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Title: Never Was and Never Will Be Credit: Craig Young Comment Sunday 18th February 2007 - 12:00pm1171753200 Article: 1591 Rights
 
Brian and Hannah Tamaki Brian Tamaki, that rabidly homophobic "Bishop of Bling" has revealed his almost total ignorance of New Zealand history and current demographics in his latest outburst, at the fundamentalist Vision Congress at Hamilton. For those who didn't read the NZ Herald article about the Destiny sect leader's latest fantasy, it was this: Parliament and the Human Rights Commission shouldn't have issued the Statement on Religious Diversity, because "Christianity is the State Religion." Well, no. It isn't. In fact, it was Catholic Bishop Pompallier who asked Governor Hobson to make an inaugural statement of religious freedom on the very day that the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, that the several faiths of England and "Maori custon" should be preserved. During the course of the nineteenth century, Sir Julius Vogel served as our first Jewish Premier, and the last two censuses show that Buddhism, Hinduism and Wicca are growing in adherence. Furthermore, no religious adherence is the largest religious category, having overtaken Anglicanism in the nineties. So we have no established church, nor any state religion, and the reality is a diversity of religious and secular philosophical beliefs. Granted, Queen Elizabeth II is governor of the Church of England, but the future Charles III/George VII has said he won't be, in view that the United Kingdom is now a multifaith/multiethnic society. Granted, our current national anthem is God Defend New Zealand, which is probably reason to come up with a new one. And many Maori worship their ancestral gods due to cultural reclamation, as opposed to Christianity. Added to which, the Kingitanga movement may be respected across the country, but it is essentially due to the series of effective rulers of Tainui heritage. It has no formal political authority. Furthermore, the Bishop of Bling needs to brush up on our legislative history and international treaty obligations. The Bill of Rights Act 1990 refers to religious freedom as one of its core principles, and we are signatories to United Nation treaties that oblige us to protect the religious freedom of all New Zealanders, not just fundamentalists and evangelicals. Most mainline Christians recognise this, and coexist peacefully with their neighbours. Christians might compose fifty one percent of the population still, but they're not all evangelicals or fundamentalists, thankfully. Our Anglicans certainly have little time or patience for the Christian Right. Tamaki is living in a world of his own, and a bizarre parallel universe that none of us inhabit. The government is to be commented for its statement of religious and philsophical neutrality and pluralism. State churches and religions have had a gory history of slaughtering social outcasts, religious and ethnic minorities. One need only recall the grim history of the Balkans in the nineties, when the Serbian Orthodox Church acted as cheerleaders for Milosevic's brutal brand of fascist nationalism and its ethnic cleansing atrocities. Or the complicity of Rwanda's Tutsi Catholics and Adventists in Hutu genocide in the early nineties. Or, for that matter, the slaughter of gay men under the fundamentalist Anglican Societies for Reformation of Manners in the eighteenth century. Religious neutrality and religion/state separation is the road to peaceful pluralism and true religious freedom. State churches and state religions all too often have altars soaked in the blood of the innocent and dissident. Recommended: http://www.nzherald.co.nz New Zealand Herald. Not Recommended Bishop of Bling propaganda sites... http://www.destinychurch.org.nz http://www.destinynz.org.nz Vision New Zealand- national fundamentalist umbrella group http://www.vision.org.nz Craig Young - 18th February 2007    
 
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