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Christian Heritage? I Thought It Was Dead!

Thu 10 May 2007 In: Comment

Bishop of Bling Brian Tamaki and his Destiny Church minions are planning yet another march, this time to protest the government's praiseworthy statement of religious freedom and pluralism, the Draft Statement on Religious Diversity. Only fifty one percent of New Zealand inhabitants are Christian, and many of them aren't evangelicals or fundamentalists. Nontheists are the largest 'faith'-based category, overtaking Anglicanism in the nineties. Some New Zealand Anglican bishops ordain open lesbians and gay men. Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Wiccans make up a growing proportion of an increasingly diverse multicultural, multifaith society. It is for this reason that we have faith-state separation and religious freedom enshrined in our antidiscrimination laws and as a basic human right within our Bill of Rights. The Draft Statement simply reflects the fact of New Zealand's modern diversity. Tamaki can't accept this, even if it was Catholic Bishop Pompallier who called on the Governor of the New Zealand Colony to state that there was to be no established church or faith in this country, at the very time that the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. Exactly how does affirming the inclusive and diverse nature of our country offend anyone? Oh, and then there's that name. In the public eye, "Christian Heritage" will always refer to a voluminous former Reformed Church minister currently serving a nine year prison sentence for serial paedophilia. Preserve our "Christian Heritage?" New Zealand is a robustly democratic society where New Zealanders of every creed are free to assemble at places of worship, profess their own beliefs and act on their own consciences, as long as those religious practices do not interfere with the human rights of others. Faith-state separation and religious freedom are keystones of a healthy society. Tanaki has every right to protest, but I get the feeling this is a classic bull in the porcelain shop situation, in which the Bishop of Bling causes a massive stampede in the other direction away from him. So Tamaki doesn't like the decriminalisation of sex work and civil unions? Fine. But let's not erode religious freedom and freedom of thought by legislating for one faith, which "has" to be fundamentalist Christianity. Craig Young - 10th May 2007    

Credit: Craig Young

First published: Thursday, 10th May 2007 - 12:00pm

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