Title: When Brians collide... Credit: Craig Young Comment Tuesday 15th March 2005 - 12:00pm1110841200 Article: 661 Rights
According to Baptist Church leader Brian Winslade, That Other Brian is giving a bad name to other fundamentalists. However, Brian W does agree with Brian T on some things. He still believes Tamakiesque fundamentalists are 'real' ones. As a more sedate fundamentalist, Brian W believes that noisy, aggressive public displays turn people off, as well as militant rhetoric. In addition, he questions flashy public relations initiatives and Brian T's cult of personality, as well as the bishop of bling's "prosperity gospel" that characterises the slicker, high-profile Pentecostal ministers, especially compared to struggling parishioners within their churches. Winslade engages in some alarming rhetoric himself, though. "Infiltrate" existing political movements...?! Finally, he argues that the Roman Empire used to persecute Christians, but was won over by a charm offensive and lives of exemplary purity. Now, this may look like a 'moderate' evangelical response to Tamaki, but I have several questions. If Winslade believes that noisy, aggressive public displays turn people off, when did he decide that this was so? Was it after the Nuremberg style rally held to deliver that petition against homosexual law reform in 1986? Was it after the attempted invasion of abortion clinics in the late eighties and early nineties fell through? Secondly, as he well knows, New Zealand's national fundamentalist newspaper, Challenge Weekly, has been promoting Tamaki, cult and collaborators to the hilt since August 2004. Thirdly, what about the Christian Coalition of the mid-nineties, which was expressly formed as a coalition for the National Party, despite its jerrybuilt nature? Granted, Future New Zealand went stealth afterward, and snuck into Parliament due to a low media profile about the true nature of United Future, but this hardly shows a compassionate stance toward those impoverished through unjust government economic policies. That said, I do find Winslade's profession that he worked to assist the impoverished within South-East Asia commendable. Fourthly, I wish Winsalde would read some Christian history. Sorry, but the early Christian churches didn't capture the Roman Empire through exemplary lives. Christianity became the state religion in the fourth century, after Emperor Constantine converted to that faith. I concede that prior religious persecution was indeed horrific and undeserved, but as state religion, Christianity was hardly any better. Once in power itself, Christian leaders attacked "heretics," Jews, witches, "sodomites" and others who did not conform to their philosophy. Why do we need church/state separation? We need it because absolute power corrupts, absolutely. Until social conservatives and conservative Christians stop ignoring or denying the injustices wrought through mute compliance or regime collaboration, past or present, their preaching and pious rhetoric will be ignored in its own turn. Recommended Reading: Owen Chadwick: A History of Christianity: London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson: 1995. Statistics New Zealand: Census of Populations and Dwellings 2001: Wellington: Statistics New Zealand: 2002. Brian Winslade: "Brian's Not the Leader of My Gang" Sunday Star-Times: 13 March 2005: C5. Craig Young - 15th March 2005    
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