. Wednesday morning nothing particularly eventful seemed to be happening in Australian politics. The prime minister had done a few unwise things of late but everyone assumed he'd stay in charge until the election later this year, if not later. Wednesday night news started coming round the internet that something dramatic might be brewing in the government. By 10am on Thursday morning our then prime minister Kevin Rudd had been removed from power by a revolt from members of his party and a new Prime Minister Julia Gillard was sworn in by lunch time. While technically not the head of state (the Queen has that job) Prime Minister is the most powerful position in the Australian government so this was a really big deal.

Obviously in light of such an unusual method of taking power, lots of people are asking questions. People are pondering what kind of precedent such a dramatic turn of events sets for politics and how it fits (or doesn't fit) into a democratic system. These are good questions I hope people keep thinking about. While it is easy to get too worked up about these things, as Christians there is a peace we can have about the craziness of politics. In Romans 13 we read that all governing authorities are established by God. It doesn't qualify it with governing authorities that gain their positions through conventional democratic elections. It doesn't qualify it with anything about their election campaign or even their policies. Since the verse gives us no exceptions, we can have peace that whatever circumstances got our governments or leaders into power and whatever good or bad they may be doing now, God is still in control and is higher than all the political drama.

I've also realised in this how much we need to pray for our politicians.Outside election time, praying for politicians is not something I often remember to do. Their jobs must be so stressful having to make decisions that could impact on the prosperity, security and development of the whole country. Add to that having the media, fellow politicians and the public watching everything they do and ready to criticize and/or remove them from office at the next election (or sooner) if they are seen to mess up. I'm sure they could really use our prayers. Our prayers could also help us as well as them. If we were to be humbly praying for strength, wisdom and protection for politicians, even those with whom with disagree, we might be less inclined to unnecessarily complain about politics.