McQueen Challenges Christian Leaders
CHNZ Media Release - 31 August 2005
McQueen Challenges Christian Leaders to Show Some Conviction
Christian Heritage NZ leader Ewen McQueen today challenged church leaders saying it was time they showed some conviction when it came to politics. He said it was disappointing that over the past year, a number of key leaders and influential organisations within the Christian community had encouraged voters within that constituency to put their convictions aside.
Instead such voters had been implicitly directed to vote in a so called "strategic" fashion for parties which don't clearly represent what they believe in. Mr McQueen stated,
"Until the wider church community in New Zealand rises up and votes with conviction for the values it actually believes in, then we will never see those values clearly represented in Parliament. Instead we will continue with farcical situations like United Future propping up the most anti-family government we have ever had. We will also continue to have Christian MPs submerged in other parties and voting against their conscience for things like budget funding for abortions. The rest of New Zealand will be forgiven for wondering what the Church actually believes in - indeed if it really believes in anything at all."
The CHNZ leader said that the Christian community was a significant latent force in New Zealand politics. Census data on religious affiliation showed there were more than enough Christian voters to get a party over the 5% threshold, and even the NZ Herald last year acknowledged there were likely to be at least 300,000 conservative Christian voters - well in excess of the 100,000 voters needed to get over the threshold. (Religion and the Vote - NZ Herald 20.11.04)
However Mr McQueen said the potential of the Christian constituency had effectively been made impotent by the "wasted vote" fallacy that had been promoted over the last year. He stated,
"There are more than enough Christian / family-values voters out there to put a Christian political party into Parliament. The data shows that very clearly. However instead of putting that fact before the Christian community and encouraging them to vote with conviction, influential leaders have spent much time spreading the defeatist and self-perpetuating lie that voting for such a vehicle is likely to be a waste."
Mr McQueen said the truth was that voting for parties that had no convictions on the key marriage and pro-life issues would be the real waste as these parties would fail to address these issues in any substantive way. The last thirty years had already demonstrated that. He said,
"What is the point of the Christian community wasting its voting strength to toss a few more seats to National or NZ First, when they could in fact have block of Christian MPs in Parliament working pro-actively to affirm marriage and rebuild respect for the sanctity of human life. It's time for the Church in New Zealand to rise up and vote for what it actually believes in."