Rev Belinda Groves reflects on Canberra Baptist Church's annual Blessing of the Animals for St Francis of Assisi Day and Season of Creation.
As an Australian-born Sri Lankan Christian voter, I’ve been wondering: what would God want our leaders to stand up for? What is God’s intent or ideal for these lands and its people?
In this federal election campaign, I’ve seen our leaders acting on the best interests of some members of society. Some. Not all. Not Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people. Not multicultural migrant communities.
There’s been discrimination against our communities in order to win cheap votes. They’re ignoring justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Aboriginal candidates have been threatened. Australia’s extremist anti-migrant anti-Islam groups are gaining support from the Liberal Party; groups that have been arrested with weapons on terrorism-related charges.
Is fear, and segregation, our Creator’s intent? Racism, violence and injustice?
When #scomo came to the scene, people said surely since the Prime Minister is a Christian; that means your God ordained their policies?! and it made me wonder... what if this Christianity IS the white man’s religion?! So, I began studying theology with First Nation Christian leaders at the NAIITS International Indigenous Learning community. And as I’m learning about our Creator and the intent and plan for creation, I hear the ancient stories of these lands, resonating with the ancient Hebrew stories. I’m seeing that God’s intent is to acknowledge the inherent worth of creation. To hear the groans of the land, by listening to the custodians of this land. It’s for all of us, to bring our unique perspectives and truths. Bringing our birthplace, language and religion. There’s healing for all of us, and a role for all of us, in returning these lands to the harmony they were intended for.
How can we hold our leaders accountable to the intent of God for these lands?
Colour Code is an independent national movement of First Nations and multicultural migrant communities speaking, advocating and campaigning for racial justice, and protecting our community. God assigned these lands to First Nations people and ordained their leadership over these lands and its people. Colour Code identified where parties stood on issues impacting migrant, multicultural and First Nations communities and put together a voting guide to recommend candidates and parties with the most supportive policies for our communities.
This election, I stand with First Nations people and multicultural migrant communities because it is the intent of God for all of us, to celebrate our birthplaces, languages, and religions, and have the right to care for our families, live in healthy communities, and envision our futures.
If any leaders incite fear, and discriminate against our communities, we will make sure we don’t give them our vote.
With the election fast approaching, have you asked your candidate’s our questions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice? Read the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice team’s questions and concerns for the coming Federal Election here.
Joanne Shan is Tamil/Sinhalese/Burgher, born and raised in Narrm/Melbourne. She is constantly finding new spaces to promote racial justice, after seeing glimmers of hope in places like SURRENDER. She is currently studying Indigenous Theology with NAIITS an International Indigenous Learning Community.