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Strange Directions

Tue 17 Jan 2006 In: Comment

The Maxim Institute is holding its annual youth indoctrination conference at Snells Beach, Auckland (14-22nd January, 2006). Paul Henderson appears to have taken over Bruce Logan's role as the public face of the Institute. Henderson was a surprising choice. For Institute watchers, he's probably best known for Evidence's philosophy and literature section, which is well-written, but more of a general philosophical approach than an evidence-based focus that incorporates relevant scientific and social scientific information that would be more relevant to public policy. He's written three monographs for the Institute, and focuses on general questions about educational worldviews. Secondly, there are no overseas Christian Right big names this year, like David Noebel and Greg Koukl from the United States last year. That would look too much like Christian Right hardcore activism to some. There's a slightly altered focus present too. There are presentations on feminism, bioethics, "the problem of pluralism" and conservatism. Interestingly enough, there's also one entitled "A Christian Manifesto?" Is this a reference to Francis Schaeffer's call to fundamentalists to become involved in social conservative political activism, albeit the anti-abortion/anti-euthanasia movements, in the early eighties? So does this signal a renewed anti-abortion/anti-euthanasia focus? Inevitably, Greg Fleming addresses the issue of 'civil society,' albeit the usual distorted conservative version which pays no heed to the importance of diverse social institutions to societal health and wellbeing. Oh, and we are at a conservative Christian symposium, so there's discussion of the "tragedy of the fall" and "redemption" - does this mean the Institute is going to be promoting intelligent design creationism, given that it seems that they're talking about a literalist view of Genesis in Fleming's seminar? Thoughtfully, the Maxim Institute and Mount Roskill's Masters Institute have made a Compass study guide available, on a "Biblical Introduction to Worldview." Even better, it's available at the National Library of New Zealand, so I'll review it here at some future stage. It's also available at the Auckland University Bookshop for $24.00. What's missing? There seems to be no overt focus on family policy or LGBT issues at this event. One can only welcome this, although I suspect sexuality will be discussed at the seminars on feminism and male and female gender, worse luck. Or it could mean that Logan's enforced retirement has left a hole in their policy analysis effort. Or it could mean that they've given up opposing LGBT rights. Odd, given that Sue Bradford's anti-beating bill is on the legislative horizon. Does this signal divergences between the Institute and Christian Right Old Guard pro-belting groups like Family Integrity (Palmerston North) over the issue? Watch this space. Recommended: http://www.compass.org.nz Compass (Maxim Institute) youth seminar: Snells Beach, Henderson, Auckland (14-22nd January, 2006) http://www.maxim.org.nz Maxim Institute Paul Henderson "Why Change Now?" Evidence 8 (Summer 2003): 57-59 Paul Henderson: Vying For Our Children: Auckland: Maxim Institute: 2003. Rod Thompson: Biblical Introduction to Worldview: Auckland: Masters Institute Publishing: 2005 [Compass Study Guide: Available from Auckland University Bookshop, $24.00] Craig Young - 17th January 2006    

Credit: Craig Young

First published: Tuesday, 17th January 2006 - 12:00pm

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