Because of membership in the Presbyterian Church & Nation Committee and the Victorian Ad Hoc Committee I have ‘wandered’ into the issue of the place of Christians in public debate on issues that concern them.

I tend toward the two kingdom understanding of the separation of church and state as two distinct spheres. This means I’m cautious about the Church making pronouncements on public issues, especially when the issue is not straightforward. Thus issues like abortion, euthanasia, care of ‘widows and orphans’, religious freedom, marriage are subjects that the Bible, the Christian theological tradition and the lived experience of the Church have much to say that the State and broader society need to hear. However there are other issues such as Government economic policy, trade agreements, climate change, etc where the Church has limited understanding and needs to be circumspect in public pronouncement lest it be shown up as naive, ill informed or partisan on an issue where there are legitimate differences of opinion.

I have written a number of articles touching on the issue of Christians in the Public Domain.

The first article touching on the subject, Legislating Morality, argued the case, with a few caveats, for engaging in the public domain.

In a second article, Making our mark, I review how two pieces of radical legislation, the Abortion Law Reform Bill 2008 and the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Bill 2008 can get into and be approved by the Victorian Parliament, gauge the value and impact of contributions of Christian groups and individuals to the debate and eventual outcome and conclude with some lessons for ongoing Christian political involvement.

A third article, All of Life written with fellow Church & Nation Committee member, Ben Saunders, is a reflection on our experience of engaging in the issue of the Victorian Government’s review of the exception clause s in the Equal Opportunity Act 1995. A somewhat longer version exists here.

There are further reflections on the issue of Christians in the public domain in the pages dealing with religious freedom marriage.