Australia votes yes: ‘Not the end but beginning of new phase’
Lyle Shelton Australian Christian Lobby
It’s a disappointing day. And sometimes as Christians we find ourselves in a season of Lament.
Indeed, there is a whole book of the Bible called Lamentations. I just happened to be in Chapters three and four as part of my devotional readings this morning.
Despite his Lament, the author Jeremiah, was able to say in Lamentations 4:19 “But you, O Lord, reign forever; your throne endures to all generations.”
And then in verse 21 he says “Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored! Renew our days….”
The Christian view of lament is never without hope. We recognise the reality of our situation but we move forward in hope because we serve the living God.
Despite today’s loss in the marriage plebiscite, there is hope and there is much that we can take out of this campaign.
Almost five million Australians voted No and at least one million of those were Yes voters who were persuaded by our campaign to vote No.
That is a heroic effort.
As Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz pointed out in an email, this represents a higher vote than the Coalition’s current primary vote, a higher vote than Labor’s at the last federal election and more support than that of One Nation and the Greens combined.
Despite our loss today, you are not alone – you are part of a large movement of Australians who will always believe the truth about marriage.
The challenge is what to do now. In many ways, not much changes. We continue to build a movement of Christians seeking to bring Christ’s influence into politics.
In addition, the Coalition for Marriage team, of which ACL is a part, is determined that this is not the end but the beginning of a new phase.
Our amazing volunteers, having had a taste of grassroots political activism, want to keep going.
We were inspired this afternoon to be on a phone hook-up with key volunteers from around the country.
The clear message from them was ‘we want to keep going’.
At ACL and as part of a wider movement of coalition partners, we are determined to continue to provide you with a voice and mechanisms for taking political action.
We lost today because too many of us and our leaders have not been participating in public debates for far too long.
The other side have been relentlessly using the tools of democracy to advance their cause for more than ten years.
These tools are available to us if only we would use them (present company excepted).
It was always going to be difficult for us to catch up even in a three-month-long postal survey.
Going forward, things must change, we must speak more, not less.
That said, I want to personally thank you for journeying with ACL and the wider Coalition for Marriage Team.
Thanks to all who volunteered, door knocked, staffed call centres, held up banners and donated.
Without you there would have been no campaign.
Without you there would not be the resolve to keep going.
The shape of the nation we leave to our children and grandchildren depends on what we do together next.
Lyle Shelton is the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby
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