Hey everyone.

In Australia, much as in the UK and USA, our politicians (either because they're religious or because they're pandering, like our atheist PM is prone to do) are fond of claiming our democratic secular nation is founded upon "Judeo-Christian" values - not the Enlightenment values of exploration, discovery, rational enquiry or the rule of law that arose & dominated the late 18th century, nor the openly imperialist values of England that set in motion the colonisation of Australia in the first place.

What I'd like to know is this: what exactly are the Judeo-Christian values we're told we all should be grateful for? If they're things like, democracy, fairness, equality and "do unto others", are these things meant to be impossible without worship of God? And why is it that many basic freedoms & civil rights - e.g. votes for indigenous people & women, decriminalisation of abortion & homosexuality - were vehemently opposed by the very religions that are now being credited for our freedoms?


Finally, as an aside, why are the only people who the phrase "Judeo-Christian" Christians?


If they seem like loaded questions; I must confess that's the truth. I don't for a moment think that Judaism or Christianity informed our current secular democracy anywhere near the extent claimed and I believe that religion has quite often been at the forefront of attempts to hold back all manner of social & political progess in this country - we need only look at the marriage equality debate which is transforming political discourse across Australia & the world.

I honestly would like to hear from someone knowledgable - or someone with a good guess - what precisely are these sacred "Judeo-Christian" values that allegedly underpin our country's values. Apart from the exhortations to be nice to others, which are no-brainers and not at all unique to Christianity or Judaism, the values I've found in the Bible & through my experience with Christianity seem more focused on believing & doing what's required to enter Heaven and not a great deal to do with treating all citizens equally regardless of gender or ethnicity or sexual persuasion - the kinds of things secular democracies like Australia are usually proud of.

So: what exact Judeo-Christian values should we Australians acknowledge as underpinning our secular democracy, and how are those values unattainable through any method or philosophy other than Judaism or Christianity?

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What I find interesting is that the very tactics our conservative politicians are using here (the good old USA)  are being implemented in countries around the world.
Aping America & cosying up to the Whitehouse is something Australia's done for a while. However, since the perfect conservative storm of GW Bush, Tony Blair and our former & irritatingly conservative PM John Howard, such behaviour have become more or less mainstream. As I mentioned, our current PM Julia Gillard is atheist & ostensibly a liberal, but she seems just as happy to pander to conservative religious voters as Howard was. Little wonder that our Green party, with its broad liberal stance on most issues, is fast becoming a viable third option for voters of all demographics, not just under-40s with environmental concerns.


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