Archive for the ‘Destiny Church’ category

A new Christian Party?

October 25, 2007

A few weeks ago, Destiny Party decided to dissolve itself, and tried to form a new party with former United Future MP Gordon Copeland. I have always beleivedthat it is senseless to have several separate Christian Party’s in New Zealand, destroying each others chances of getting anywhere near the 5% threshold, and give Destiny and Copeland kudos for trying to address the problem. However, the creation of the new party was a fiasco from the start and Lewis and Copeland quickly broke up. The presence of Destiny in the background gave the party the “Destiny’s child” label in the press, and created the impression that Destiny was controlling the new party. Copeland went back to focus on Future NZ while Destiny has created its new “Family Party”with another former United Future MP Paul Adams (which is basically Destiny under another name). The original problem, three separate “christian party’s” (including Field) all fighting against each other, and destroying each others chances of getting anywhere near the 5% threshold.

So what is the solution? Firstly, there must be some a united ticket. Some accommodation of Copeland’s Future NZ, Field and Destiny (and maybe the Exclusive Brethren) will need to be reached. yes, I know Destiny NZ is seen as extreme and will scare off many votes, and the brethren are a crazy cult, but Destiny will add a good 10 000 or so dedicated volunteers with some money, and the brethren have plenty of money. The trick with including Destiny is to make sure it doesn’t dominate (or appear to dominate) the new party. Destiny renaming itself “the family party” will help (hopefully the media and people will forget its origins), and it can be added to the new party after it is already formed (this can be arranged secretly prior to launching) so it will appear Destiny is joining the new Party, not the party being a new form of Destiny. Mainstream churches (many of which are apolitical, so prominent members or moderate Christians may have to suffice) will need to be included to get the moderate christian vote included. Unity will be essential. The leader (there will only be one) will need to be chosen carefully, someone with good communication skills, comes across as non-scary, like-able, friendly, with good political management skills will be needed. The leader will also need a high profile (i.e. a mayor of a large city, existing MP defecting from a larger party, celebrity, e.t.c.) or have a high profile created fro them by the media. Discipline will be all important. It may take years of planning, but I’m convinced a new Christian Party can succeed.

Why? Firstly, Christian coalition came close with 4.3% of the vote. And this was in a very crowded electoral marketplace (with National, ACT, NZ First, United and a few smaller party’s all going after the same voters). The libertarianisation of ACT, possible retirement of Peters in 2011 (or electoral defeat in 2008) destroying NZ First, should create a less competitive electoral marketplace. United Futures success in 2002 can be added as a past success of a party campaigning on “family values”. Secondly, the constituency does exist. In a recent poll, 6% of New Zealanders said they would definitely vote for such a party, with 15% likely to. The social conservatism of many Pacific Island New Zealander’s could give the new party a real chance in Mangere (with Field?) or Manakau East, avoiding the 5% threshold with a win in such a seat.

However there are great difficulties involved. Firstly, achieving the unity needed is the first problem. Christians (even conservative Christians) are not a united identical bunch. Some hold very left wing views, others (like me) to the right. A (perhaps more bigger) divide is how to reconcile the moderates and extremists. Some Christians hold very extreme positions on issues like abortion and “gay rights” and would make those issues the focus of the campaign, while others would prefer a more compassionate stance on those issues, and would be scared of by extremists. For this reason, it is unlikely a united Christian Party will ever get of the ground. However, the obstacles don’t end there. It must get 100 000 people out to vote for it. A well funded, slick campaign focusing on “family friendly” welfare/tax policies while taking a moderate-looking stance on moral issues (e.g. focusing on banning abortions for girls under 16 behind their parents backs, instead of banning abortions for rape victims, although opposition to all abortion in principle will need to be included to please the conservative wing) in the right circumstances could succeed. Weaning Pacific Island voters off Labour will be another challenge, but moral issues can be used as a wedge to separate them from Labour if played carefully (if Labour’s in opposition, and unable to bribe them or scare them about what National will do, this task will be easier). Getting prominent community leaders in South Auckland included will help. And if elected, a Christian Party could make a difference.

In short, a christian party can succeed, but only in leaders of existing Christian Party’s unite and get their act together.

Unity one step closer

June 19, 2007

The Dominion Post for today has an article called “Copeland, Field hold secret meeting”. the contents can be judged by the title. One reason why Christian parties don’t suceed in New Zealand is because there are too many of them and they split the small christian vote. A good  formula could be Future NZ + Field + Destiny= Nothing. I have problems with both Field and Destiny, Field because he is corrupt (and corruption is a Labour Party value, which is the opposite of Christian family values) and Destiny (because they are too extreme) but if Field, Destiny and Future NZ team up they will stand a far better chance of making 5% (or winning a electorate) than they would seperate, although even then they would be unlikely to make 5%. However, when seperate, they can not be a real force in NZ politics.

Church and State

May 29, 2007

Recently, Bishop Brian Tamaki of the Destiny Church has caused a lot of controversy, by saying that New Zealand is a “Christian Country”. More specifically he sugested that people from other countries shouldn’t be allowed to pray in schools, or do things in New Zealand they would do in their home countries. He also sugested that the parliamentary prayer should continue to refer to “the Christian God, Jesus Christ” and people ahould continue to be sworn in to public offices using the bible.

The way I tend to aproach such issues is based on the Christian principle “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). Under this principle, banning private non-Christian prayer in state schools would be funadamentally unacceptable. people should (within reason) be allowed to pratice whatever religon they choose. As for the aprliamentry prayer, there should at minimum be an opt out provision for non-christian MPs, and possibly replaced with a minute of silence when MPs can pray to whatever God they believe in.  However, one should not go overboard with secularism. The statement of religous diversity goes too far in saying “New Zealand has no offical or established religion”. While I agree with the “no offical religon” part of it, Christianity has been in New Zealand for two hundred years and most new Zealanders still identify themselves as Christian., and it appears to say that religon doesn’t exist in nNw Zealand.  In some countries such as France and Turkey we have laws banning people from wearing headscarves, and thus banning people from practicing their religon. Practices that try and ban people from practicing religon should be considered violations of human rights, and secular fundamentalism.  In general the aproach to church and state should be to give all religons equality under law, even if allowing for minor exceptions (e.g. public holidays on Easter and Christmass, national anthem), allowing people the right to practice their religon, and tolerating religon and other religons. All attempts to forcibly stop people practicing their religon, without very good reason, should be opposed.