Influence of Christianity on Public Morality

Essay by SymoneHigh School, 12th gradeB, March 2004

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Public morality refers to attempts by Christians to influence public policy so that a more just society is shaped.

In 1972, a Methodist from Victoria, John Westerman, suggested that this could be usefully summarised under five main approaches;


-The Christendom approach says 'we want the whole community to accept Christian standards'.

-A recent example of the Christendom approach is the way religious groups effectively lobbied to have the federal government over turned Northern Territory legislation that legalised euthanasia. This was despite surveys indicating that more than 70 per cent of Australians (and up to 84 per cent of those who never attend church) believe that euthanasia is sometimes or always justified.

-Church people campaigned hard fro Sabbath observance. Today Teetotalism (totally obtaining from alcohol) and Sunday observance are non-issues in most churches. In 1906, however, the editor of The Methodist said; "It is right for ministers to be active fighting for righteousness as to Sunday observance and temperance, but it is not right to be active on political subjects whish are matters of opinion and not conscience".


-The separation approach says that the church should address spiritual issues, but not issues about the running of the country.

-According to Catholic theologian Frank Brennan "When John Howard's government wanted to crack down on boat people including even those who were bona fide refuges, and the churches objected, Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock said that the churches should stick to what they do best and leave the politics of border control and refugee rights to the elected government".

-Issues about the fallen secular world are irrelevant, unimportant, or less important than those of the spiritual world. After Baptist minister and President of the Baptist Union Of Australia Rev. Dr Tim Costello formed the Victorian Inter-Church Gambling Task Force, some Christians said,