Friday, June 01, 2007

Is Brian Tamaki Almost Right?

This week I find myself in a strange place: almost agreeing with Brian Tamaki on the prayer in parliament debate. Oh, I understand the arguments for diversity well enough. But there is also the reality check inherent in the census figures (quoting from memory) - around 55% say they're some species of Christian, 35% say they're "no faith" and that leaves a very small minority of "introduced" faiths in a distant last place. Now I know the 55% is a soft 55% but when you think about it, the diversity argument is actually stronger for no prayer in parliament. Of course its not that simple. But I found myself profoundly influenced by the show of support for Tamaki at Waitangi from local iwi - how important is Christian faith for the tangata whenua? I guess that's also not as simple, but its a question that needs to be asked more directly. I find it odd that NZ's delegation to the interfaith forum should have 4 Christians and 3 Muslims...not that its a matter of representation, but I wonder if that's almost the sense of relativity we're being asked to embrace when our country is described as "multi faith" and diverse. Somehow I'm left with the impression that our diversity is being overstated. The reality is NZ has 2 major faith traditions - faith in the Christian God and faith in the individual - these 2 faith streams take us to 85%. Is it any wonder that some speculate that some of the influential 35% are using the 15% to disempower the 55%? Is it just a matter of relieving tensions in the Asia-Pacific region or is Helen Clark, as one of the 35%, using diversity and pluralism as just one more plank in her Godless "civic society"?

Jim Hopkins hits some great notes in his revised National Anthem in todays Herald:

All Gods bright and beautiful
All creators great and small
Fatwahs. Jihads. Satanists.
We're going to love them all.
In cuddly wee New Zealand
We'll worship everything
We've no faith left to call our own
And that is why we sing
All Gods weird and wonderful
All demons, ghosts and ghouls
Are equal here in Allgodzone

We're multi-faithful fools


servant said...

Nice post.

Jim Hopkins is a smart cookie.

Ragged Glory said...

Hey, thats a great post. I basically agree with what frank has said about it, but I can also understand people who take "Bishop" Brians viewpoint as well. Peace be with you.