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Less Than This

Mon 25 Jul 2016 In: Comment View at Wayback View at NDHA

The New Zealand Christian Right appears to be going through one of its practically inaudible phases, so what's happening on the unfashionable side of politics at present? Not very much. Family First is ruminating about the evils of cannabis decriminalisation, perhaps indicating that it has at long last realised that anti-drug politics and opposition to euthanasia reformism are likelier to yield successful dividends for its adherents than interminably harping on against abortion and homosexuality in a pluralist, democratic and secular society like contemporary New Zealand. Can it be that it finally realises that anti-LGBT activism is a lost cause in New Zealand? Probably not, given how slavishly dependent it is on the US Christian Right for rhetoric, propaganda, tactics and strategy, even if we can foresee it and counter it well in advance. Meanwhile, there's the Conservative Party. It appears to be awaiting the return of its currently litigating former leader Colin Craig, despite almost completely purging the party website of his features and discourse. At present, the party is run by a board of management, which has put out a periodical,Standpoint.Thus far, there's only one issue on its website, dated April 2016. It is what one would expect- opposition to the current legislative ban against parental corporal punishment, contempt for representative democracy as opposed to binding referenda, and more tiresome bromides against the Treaty of Waitangi and redress for historical injustices against Maori. In other words, it's regurgitating its routine from 2011 and 2014. Meanwhile, conservative Catholic Canadian anti-abortion activist John-Henry Westen is going to be visiting this country as a guest of the conservative Catholic Family Life International in August/September. Given that this will be a chance to demonstrate how extreme his Lifesite website is, this should be fun. Westen last visited here shortly before the passage of marriage equality legislation in 2013, gave an address called "Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Freedom" and was rightly ignored by mainstream media. Westen is probably going to harangue the rest of us about abortion and euthanasia, given that this inhabitant of Ottawa has previously been involved with several anti-abortion groups- Rome Life Forum, Voice for the Family, the Canadian National March for Life Committee and Canadian National Pro-Life Youth Conference. He stood for a fundamentalist microparty, the Family Coalition Party, in past Canadian federal elections. He's even on the outer with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, being banned from their plenary sessions and his site regularly attacks Pope Francis for alleged tolerance toward LGBT people, despite papal opposition to marriage equality and transgender rights. I'm really not sure why Westen here for FLI's conference, given the tiny scale of New Zealand conservative Catholicism. It has to compete with other streams within the New Zealand Catholic tradition to be heard and is rather subcultural and isolationist. The Voice for the Family Conference will take place 23-25 September at Takapuna's Bruce Mason Centre, with a satellite "Lifefest" event at the North Shore Brass Band Hall on September 26-27. One of the other invited guest speakers, Father Joseph Bokanshi, is linked to "Courage,' a Catholic 'exgay' group without any representation in New Zealand whatsoever. Nothing to see here. Nothing at all. Not Recommended: Family First: Conservative Party:http://www.conservativeparty. Family Life International: Voice of the Family FLI Conference:http://www.fli. voiceofthefamilyconference Lifesite: John-Henry Westen: ajax/author-profile/john- henry-westen Craig Young - 25th July 2016    

Credit: Craig Young

First published: Monday, 25th July 2016 - 4:42pm

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