The rise of the religious right and the threat to democracy

By | 13 Apr 2015

Photo of pro and anti-Proposition 8 protesters rally in front of San Francisco City Hall as California Supreme Court determines definition of marriageThe Internet is allowing organisations such as the National Civic Council, the Australian Christian Lobby, the Australian Family Organisation and Pentecostal groups to wield growing power in federal, state as well as local council elections.

These organisations with access to membership lists and parish records are able to immediately call up thousands of people to E-mail, telephone and visit electoral offices to push the organisation’s points of view.

Patrick Byrne, NCC Vice-president, on ABC’s ‘Four Corners’ on 16 March 2015, proudly said that with a click of a key he had been able to contact 10,000 people to ask them to contact coalition MPs, asking them to vote to keep Tony Abbott as prime minister during the spill motion, as under his leadership, gay marriage would not be allowed.

These organisations are also encouraging their supporters to join the political party of their choice so they can influence preselection outcomes and help candidates who hold conservative views to be elected.  The number of committed Christian politicians at all levels of our political spectrum is growing.

These groups target gay marriage, safe injecting rooms, women’s right to abortion, voluntary euthanasia, and some are even anti-conservation.

Even if a political party allows a free vote on various issues, these groups can now blackmail individual politicians to toe the conservative line, or suffer defeat in pre-selection.

The gun lobby also uses these tactics.

The problem now arises: how can this well organised threat to our democracy be countered?

Copyright © 2015 Meg Paul