Random Play by Graham Reid

Alternative Nation*11: The Time of the Season

Destiny NZ’s political campaign was thrown into disarray yesterday when, at a sometimes heated press conference, God denied the party’s claims that the Bible was to be taken literally.

At the hastily called press conference God -- who appeared as a shining white ball of gas and was “comfortable with either Sir or Ms, depending on your preference” -- said that “it has been brought to My attention that various religious groups, this new Destiny one included, have been somewhat overplaying the literalness of the Bible -- and some I won’t mention seem to think I have been having a quiet word in their ear.”

To a packed hall in Favona near Mangere Bridge God insisted He/She could not recall ever having personally spoken to leader of Destiny New Zealand “although things have been pretty hectic around here since people started turning off the Krishnas, Guru Maharaji, Suzanne Paul, Pilates and Catholicism after the media kerfuffle over John Paul II‘s death.”

Turning attention to the literal interpretations of the Bible an increasingly angry God fielded questions from Destiny Chuch members, a contingent from the Jehovah’s Witnesses and a columnist from the New Zealand Herald.

“Look, let’s get this clear. The Bible is a collection of metaphorical, apocryphal and sometimes quite amusing anecdotes gathered by various writers over a long period of time, and not all of those people were particularly well educated or intelligent.

"In that regard it would be most unwise to interpret it literally.”

In a speech which appeared tightly scripted but then became increasingly wide-ranging God said, “Generally I keep right out of politics and in My experience politicians would be wise to keep out of religion. There’s been a pretty bad track record in Ireland, the American South and large tracts of the Middle East and Asia where the lines between politics and religion have been very badly blurred.

“And let’s be frank, it doesn’t seem to have worked out all that well, least of all for those volatile types in the Middle East.

“I concede that this Destiny NZ outfit might look small beer in that context, but they are of considerable concern. They are introducing a very narrow-minded brand of faith into a country which prides itself on tolerance -- or simply prefers to pretend that differences between people just don’t exist.

“Either way, it’s worked out well for you jokers and you don’t want these door-knockers coming round with a phoney-baloney message.

“I’d like to have a word with someone up top in that organisation, but experience tells Me that once you do that they tend to spin off in all directions and the next thing you know they want everyone in horse-drawn buggies and are tossing out their televisions.

“So I’ll be going at this one cautiously -- although tripping them up through pride or smiting someone down do remain options.”

The head of the Destiny Church, Professor-Bishop Sir Brian Tamaki said last night he was surprised that the media had taken God’s claims seriously.

“I have a deep and personal relationship with God and I could have told you this fellow was just a big ball of gas. We are not going to let this interfere with our fund-raising,” said Tamaki, whose coronation today will see him adopt the title His Most High Royal Highness in addition to the other titles given him by his followers and his wife.

At the press conference an increasingly irritated God departed from speech notes and in off-the-cuff comments railed against a number of targets.

“Look, I don’t do this sort of thing that often so here are some other things that are pissing Me right off at the moment.

“You might want to tell Peter Dunne and his posse that they are overplaying the ‘family’ thing. You know, families aren’t the be-all and end-all, and anyway there’s lots of different types of families. Tell him to get over it, it’s just a buzz word and we all know it.

“And tell the Maori Party that if most people don’t know how to pronounce the word Maori -- Jeez, I don’t. Is it ‘maaree’ or ‘mow-ree‘? -- then there’s not much chance they are going to get tinoranga-whats-its-name.

“And if National want to keep banging on about ‘one law for all‘ you might want to ask Dr Brash if that applies to rich bastards? Let’s hear him get is chops around that one, because believe me that would go down like a lead wonton with his masters in the Business Roundtable.

“And tell Helen I’ve got My eye on her. And not in a good way. Ask her for Me what ‘hubris’ is.

“Incidentally tell Winston to watch his back, if I so choose I could say something. If you know what I mean.

“And hey, what’s with this flattened vowel I keep hearing. It’s Marc EL-lis not Marc Alice, it’s Well-ington not Wall-ington. Jeez, that bloody annoys me.

“And another thing, who decided that everyone on radio now had to start sentences with ‘I mean‘? And aren’t you sick of those Warehouse ads, and that Sally Ridge? I mean, I’m just soooo over reality television.”

“Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to move in mysterious ways -- and sort these damn Sunnis out.”

As a cloud descended and God was preparing to depart there was one final comment which came booming into the room.

“Oh, and by the way, Donna did it -- and is getting what she deserves. She’s a lying, thieving shitbag. And that’s the fact, Jack.”