Bernardi Christianiti

Trump-lite is upon us in Australia.

The threatened schism between establishment political conservatism and the new anti-establishment version has erupted with the move by Senator Cory Bernardi to set up a new conservative party.  Or conservative party, as his backers see it, given how betrayed they feel by the Liberal Party.

What intrigues me is less the political machinations, than the response by many conservative Christians to Bernardi’s move.  And I put my hat in the ring as both an evangelical Christian, and someone who is politically conservative.


Now, before our eyes, these two movements are blending, and I fear the results will be just as pretty as they have been in the USA over the past thirty years. In other words, pretty ugly.

The tone I am getting is that Cory is the one who is going to stem the tide against the Christian framework that has hurried apace in Australia due to the progressives march on the cultural, legal and political institutions of our land.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I do think that progressives have done much to destroy the underpinning fabric of our culture. Indeed they seem hell-bent on scorning, scrapping and excoriating anything that has to do with the Judeo-Christian framework that upholds many of our institutions.  Hanson and Bernardi are simply pendulum swings, the letting off of steam by those sick to death with that.

A memorable term I have heard to describe this hard secular Leftist is “squatters” – they don’t intend to pay rent on the property they inhabit.  They live there, enjoy the benefits, but refuse to acknowledge its source.

But if there are squatters on the Left, there are squatters on the Right too.  In an in-depth interview with Bernardi in The Australian last year the good senator made it clear that he is not a church man himself. He likes the fruit of that gospel, indeed he says that as a nation we are built on the freedoms of conscience and association that sprang out of the church’s understanding of humanity.  He’s just not that into the tree from which the fruit sprang.  His ultimate allegiance is not Jesus.

And that’s my worry as I read my Facebook page of Christian people endorsing him who somehow think that this will end up anywhere except frustrated disappointment or gleeful victory – or a mix of both.

And there’s the same thing with Trump – hunt out some quote in which the good Senator gave Christianity a glowing tick to an audience that was looking for that comment.

But in the end the Trumps and Bernardis of this new reactionary conservative movement will – without Jesus – head towards self-interest just as readily as the Left did. The split is simply fracturing an already fractured culture in which the centre is rapidly disappearing, and the majority of people are keeping their heads down.  The loudest voices are coming from the two ends of the spectrum.  We’re not in this to be magnanimous to our enemies, we’re here to crush them apparently.

I gather what we will then see is that Bernardi’s good points (and he has many) will be used to excuse a whole bunch of the stuff that is politically harsh and inflammatory.  The Left does it, the Right does it.  Christians shouldn’t do it, Left or Right.

So if Bernardi Christiani is your thing, if you are happy with what has just happened, if you’re thinking that somehow this new reactionary conservative movement will embellish the gospel; enable the name of Jesus to be proclaimed better; or show the church of God as a suffering yet joyful people in the midst of a culture that despises it; go for it. Politically he might just pull it off – until of course the pendulum swings hard the other way and we find ourselves in the firing line again of those who hold the reins of power.

And then, to borrow a term from our progressive enemies that we are taught to love, we just might find that we the wrong side of history – yet again.


  1. I tend to agree with you Stephen. We Christians always seem to be very quick to claim someone as our “champion” & that can be through sheer pragmatism, without thinking through to deeper concerns/issues. I am wondering if part of the problem is the same as what we have seen in the case of Trump – the erroneous conflation of conservative views with Christian views. In that way, I also wonder if some (many??) Christians have simply assumed that Bernardi is a Christian based on what they have only seen in the public forum.

  2. I don’t necessarily think Corey is seen as anything of a Messiah, just the lesser of two evils.
    It is no surprise at all to see Christians endorse his politics even it the do not endorse the man personally.
    Such is the case with Trump. Christians don’t admire the man much, but they have chosen his politics over that offered by Clinton.
    When you only have limited choices, Christians must vote with their feet as opposed to sitting around at prayer meetings, begging Jesus to return and make everything right (though I’m not advocating we don’t pray for His timely return).

    1. I guess we could also assume that we don’t need him to make everything right right now, but that he gives us the godly character to persevere in trials. But having said that, isn’t Maranatha supposed to be our cry?

  3. Isn’t it interesting that we are describing Bernardi as a pendulum swing, or a reactionary conservative. The political values he holds, as taken from his website are “stronger families, fostering free enterprise, limiting the size and scope of government and a strengthening civil society”. These are stock standard conservative values, and 20 years ago were much more common place. Today they can be seen as far right wing. Why? Because the center has moved left. Many Christians certainly don’t describe themselves as far-right, but simply holding to these values can get you labelled as such these days. I think Bernardi is right. The Libs are shifting left, and Turnbull is not a true conservative. There should be no shame in anyone jumping ship from the Liberals, when they continue to creep away from traditional conservative values. Bernardi is not a pendulum swing. He simply has an idea of a political party that makes policy based on values. And these values are certainly not extreme or reactionary. They are values that I suggest many founders of Western democracies would have esteemed and celebrated.

    1. I think much of ur assessment stands up but the problem is I see Xns assuming this is their safety and the likes of Bernardi have opposing views to many Christians on issues such as immigration. Bernardi is offering the hearth gods of comfort and affluence and that’s fine but let’s not baptise them as somehow Christian.

      1. I think you touch on a separate issue, which I think is more important: what is the role of government? I think that largely, the divide between left and right aligned Christians is what they see as the proper role of government. In general, conservatives want the government to get out of the way, and let churches do their job. The left see the government as solutions to many of our problems, and therefore, in general, support bigger government doing more stuff. Maybe a topic for your next post. Appreciate your blog as always.

  4. Brexit, Trump, Knights Templar, Pauline, Corey… Some serious right wing traction at the moment. Why cos people are fed up being lied to and trampled on, having their way of life destroyed whether Christians or not. Frankly I don’t trust any leader, because trust gets so massively betrayed.More than ever before that trust started to die with Kevin/Julia/Kevin,and Tony/Mal. The lies of global warming. Weather and economics is going chaotic and volatile fast. Can only trust the Creator Triune, and organisations in general have lost our trust more so than at any time before IMO. The individuals and organisations (mostly strong individuals now) that pays attention to conserving christian values gets votes, because its a chance to avoid oblivion for a bit,and surely God helps those who help His people,for example Rahab in the OT, and a roman centurion in the NT, and often he destines them to become his people. Armageddon may be ahead,but at least there are some fighting for good right values. IMO thats refreshing, and if they have a chance of government why not vote for them. Its about time. However there will be carnage and conflict like never before, because so many millions have bought the lies of recent decades. That said I am wary of anyone who claims to have all the answers, since only God has that,and only God deserves our total allegiance. If Corey gets more or similiar support to Mals broad church we would be mad not to get on board. If more of Mals mob exit a sinking ship the bandwagon will accelerate like Trumps did,and Paulines already has. Pauline is more popular in WA now than the greens if polling is to be believed, although its often not to be believed. Thats a massive voter shift. If Tony and Andrew move thats the signal to desert Mal whether Christians or not, you have to work with the winning side. God allows leaders and government to form,and we are supposed topray for those in authority and try to work with them whether we agree or disagree with them, whether we love them or loathe them… God rules.

  5. It appears to me that Bernardi, rather that being a Trump-lite reactionary, is just a values driven conservative, in a shifting political landscape, and the rise of nationalist/populist politics seen in Trump and Hanson is a separate reactionary movement, even though both are opposed to the politically correct, socialist/authoritarians push, and could find a lot to agree on.

  6. Agree that Bernardi and Hansen differ and have a common enemy. Would they agree on enough be able to form a coalition an alliance like Labor/Greens or Liberal/National though? Already the Liberals have a crucial deal with One Nation for the state election. That would suggest that Corey and Pauline could easily form an alliance despite maybe having some very significant differing views…

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