The issues of values and spirituality are making a comeback in the public and political life in Australia, reports the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper (April 27).
In recent months public meetings have been held where “church people have been asked to offer their insight on public policy and policymakers have been invited to reflect on the moral basis of the decisions they make,” writes Chris McGillion. “Ten years ago if I was speaking in a secular or public context people would say, `keep the Church out of it,’ Now they say, `Talk to us about values, ethics, spirituality,” says Baptist minister Tim Costello.
Observers are trying to find a reason for the turnaround in attitudes. Costello says the “culture is fragmenting so fast that lots of people who might only have a distant religious memory are actually saying `Where is solid ground? Where do we plant our feet? What do we tell our kids?'” That doesn’t mean that most politicians are courting the churches for advice. “Politicians, for expedient reasons, are working with an old paradigm that says Church and State are separate and priests should stick to the pulpit.
The outstanding church spokespersons operate out of a new paradigm — one that emphasizes their expertise,” says journalist Morag Fraser.