Tuesday, 2 August 2011

A young boy, political opinions, and Christianity

Charlie, an 11 year old from Sydney, has written an articulate opinion piece, and it was published by SMH yesterday.
As soon as saw it, I knew it would become popular, nay, semi-sensational, and apparently it did, mostly because anti-Christian people naturally love hearing arguments against Christian activities. It almost doesn't matter whether it is a strong, persuasive argument or not, as long as it is against Christianity, or more accurately, their understanding of Christianity.
Anyway, the opinion itself was very well written, I thought, for an 11 year old.
But, I would make a couple of comments about the following in particular:

By all means, Mr Nile, you go out and be as Christian as you want; I respect that entirely. But that does not give you and your supporters the right to attempt to shape a future generation of adults in your mould – that is a religious conservative.

Firstly, you seem to have a naive view of political engagement. Anyone and everyone who comes into a political arena brings his own beliefs. A Christian brings his Christian beliefs and they form their opinions. A muslim is influenced by his beliefs. An atheist brings his atheistic beliefs (that is, there is no God) into his political opinions, and I'm sure he tries to argue his case in hope that his policies will bring good to the people and the nation. Not only this is inevitable, it must be this way. You try to separate a person's beliefs and his opinions, you get hypocritical opinions. You will never get a genuine voice anywhere, unless you allow people to live, act, speak from their beliefs. No doubt, the pervasive naivety about the separation of church and state contributed to your error.

Secondly, if you are simply opposing Fred Nile's opinions and his political influence, whatever your motivation, that's fine. Let me repeat that. I'm a Christian, and I support Fred Nile in some of his political opinions, but I will not stop you from opposing him, whatever your motivation. But there is difference between opposing a political influence and attacking someone's right to a political influence. If you are hoping that he should not be allowed to voice his opinions and exercise his political power that he has, then you are only asking for trouble. You are denying his right to a political activity. Ever heard of freedom of speech? You know what you get when you deny others' freedom of speech? Totalitarian society.

Charlie, you wrote very well, and I believe you have a talented mind. In time, you will be able to understand and articulate issues and opinions even better than this. Keep yourself humble, and keep learning. You have a great potential, and I don't say this to many people.

For the SMH editors and readers who had to rely on this article to express your thoughts, I don't have much commendation for you. Not because it's from an 11 year old (I have a great respect for young minds, you only need to be aware of just a little bit of history to realise the amazing capacity and potential of young minds), but because it's not very strong and articulate as you think. You are only betraying yourselves when you get so excited about this piece. You only exposed your own ignorance on the fundamentals of the democratic society of Australia which comes from a rich Christian heritage.

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