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Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

On Staying Loyal To a Political Party (Which Way Forward for Conservatives?)

Sep 16, 2015

There are some people who are diehard political party loyalists. They will stay with their party to the death, even if it goes off the rails. I am not thrilled with such folks. Parties can and do change, and sometimes the best thing we can do is reconsider our support for a party if it betrays its core principles and values.

And as a Christian I believe our only ultimate and absolute loyalty should go to Jesus Christ anyway. No man, no party, and no human ideology should take our supreme loyalty and commitment. Sure, as they more or less align themselves with God and his values, we can more or less align ourselves with them.

But no political party can command an undeviating and unquestioning loyalty. With that in mind, let me offer a few thoughts on how conservatives might proceed in light of the recent Liberal Party coup. And I make no claims to being a great political strategist, or expert on all things political – especially regarding Australian politics.

Let me begin by noting that most Western nations tend to have various versions of a two-party system, with a main leftist party and a main conservative party. Sometimes there can be various main parties, and/or various coalition arrangements as well.

turnbull 4Here I want to look primarily at the two-party system as found in Australia and America. The events of the past week in Canberra have of course once again raised some issues here big time. We had one of the more conservative Liberal/National Coalition Prime Ministers stabbed in the back by 54 of his own.

But even worse yet, he was replaced not by another conservative (which would be most fitting for a conservative party I would have thought), but by one of the most leftist, Labor-like, pro-homosexuality, pro-carbon tax, pro-Islam guys around! That is the really shocking thing.

A majority of these guys actually decided that dumping a genuine conservative and replacing him with a genuine lefty (who would fit far better in the Labor Party) was the sensible direction to proceed in! My mind is still reeling at this. This really seems to be the end of the Liberal Party, unless some drastic changes are made, and soon.

Part of the problem is that so much of politics in the West is shifting leftwards. First of all, the leftist parties are going even further left. Witness what Labour in the UK just did by making Jeremy Corbyn its new leader. Shocking! And the US Democrats have people like Hillary Clinton, and nutter socialists like Bernie Sanders (who actually praises Corbyn), seeking to become President.

But it is not just the lefties heading further left. Into the vacuum the conservative parties are moving further left as well. Instead of staying where they belong, they too slide leftwards, seeking to fill the ‘middle, moderate ground’. But all they are doing is abandoning their conservatism and becoming more like what the left parties once were.

Many of the traitors here in Australia would have had that as their goal: get rid of the religious conservative Abbott and run with a secular lefty to be more ‘acceptable’ and more likely to win an election. Yeah right. We don’t need two Labor parties thanks. One is more than enough.

But many are still defending the Libs, insisting that Labor is worse, and we must stay with the Libs no matter what. Now at times I have argued the same thing. For example, concerning the two main parties in the US, I have said this is not about two identical parties, but about rather differing parties – or at best, about choosing the lesser of two evils.

I still argue that while the Dems are real bad news, there is a bit of hope yet with the Republicans. While the former has abortion on demand and all things homosexual as part of their party platform, the Republicans do not. That is a very real and significant difference indeed.

And if a genuine conservative such as Cruz or Jindal can win the nomination, and take on the RINOs and the Republican establishment, then perhaps the GOP will actually even get better – i.e., more consistently conservative and true to its roots.

But with Turnbull and his band of treacherous men in charge of the Libs here, I cannot say this as I once would have. Yes Labor has a lot of bad official policies and platforms which the Libs may not have, but for how long will that be the case under someone like Turnbull?

Remember, the majority of these guys ditched Abbott and actually sided with leftist Turnbull. How many of them can be counted on for anything worthwhile in the days ahead? That is a fair question. Yes, there are 44 others who stood bravely for Abbott.

But even some of them are now considering jumping ship, such as conservative heavyweight Cory Bernardi from South Australia. He and others may be right to do so. Indeed, some are even talking about taking these 44 and forming a new, genuine conservative party, perhaps with Tony at the helm.

And if the various smaller Christian and pro-family parties joined in to some degree, that could make for a viable option. That is not something I am here necessarily calling for, but simply raising as a moot point. But the simple truth is, with a new leader who would fit in nicely with Labor leading the conservatives, things are looking very grim indeed.

As to most Liberals, I could say I would far prefer them than a Bill Shorten or some other Labor leader. But to be honest, with Turnbull I am having a hard time indeed bringing myself to say that. Not only is he a Labor lookalike when it comes to so many moral and social issues, but in some ways he could be worse.

We expect leftist leaders to do lousy leftist things. But when so-called conservative leaders do lousy leftist things, that is really bad news indeed. So while there are many conservatives who I hear saying we must not abandon the Libs, because Labor is far worse, I am not so sure anymore.

Do not get me wrong; I do not like Labor and I do not want them to get back in. But it seems we can say that the Libs have already been abandoned – by Turnbull and his band of merry betrayers. While not too long ago I would also have claimed that we must not make a moral equivalence between the Liberals and Labor, now I cannot so easily do so.

Thus I will not blame folks if they finally leave the Coalition and join the smaller conservative parties. I don’t blame them at all, and I hope these parties do well and get more folks elected into parliament. I certainly can understand why they may have had enough of the Libs.

I realise that when conservatives depart from the main conservative party in a primarily two-party system, the main leftist party is much more likely to win. When a conservative independent runs (as for example Ross Perot did in 1992 in America), it tends to split the conservative vote and allows the other side to win.

I am well aware of the dangers of this. But let’s be honest and realistic here: if the Libs end up simply being a pale imitation of Labor, then what is the point of staying on at all costs? If getting another Liberal government in at the next election simply means having most of the same wretched policies and agenda items as Labor has, then why should I want to see them get re-elected?

Sure, many Libs would say now is not the time to leave. Instead, they will argue, we need even more conservative supporters in the Party, and we need to once again take control. That may be an option indeed, and it may work. Hopefully. But I can fully understand the many Liberal voters I heard from this week who said they have had a gutful, and are pulling out.

I am a Christian and a conservative. I want genuine conservative parties to get in. If the Libs have decided that they no longer want to be conservative, then I have to think seriously about where else I might go, and who else I might cast my vote for.

At the end of the day my ultimate allegiance and loyalty is to Jesus Christ and his values. While no politician or political party will fully match or reflect such values, there will be some who are closer than others. They will tend to get my vote.

And of course with Australia’s preferencing system, there are always more than one option here. If say, a Bernardi defected and either ran as an independent, or started another party, and if I lived in SA I would almost certainly vote for him, and if others could be preferenced, then I would consider who would next get my vote.

So I certainly understand those conservative Coalition supporters who are urging us all to remain on board, and not allow Labor to get in by abandoning ship. Up until recently I basically felt the same way. But the horrible events of this week, and the treasonous behaviour of so many Libs now has me doing a bit of a rethinking here.

No I do not want Labor in again. But if the Libs insist on mirroring most of what Labor is on about, then to be honest I don’t really want them back in either. That is not ideal I know, but in a fallen world there are no purely ideal options. We make do with what we have.

And that may mean putting principle ahead of a political party. It may mean voting for someone or some party that may not win, but nonetheless are the right ones to vote for. These are just my two cent’s worth on this. Some will hate me for saying it. Some not.

But in the current political climate, I think it is incumbent upon all Christians – especially conservative Christians – to at least reassess, rethink, and pray even further about the way forward.

[1709 words]

27 Responses to On Staying Loyal To a Political Party (Which Way Forward for Conservatives?)

  • Yes indeed Bill:
    “The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left”. (Ecclesiastes 10:2)

  • The System is Faulty! !

    What now? Pray and Pray …..Pray for wisdom. Pray that we ,and especially our children, are able to discern the causes of this breakdown of honor and integrity.

    I suggest that it is a weakness in, an otherwise good and open Westminster system. We need to address the problem,at least for future reform.
    .
    No human institution is free from corruption and manipulation. It is the rules (constitution/tradition) that reduce the breakdown of civil order. Sadly,,human nature will find ways to break through.
    With the apparent faults in the operation of government in U.S.A. there is one factor that is missing in our system.
    This is in “the separation of powers”:.
    ..The fault lies in the fact that the executive of government is not separated from the legislature.. Australians, unlike Americans,elect their executive leader by proxy..i.e.when one votes for lower house candidate of the respective party.
    .To continue with our present system we can never have a professional,business form of executive of government. Leaders will continue to control within with intrigue groups behind curtains. Leaders will be back-stabbed,and ministers selected and changed at random. Note:selection of ministers is restricted to available talent of party parliamentarians.
    Pray for the separation of executive from our elected parliamentarians.. This is a big constitutional step that needs education ,time and wisdom.,
    Pray for this because the present disease has been with us all the time. It is only now that it is festering.
    I voted to retain our present system rather than the model Mr Turnbull presented for his constitutional republic. His model was dangerous!. What of him in the future.?
    May God guide us into the future of reform.and not allow any constitutional change that does dot have strong checks and balances and that WE elect leaders! .
    In the meantime,pray that genuine Christians shine the “Light of Christ” into our politics.

  • Perhaps only when the Muslim “asylum seekers” arrive by their thousands in Aussie waters, will Australians awaken from their apathy and head for the beach.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=9&v=1LSDjeaReu4

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03vsuJuBIbQ

    :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B28NYkMIVaE (At 11′ 30)

    themuslimissue.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/australia-south-western-sydney-suburb-of-lakemba-a-muslim-caliphate-enclave/

    David Skinner UK

  • There are any number of existing smaller parties that former Liberal supporters may find worth supporting.
    Details of which can be seen at the Australian Electoral Commission website or the various state electoral commission websites.

    The ones that already have one or more parliamentarians at either a federal or state level include:
    * Family First
    * Liberal Democrats
    * Shooters and Fishers
    * Christian Democrats / Australian Christians
    * Democratic Labour Party

    Of these, the Shooters and Fishers possibly have the most with 2 upper house parliamentarians in NSW and another 2 in Victoria.

    From a Christian viewpoint, the list may narrow down to Family First, Christian Democrats / Australian Christians, Democratic Labour Party and certain individuals in the Shooters and Fishers.

  • Good summation Bill.

    I honestly cannot see how any conservative can vote for the LNP now.

    Turnbull keeps on demonstrating how untrustworthy he is, how narcissistic he is and that not a single word he says can be trusted.
    Not only that, we now have 54 traitors sitting in the party.

    It would be foolish to trust a single thing they say.
    By their fruit they have revealed their true selves.

    I hope that conservatives do not buy into the promises of Turnbull re: gay marriage etc…..words are cheap when they come from Turnbull and principles are non existent when it comes to his treachery brigade of 54.

  • Bill, in 1998 I was encouraged to join the Liberal Party because it was the closest to our Christian roots. However, I very soon realized that the problem was not which Party, the problem was the abandonment by the Church in the west of its Biblical Christian heritage. Gary North spells the problem out in detail in his book, Political Polytheism. What happened in the Liberal Party is absolutely consistent with a political system that is premised on an assumption that there is a middle ground in the market place. However, God will not be mocked. If you give the vote to those who are controlled by the spirit of anti-Christ, in a society that has made a covenant to “humbly rely on the blessing of Almighty God”, then be not surprised when the enemies of Christ have reached critical mass that they vote out the followers of Christ. It happened in the Presbyterian Church (see Gary North’s, Crossed Fingers), it has happened in the Liberal Party, and it is happening in the general culture (think Kim Davis and others).

    The anti-Christ clauses that prevent religious establishment, and the notion that we can give the vote to everyone, contrary to God’s requirement that 4 to 10 generations are required befoe a family is eculturated enough to participate in public life (Deuteronomy 23:3).

    Bill, we have a long task ahead of us, and it is a multi-generational task. Much of the political compromise of Evangelicalism will have to be abandoned (demand for government redistribution for pensions, welfare; aversion to the application of Biblical Law in the market place, embracing of Arminianism, futurist eschatology in the form of dispensationalism, etc.) will have to be swept away. The only answer to the political crisis we face is a thoroughly uncompromised gospel, and an unwavering conviction that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confessvthat Jesus is Lord in time and on earth.

    God bless you, my dear brother. Lance

  • This is how I am thinking at the moment. Too disturbed to do anything more than pray and think.:
    “So I certainly understand those conservative Coalition supporters who are urging us all to remain on board, and not allow Labor to get in by abandoning ship. Up until recently I basically felt the same way. But the horrible events of this week, and the treasonous behaviour of so many Libs now has me doing a bit of a rethinking here.” I may resign from the LIberal Party. I may join Christian Democrats. But I will do nothing over the next 6 weeks except pray and think and talk with my wife, and my son.

  • I feel the same way as Greg. I need time to think and pray. Thanks Bill for another truthful analysis of a traitorous manouvere

  • Within 3 days retired SAS Captain Andrew Hastie, by all accounts a Christian conservative, is standing for the Liberal Party in the Canning Bye-Election. He supports our current definition of marriage whereas the ALP candidate, a leading Lawyer, stands for SSM.
    I think we should pray that Andrew is elected for that seat, no matter what has gone on 3 days ago.

  • Yes Bill. A sign of the times.
    I am concerned about where my preference vote is going on Saturday. Not because of Andrew Hastie being unworthy of it but because of the expected social agenda of the new Liberal Party with its new deathly green hue.
    Still we can expect this in these times… many have turned away (folded ) because it’s to hard to stay with” Him.”
    Regards,
    Terry McDonnell

  • For those people who still think they can stay with a Turnbull led Liberal Party, you might want to view his chequered past.

    stopturnbull.com/

  • This is a very tough and unfortunate situation. I am by no means a Turnbull fan but he does have a record of voting in a fiscally conservative manner – e.g. against the mining tax, against marine conservation, against plain packaging, for defunding the ABC and SBS etc – which means he is better than the alternative. We also will probably have Scott Morrison as treasurer which will be much better than the labor-lite, big spending Joe Hockey.

    Splitting the vote would be a disaster and keep the ALP in, unpressured, for the next 20 yrs. Its better to stick with the LNP and try to reform it IMO. At the end of the day Turnbull will still have the conservative MPs pressuring him and limiting what he can do.

    No easy answers here though…

  • Thanks Damien. But this was not a tough choice at all – it was the wrong choice, end of story. He is not a conservative in any sense of the word – more a corporatist, statist and globalist, who will happily give away our national sovereignty, as in lousy international climate deals. Lord Monckton absolutely nails it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG0WcjGHkEw

    Those who think they know about Turnbull need to have a look at a site like this to discover who the real Turnbull is:
    stopturnbull.com/

    It sure ain’t pretty. And spare us the ‘splitting the party’ talk. That is exactly what Turnbull and the traitors have already done. They are the ones who will keep the Coalition out of power for years to come.

  • Surely a first step is for Australia to cut the iron fetters that still shackle it to a country that no longer exists, except on old maps. America broke free from the “old” country, Britain, over two hundred years ago. Australia could then start thrashing out a new constitution. However, unless it was built upon Biblical foundations and the Magna Carta principles it would be doomed to fail.

    David Skinner UK

  • Lance,
    With the utmost respect, what you are telling us is that we must all become theonomists. I beg to differ.

    Apart from the universal moral Law, which Paul not only endorses but uses as the criterion of indictment of the Gentiles (Rom.1-2; 3:19-20), the institutions of Israel are defunct with the passing away of that body politic. That there may be principles which abide (e.g. the use of Deut.25:4 in 1 Cor.9:9-10), but as they stand they are abolished. Are you really demanding that we refrain from wearing clothes with dissimilar threads, as per Lev.19:19; or that we refrain from eating the fruit from our backyard apricot tree until 5 years after planting, as per Lev.19:23-25? I submit that theonomy is a programme which cannot be consistently carried through.

    Furthermore, whenever we urge for Christian principles to be the undergirding of our society (e.g. sanctity of marriage, sanctity of life) we have the secularists screaming and scaremongering about “a theocracy”, which we are not campaigning for at all. Yet here we have theonomists saying from our ranks that that is what we do want after all. Thanks for giving the trumpet an uncertain sound!

  • Before John Howard we had Malcolm Fraser, Billy McMahon, John Gorton, Harold Holt and Sir Robert Menzies as Liberal PMs.

    I do not recall any of them being overt Christians and Malcolm Fraser, Billy McMahon, John Gorton and Harold Holt would have been Christian in name only as I recall. At least some had egos as big as Malcolm Turnbull.

    So what we face today a situation not unlike what we faced from mid-60s through the early 80s.

  • One thing as we look back is that Tony Abbot was too quick when he replaced MT way back in 2009. He should have allowed the public to show their displeasure at MT but way of the 2010 Election, which he won except for the two turncoat “independent conservatives”.

    Of course if we are going to get Labor policies then it might as well be them than the Liberals giving it. Plus I want them to be in charge when the inevitable recession comes that they caused, so the blame can be laid on them and not the Liberals should they be in charge.

  • Bill, I agree with your point about Ross Perot splitting the conservative vote in the 1992 US Presidential election, which helped Clinton to win.

    My US politics lecturer at uni said the same thing. I believe you know who I’m talking about.

  • This question parallels belonging to poor churches.
    Do we stay, go…

  • Your comment on our preferential voting system sparked a thought – can we have it both ways? That is, Christians support a truly conservative party who will then preference it to the Liberal party.

    That is, at least the primary vote goes to the minor party (and perhaps any electoral funding) and they just keep building their primary numbers up.

    And, the Liberals (not Labor) will keep the seat warm until such a time when conservative parties gain enough primary votes that Liberals will be forced to work with them.

  • Thanks Kenny. That is often – but not always – what the smaller conservative parties have done.

  • As I have no loyalty to a church but only to my Father in Heaven, so I have no loyalty to a political party but only to my country Australia!

  • I am remaining a member of the Liberal Party for the moment and can sympathize with those who want to leave. For the moment we are also trying to make sure the righteous are elected at the State/Territory level. Remember, Tony Abbott knifed Malcolm Turnbull in the back when he was leader of the Liberal Party. In many ways I had mixed feeling about his actions as Prime Minister but I did very much appreciate his integrity and his sticking to Christian principles. I am also keeping the same perspective in mind about my commitment to my religious denomination especially with respect to the issue of homosexuality. Christians still need to make their presence felt at party meetings.

  • I feel very saddened and shocked by this turn of events.. seems like goodbye Australia now.

  • A good article Bill, helping those Christians who may now be looking for a way ahead. I agree that no politician or party will obviously act perfectly all the time, just like all Christians aren’t perfect in this imperfect world.
    However, I’ve been a member of Australian Christians (formerly named the Christian Democratic Party) for many years. Only Christians can be members. My first vote has always gone to our candidate and first preference to the candidate who is most pro-life.
    Readers may be aware that some years ago, the preferences of the then C.D.P. helped to elect the coalition Government in W.A. So Christians can make a difference.

  • Seems to me the ALP has been handed the next Federal election; & the Canning by election. Historically the electorate has preferred the ALP on ‘domestic issues’ & Liberals on ‘Foreign Affairs’. With so little difference between the Parties it is reasonable to forecast a landslide to the ALP. Are the Nationals the ‘hope of the Nation’???

  • Looks like Bernardi indeed agrees that splitting the party isn’t the best option and that reforming it from the inside is the most sensible;

    ‘The conservative voice is best shepherded through the Liberal Party,’ he told Sky News.

    www.skynews.com.au/news/top-stories/2015/09/18/bernardi-says-he-will-stay-with-liberals.html#sthash.7QNwt95e.dpuf

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