Hard News by Russell Brown

107

Testify!

The Fundy Post saves me the trouble of commenting on the Exclusive Brethren's claims to have been persecuted and Brian Tamaki's cry of treason.

It might pay to check in on how Bishop Brian's promise to overthrow democracy and control the country within five years (a bit on the treasonous side, surely?) is progressing. He's nearly halfway to his time limit and I'm not really seeing a lot of action.

Meanwhile, demonstrating an absence of psychological middle ground between victim and bully that can also be found in a number of local bloggers, three members of the Brethren have been handed suspended jail terms over what an Australian judge slammed as the "extraordinary and appalling … emotional abuse" of two children.

The campaign to keep the children from their father flouted court orders and was funded and directed by the church leadership. I keenly await the response of our local winger apologists.

Last week, a former Brethren member was sentenced to five years' jail, bringing to an end a squalid saga in which a young girl's sexual abuse was prolonged through repeated inaction by the church and its members. The abuser appears to have taken advantage of the fact that the little girl's father had been forced out of her life by the church.

It is my humble opinion that an organisation that pleads persecution in such circumstances has a bit of a nerve. People and the communities they form deserve the respect we should accord to any human as a default. Bullying cult leaders don't.

The Herald is doing quite a nice job of following what it calls God in 2007. New today, Tapu Misa (returned to God later in life), Brian Rudman (heathen) and Clay Nelson (Anglican priest from America). Also, the readers' views.

And today's Herald editorial concludes with some twisty logic:

Ironically for both sides in the debate this week, a national statement on religious diversity is an essentially Christian statement. Secularists seemed not to realise that the more a national statement downplayed the country's Christian heritage, the more true to that heritage it would be. Destiny Church, the Exclusive Brethren and other evangelicals who want Christianity to receive some form of official recognition appear unaware they would deprive their religion of one of its prime distinctions.

If the object of the exercise is to reassure Muslim and other immigrant groups of their religious acceptance, the first task is to ensure they understand the place of religion in Western liberal societies such as this one. That understanding is not advanced by arguments that Christianity is in any sense a state religion. The distinction between moral and legal authority is not easy for others to grasp, but it has to be realised if adherents to different spiritual and moral guides are to observe the same laws.

Christians can be content that their religion remains the mainspring of our Western civilisation. No national statement can alter that.

Can I get a "hell yeah!" for the Enlightenment too?

Anyway, I'm happy to report that I spent a highly enjoyable Monday evening in the company of sodomites and epicene women.

And 12,000 people sang, danced and testified last night. Our holy photographers captured this religious leader in the very act of ascension:

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