In Eternity last week, Bible Society Australia CEO Greg Clarke expressed his disappointment that the organisation’s 200th anniversary cannot be celebrated with a commemorative stamp. He’s quite clear that he’s not crying persecution as some Western Christians have been wont to do. I think he’s just miffed that the landscape has shifted and the wider society isn’t interested in celebrating this Biblical bicentenary.
My question is, why would we expect a government service, Australia Post, to promote a religion? I don’t think it is in the interest of the government or of religious institutions to get too cosy together. I think government and religion both work better when they are separated and when a tension is held between. (I think that if Australia Post ends up being privatised it will be a different matter, but I’m holding out home that it won’t be privatised.)
I think that Australia Post’s snubbing of Bible Society holds a message for Christians, if we have ears to hear it. We need to recognise that while we still have some privileges, these are hangovers from Christendom, which had already begun to wane when this land was colonised in 1788. Christians can no longer presume to be at the centre of society. If we can’t see that we might need to widen our social circles.