This article from the Sydney Morning Herald Evangelical about politics shows that the religious right influence in politics may no longer be a purely American affair.
Joan Woods, from the Family First party and wife of the president of the Assemblies of God church in NSW, is adamant: there’s “absolutely no connection” between the two organisations. Church and state are absolutely separate, says the party’s lead NSW Senate candidate. There is no funding link between the two, indeed no formal link at all. “Not in any file, in any legally written document, in [the party] constitution,” she says, a little indignantly.
What she means is there’s no legal connection. However, 3 years after it was started by a leading light of the Assemblies of God in South Australia, it remains almost totally populated by churchgoers of one faith.
Family First has arisen from nowhere to become a powerful player in the election, largely through its impact on preference flows. It is running Senate candidates in all states and in more than 120 of the 150 House of Representatives seats in the nation.
But its significance goes beyond immediate concerns about preference flow. To some who know a lot about it, including one Assemblies of God dissident who contacted the Herald, Family First represents the strongest push yet by the religious right into politics, following the US model….
In fact, almost all the party’s 24 candidates in NSW are Protestant evangelicals, overwhelmingly Assemblies of God and in many cases, pastors. The Herald has identified only one Family First candidate who was not a Christian evangelical.