Saturday, September 22, 2007

It must be elections - 2

Regular readers might recall about two years ago I spent some time debating the connection of politics and religion. Essentially my argument is that it took some 1100 years if not 1600 years for England to attain effective separation of Church and State – a boon passed to NZ through our status as a British Colony in the 1800s. “Nae kin, nae quin, nae laird, nae master. We’ll nae be fooled again!!”

Central to my commentary then was one “Bishop” Brian Tamaki, leader of the Destiny Church – one of the modern charismatic, personality based, “Churches” that seem to be so popular these days. “Salvation is at hand – place 10% of your money in my hand in return for eternal life”. It is the same Bishop Tamaki that has opened next year’s Parliamentary election campaign with one of the best jokes in years.

There has been, since the last elections, on and off debate about the need for a “Christian Party”. It was apparent last elections that having both United Future (Peter Dunne’s party) and Destiny Party (the political wing of the Destiny Church) running against each other was not going to produce the right sort of results. Over the same period, Destiny and one Gordon Copeland – a member of United Future and present MP though he is now “independent” – have been talking about the possible formation of a Christian, faith-based, political party. This must have made some progress, as events of the past few days have shown, because one of the first concrete actions required was the winding-up of the Destiny Party.

So last Tuesday, we have the public announcement, a press conference held by Bishop Tamaki, of the closure of Destiny New Zealand as a political party. “Oh, and while you are all here, I will take the opportunity to introduce to you the co-leader of a new Christian-based political party to be formed in the near future.” Fine and good, if it were part of the agreed programme. Problem is that Gordon Copeland knew that he was the other co-leader, and he knew nothing about the announcement or about who the other co-leader might be. The hole started to get deeper when it was implied that the co-leadership had been agreed between “all of the major Churches”. A quick check by a number of people showed that quite a few of the major churches were not even involved in the proceedings and discussions that had taken place.

It got deeper still by Thurday night with Copeland saying that there was no chance of him being involved in co-leadership of the new party should it ever get off the ground. This morning Destiny's appointee was in damage control mode while still trying to see if the proposed party could lift a leg – without any possibilities of it ever reaching escape velocity. At the same time Copeland was making it clear that any remotely possible political association “with Destiny’s Blackshirts” was dead. Those who can not remember, might google “blackshirts” for the implication of this statement.

So all in all a fine time was had by all. Sunday’s sermons in the Destiny Church should make for interesting listening. Particularly any given by the Bishop himself.

For me? It rather reminds me of a sequence in a Peter Sellars’ film, I think it was “A Shot in the Dark”, where a bevy of nuns in full habit were involved in a “car chase” on go-karts. Hilarious stuff. I can well imagine a government run by the Destiny wallies – "Brothers, Brothers, please a quick prayer. We need guidance on … Hallelujah!! We have an answer!"

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