Dubbo Photo News & Dubbo Weekender

Balance needed between government and God

Dubbo pastor David Bennett believes in free speech and free thought. “We have the right to say so if we don’t agree with something,” he said. Photo: Wendy Merrick Dubbo pastor David Bennett believes in free speech and free thought. “We have the right to say so if we don’t agree with something,” he said. Photo: Wendy Merrick

There is no doubt that governments are influenced by mainstream Christianity, according to Western Plains Baptist Fellowship pastor David Bennett, particularly in modern society.

“There’s more political influence in our western world by mainstream Christians than there would have been in biblical times, or before the New Testament,” he explained.

“I don’t think Christians were as politically influenced then. It’s because most of the Western world was built on Christian or Judaist principles.”

There are also political parties dedicated to the Christian cause, with principles built on good faith and values.

“In Australia, we have the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) which has somewhat of an influence and the Christian Democrats,” Pastor Bennett told Dubbo Photo News.

“The new conservative party led by Cory Bernardi, the Australian Conservatives, it’s pretty conservative on Christian principles as well.”

The ACL lists modern slavery, human trafficking and the impact of same sex marriage among its causes.

The group encourages supporters by stating that they are “raising your voice in the political life of our nation – for a just and compassionate society”.

Likewise, Cory Bernardi’s “defence of free speech, traditional marriage and Australian culture has gained him a reputation as a conviction politician who puts principle above political expediency”.

“I believe that government does what it’s supposed to do, and we have the freedom to believe what is the correct way, and that is the freedom to worship as we see fit when same-sex marriage and other bills that are passed by the government,” Pastor Bennett said.

“I don’t think the influence is as great as it once was on the government in general but it’s there.”

Pastor Bennett brings up the bible chapter Romans Verse 13: 1-6 which describes the balance of power between people, God and the government.

If the power shifts unevenly, then that’s when problems arise.

He says that the government’s role is to maintain goodness in society in line with religious principles.

“What the government is for or what it does in Australia, they are men of God, they do for good.

“God has a plan for the government.

“God allows it to be there to keep bad people from continuing to do the things they do and keep us safe. The problem is the Government takes laws on that are outside what governments are supposed to do.”

Nor should there be too many religious powers, but rather a balance between them.

“We should be able to separate our government and the church. The Roman Catholic (church) has controls, Islam has controls.

“When religion takes over, someone wins and someone loses.”

Pastor Bennett’s wish for society is to see equilibrium and harmony within the realms of legislation and religious belief.

“I believe in free speech and free thought. And we have the right to say so if we don’t agree with something. And we are able to preach the word whether the government agrees or disagrees. We (Christians) do what God would tell us to do in the Bible.”

Pastor Bennett lists capital punishment, euthanasia and abortion as issues where legislation and morality have differed.

“Abortion is just one example where we don’t fight it too much in Australia and we abort thousands each year. There’s no record of how many babies were aborted because of different laws,” he said.

Pastor Bennett said it’s a “religious thing and governments ought to be careful in passing these laws”.

“Our society is built on what Christianity has given us. Even if a person doesn’t believe, religion enters into real life.

“The Bible is as practical as any book will ever be and provides so much – physically, politically, emotionally, financially. We can’t separate what we believe from our citizenship and freedom.”