“Dont just vote for them… Pray for them” – Politics and Religion

August 4, 2010 § 3 Comments

Outreach Media have done it again. They have chosen a current topic (for which I applaud them) and then used it for their own message (for which I don’t applaud them). As you may know, I have written on the Outreach Media billboards several times, as I drive past them every day on my way to work, and am aware when they change them each month. This month’s theme is the upcoming Australian Federal Election.

Dont just vote for them... Pray for them

Dont just vote for them... Pray for them

Every month, accompanying their billboard, the have a bible verse, and this month’s is this:

1 Timothy 2:1-2 “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”

This tract from Timothy speaks, in the context above, of praying for our leaders, because if we do, through the will of God, they will be kind and gentle to us. It also says to basically respect all others and that they might to the same to you. It ls like the Golden Rule, do unto others, except that it includes the act of prayer. That’s all very nice isn’t it?

However if one it to dig deeper into the verses of Timothy, after he declares that Jesus appointed him “a preacher and an apostle (I speak the truth, I lie not)”, and after he says that people should pray everywhere they go, the verse goes on to say in 1 Timothy 2

9 In like manner, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety; not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly raiment; 10 but (which becometh a woman professing godliness) through good works. 11 Let a woman learn in quietness with all subjection. 12 But I permit not a woman to teach, or have dominion over a man, but to be in quietness.”

Now that is odd, don’t you think? Because in the context of the story that Outreach have put the verse on their website, they are claiming that it doesn’t matter who you vote for, more importantly that you pray for them, and God will deliver the best candidate to us to look after us. It is very hypocritical, and somewhat misleading of them to use this verse from Timothy given what he says afterward, especially since Julia Gillard is a woman (oh and an atheist, but that’s ok, God will sort her out later). I wonder if Outreach Media took the time to read the rest of Timothy before suggesting that verse to us in the article.

Now I’m not going to pick on the Outreach article completely. It reads:

“God cares that people are looked after by their rulers. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 teaches us that we should pray for our government. They have such a tremendous and difficult duty. We should pray that our rulers will be wise in making decisions. We should pray that they consider the human rights of every Australian citizen.”

If you read this part, and take out the words “God” and “pray” it actually has a nice sentiment to it, for we do hope for the best from our leaders to treat people with the respect and fairness that all humans deserve. I’m sure you’ll agree. But it goes on to say:

“And, most importantly, we should pray that they serve the living God.”

So according to this article, it is more important that our leader be a god-fearing Christian than that they treat the people of their country with respect and a duty of care.

In fewer words, What Outreach Media is saying is this:

“Do not vote for Julia Gillard, because she is a woman and an atheist. Amen.”

Apart from the blatant sexual discrimination within the verses from Timothy, this is a great example of cherry-picking at the Bible to extract the meaning you want from it, rather than the meaning it actually has or implies. Again, I say, either believe and promote ALL of the Bible and its good and bad points, or promote none of it. If it really is the word of God, then don;t leave out the particularly juicy bits, especially Leviticus.

And as a bit of icing on the cake, the Outreach article adds this prayer at the bottom:

Prayer: Dear God, thank you that Australia is a democracy where we can live in safety and freedom. Please help the elected Government to run our nation with wisdom and discernment, and to honour you in all things. Amen.”

So vote early,  vote often, and vote for a Christian male, in the name of democracy, safety, freedom and God.

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§ 3 Responses to “Dont just vote for them… Pray for them” – Politics and Religion

  • ozatheist says:

    that almost makes me want to vote for an atheist female, just to spite the twits at Outreach. Oh I can. 🙂

  • crispysea says:

    A very nice dissection sir. I agree with Ozatheist except for… Oh I can’t! – unless Nick Clegg dons a dress!

  • Ken West says:


    I’m reading 1 Timothy at the moment, so I thought I’d put my 2 cents in.

    You accuse the Outreach Media folks of ‘cherry-picking at the Bible’, and then of being ‘hypocritical’ and ‘misleading’. I’m not convinced that’s true.

    Let’s start with 1 Timothy. Paul is writing to Timothy (a church leader) about how to run churches. He’s not writing about how to run countries: the fact that Ms Gillard is both an atheist and a female are irrelevant. If she was planning to become a church leader then 1 Timothy becomes relevant, because Paul does make that distinction within the church.

    ‘Cherry-picking’: I don’t think it’s unreasonable to quote a verse encouraging prayer for those political leaders OUTSIDE the church, and not verses which refer to the role of women WITHIN the church. They are quite different matters. (Paul does link the ideas, though, doesn’t he?)

    ‘Hypocritical’: Not sure why you claim they are saying one thing and doing another. Or play acting? Or pretending to seek to please God yet really seeking to please men? What do you mean by ‘hypocritical’?

    ‘Misleading’: Not sure what is the difference between what is being said and what is meant.

    ‘it doesn’t matter who you vote for, more importantly that you pray for them, and God will deliver the best candidate to us to look after us’: I doubt this is what Paul or Outreach Ministries expect: the government which Paul encouraged Christians to pray for was the Roman Empire, who took his life soon after this letter was written.

    Finally …

    Christianity is good for women: Rodney Stark (not a Christian, so not ideologically bound to defend Christianity) is a sociologist whose book “The rise of Christianity” explores why Christianity succeeded in the First Century. I don’t agree with all his conclusions (oh no, I’m cherry-picking!) but he claims that one key reasons that Christianity succeeded was that it was good for women: Christian women enjoyed a higher social status than those in pagan culture; they were not forced to have abortions; and Christians did not expose their (often female) infants.

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