Likewise, the media go digging on any aspirant political leader. Moreover the media ensure, that we the Australian public, know all about the aspirant. For example, we knew that Australia's second longest serving Prime Minister John Howard's father owned a service station garage. We knew that the former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's father died when he was a lad and the social security system in place at that time left the family in poverty. We know that Tony Abbott considered the Priesthood and was no celibate. We know that Julia Gillard grew up in a Baptist family.
This is part and parcel of being an aspirant politician in all western democracies, let alone those putting their hand up for senior positions in government or the corporate world. They all get a thorough going over.
Well-Being Australia chairman Mark Tronson, a Baptist minister has a family member who returned from England after almost seven years who went through this process for employment. It's now part of what happens in 'every case'.
More over he says, the same thing regularly happens in Christian ministry.
He points out the normal research done by journalists on any number of high profile Christian ministers. To name just a few: Gordon Moyes, Peter Jensen, Tim Costello, Brian Houston, Phil Pringle, Ross Clifford, Rowland Crocuher and many others. M V Tronson said that in 1999 at the height of his debilitating stress, someone was engaged to investigate him, but in this case it was out in the open and this professional visited him privately for two days.
Yes, M V Tronson says, obviously there are ministers who are nothing but fraudsters (there was a preacher in Australia a few years ago who falsified he had cancer), and in some sense, nothing annoys an investigator more, whose aim it is to find dirt, and who subsequently finds nothing.
M V Tronson asks two serious questions. Is there a difference between research on a Christian minister in relation to behaviour and finances as opposed to political muck raking, an intrusion of privacy.
And, if political muck raking is fair game in Christian ministry research, should this extend to the Minister's children and relatives. Does it include junior school reports or illegal activities prior to giving their lives to Christ.
At what point does fair game go beyond 'being reasonable'? There are Christian ministers who have been astonishingly saved by Grace who have served prison sentences or come through the occult, and who with Christ's wonderful pleasure have reinvented themselves from very dark pasts.
What if a Christian minister could not watch his primary school aged children play sport without such intrusion, of say the media? Christian ministers today are in an unenviable position. They dare not minister to a member of the opposite sex without their office door being open, they dare not even place their hand-of-care on a child's shoulder.
They dare not smile to a person of the opposite sex for fear that person may claim harassment. M V Tronson says he thinks long and hard before giving another woman who is not a family member or trusted family friend or associate, a lift in his vehicle. And what about speaking against other religious documented beliefs for fear of prosecution.
Jesus gives his point of view on these things in the Sermon on the Mount for his followers where he says in Matthew 5 verse 11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake."
For those who dish out the dirt, Jesus has something to say as well. Matthew 7 verse 2, "Look out because the intense scrutiny you put others under will one day be upon you." And this report does not come from a weak and mild Jesus. He himself without quarter, tossed over the money changers tables.