The religious Left may not wield the same political power as the Christian Right, but it is emerging as a diverse, passionate and active voting bloc in Australia. Source: ABC News.
Unlike conservative Christians on the Right, who rally around a distinct set of issues — including same-sex marriage, euthanasia, and abortion — on the Left, things are more complex.
While there’s a clear commitment to social justice among the progressive and pious on the religious Left, they’re not wholly subscribed to the Left’s full agenda.
Jonathan Cole, from the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology at Charles Sturt University, argues the Bible is ambiguous about political ideology, in spite of what both sides claim.
“Christians always cut both ways,” he said.
There are several reasons why Christians are viewed as politically conservative, and there’s some evidence that most Christians do land on the Right.
The Christian Right has prominent champions in Parliament, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who referred to his faith at his maiden speech to Parliament, and former prime minister Tony Abbott.
The ABC’s Vote Compass survey data shows Catholic and Protestant respondents rate Mr Morrison above Bill Shorten on competency and trustworthiness.
The way the Christian Right votes may be more certain, but it’s not clear if the religious Left would ultimately vote for progressive parties.
Overall, voting patterns of regular churchgoers in Australia consistently favour the Coalition, according to the National Church Life survey.
In 2016, 41 per cent of church-attending Christians voted for the Liberal-National Party, and 24 per cent voted for Labor.
The biggest difference for the religious Left is that it does not have the same numbers as the Right – at least not yet.
Common Grace is the largest left-leaning and faith-based political movement in Australia with 42,500 members and 200 individual donors. But its reach pales compared with the Australian Christian Lobby, with 135,000 members.