Monday, August 23, 2004

Destiny marches and some questions need asking

On Monday a new church group in New Zealand, Destiny Church, marched in protest against the Civil Unions Bill. They marched in black, they shouted in unison, and they caused a lot of media attention. For a report on the march, go here. I would not have marched in the march and my views on the Civil Unions Bill are expressed here and here.

However the march did raise for me the following questions;

does the fact that most of Destiny are Maori alter one’s views on the march? are people not actually concerned about angry, black men, but about angry, black, Maori men? are there in fact some levels of racism involved in responses to the march?

is it inconsistent for the counter protest-marchers to talk on the news about tolerance and diversity, when in fact any protest march should be applauded as an expression of diversity? or does tolerance only mean certain types of tolerance?

similarly, was not the shouted statement by Georgina Beyer; “your hatred is intolerable” also a contradiction? again, does tolerance only mean certain types of tolerance?

is it inconsistent for the news media to express concern about the use of children in the march, and then for the media to then ask children why they marched? did the news media gain parental consent? or are their different rules for media using children than religious groups?

Posted by steve at 12:13 PM


  1. Amen brother. I couldn’t agree with you more. We are not going to go backwards in time, and we have to deal with the practical realities of the present-day society that we find ourselves in, in a compassionate and understanding way.

    Comment by Sitapati das — August 25, 2004 @ 1:53 pm

  2. Very well said Steve.

    I didn’t think the Nazi comparisons were warranted.

    This was a good quote from this morning’s Herald (letters to the editor):

    “The noise was deafening as the crowds gathered. The focus of their attention was the large group dressed in black, marching for a cause they all felt passionate about and a country they believed in. Hands were held high in acknowledgement and for emphasis. The scenes were remniscent, some would have us believe, of Nazi rallies and other portents of evil.

    Destiny Church? No. Our Olympic team at Athens.”

    Comment by Rachel C — August 25, 2004 @ 4:00 pm

  3. Good questions mate…I can think of a parable about a log / splinter…so there is indeed much for us all to reflect on.

    Comment by Paul Fromont — August 25, 2004 @ 4:03 pm

  4. I didnt think the Nazi comparisons were warranted, just as much as Georgina’s comments were not warranted. Her “tolerance” does indeed mean certain types of tolerance.
    What is also needed is unity. It is very easy having unity with your own kind, but this march has illustrated how the left and right factions of the church are so divided. This was illustrated with the banners such as “Hitler called – he wants a shirt” etc.

    PS did you hear the National Radio programme this morning with Linda Clark on blogging.. I have details.

    Comment by dave — August 25, 2004 @ 10:06 pm

  5. It’s been interesting to note peoples reactions to the Destiny marching. Having been involved in protests in my early twenties, from anti-rainforest logging to anti-homophobia protests, I have concluded that this form of action is largely negative in results – creating more division than necessary. Nevertheless it is a good thing that diverse opinions can be expressed in NZ, and I hate to see the hypocracy that supports the right for one group to rant and rage for a cause, but labels another group as Nazi’s for holding a contrary opinion. No, I wouldn’t have marched, but they had as much right to march as any radical liberal group. And I bear in mind the warning of Soren Kierkgard “The crowd is untruth”. Question: What kind of society is the community of Jesus most likely to flourish in – a libertarian society that outlaws the expression of conservative opinion or a church backed conservative society that outlaws liberal expression?

    Comment by Andrew — August 25, 2004 @ 10:07 pm

  6. GB’s comment was just unfair, I did not see or hear signs of hatred from the marchers, whatever you think of Destiny (and I really seriously do NOT like their brand of gospel – too much Brash and not enough Jesus) they were fully within their rights to march. Surely GB is right though that hatred is intolerable – lying if there was no hatred…

    Comment by Tim — August 26, 2004 @ 6:40 am

  7. I think dressing in black and waving a red and black banner while emoting anger and strength was on the whole not a smart idea. You really can’t blame the media for making the obvious visual comparison. It was asking to be made.

    … not that I think that there’s anything wrong with dissenting in public, but sheesh, Destiny needs at the very least a good image-consultant.

    Comment by Nate — August 29, 2004 @ 5:26 pm

  8. And as to this:

    does the fact that most of Destiny are Maori alter one’s views on the march? are people not actually concerned about angry, black men, but about angry, black, Maori men? are there in fact some levels of racism involved in responses to the march?

    er, from where I stand, which I think would be reflective of most New Zealanders, the fact of them having Maori involved actually made them look better than if they’d been just a bunch of white guys. But not enough to get over that they looked like a scary militaristic cult.

    Comment by Nate — August 29, 2004 @ 5:31 pm

  9. i dress in black; black looks good on white; so does red …; just because they were organised ….

    Comment by steve — August 29, 2004 @ 11:24 pm

  10. ItÂ’s really a pleasure being here. I will surely recommend your site to all my friends.

    Comment by Tina Marie — August 30, 2004 @ 10:07 pm

  11. so if genuine neo-nazi group wanted to march down queen street, expressing their disgust at the jews in this country – would that be okay by you? a white group expressing anti-black sentiment? a religious anti-homosexual group? where exactly do you draw the line?

    the way i see it, while hatred is a bad thing, ‘hating the haters’ is far removed from being a hater in the first place.

    Comment by limits — September 1, 2004 @ 4:02 pm

  12. surely it’s called freedom of speech. i might not like what the speech says .. whether neo-nazi or religious, and i can choose to absent myself from the conversation, or to express a contrary view.

    Comment by steve — September 1, 2004 @ 4:40 pm

  13. Its interesting isn’t it, a Christian leader with a whole bunch of followers marching through the capital city to parliament, warning the government about making a law that will make it the same as marriage, or normalize it for a man to be with a man and a woman to be with a woman. Just as they made it legal for young girls to sell there bodys for sex just a few months ago.
    Whats also fascinating to me is that to actually get so many people some say up to seven or eight thousand Christians to get into unity.
    Who knows what may happen, if all the interest this has created in destiny, and thousands more start watching the TV show on channel two at 6.30 and find out that what he is saying is true.
    Then if they find out about the destiny nz political party and its policies and vote for them.
    Scary thought especially if you don’t like Christians and what they stand for.
    Imagine the horror ” Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” wasn’t that somewhere in the Lords Prayer?

    Comment by P Blackburn — September 4, 2004 @ 5:47 pm

  14. Mr Blackburn,
    the march did not represent all Christians, many of whom were very concerned that the march actually harmed the name of God in New Zealand.

    Most non-Christians I listened to were more convinced than ever that Destiny is dangerous, rather than politically attractive.

    Comment by steve — September 4, 2004 @ 10:15 pm

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