I don’t really want to continue the Destiny theme I’ve been running over the past week or so, but this jumped out at me. From Waatea News:
The head of Destiny Church's social services arm says the church should back the Mana party and its leader Hone Harawira.
George Ngatai from Te Oranga Ake says the church has a policy of not publicly supporting political parties.
But he says Mr Harawira is standing up against the wrongs of the current system.
“Hone is not afraid to challenge anyone and stand up for anything that benefits Maori because if it benefits Maori, if it is good for Maori, it will be good for the rest of the country, and I think we need a lot more politicians ready to challenge that sort of stand,” Mr Ngatai says.
He says the National-Maori Party government has discriminated against Destiny by turning down more than 300 applications for state contracts over the past three years.
First of all, Destiny Church is not the victim of discrimination, a perpetrator of discrimination, yes, but a victim? No. I/S points out that the Church did not meet the criteria for funding. Why? Because no other service providers would partner with Destiny. Other faith-based organisations, or more specifically Christian organisations, deliver government services and even they were unwilling to partner with Destiny. You can’t really blame them can you, Destiny is toxic and their fundamentalist poison is hard to swallow. The government is not in the wrong here – if Destiny cannot satisfy the criteria for government contracts then they have only themselves to blame.
But anyway I want to discuss the bigger issue in this story and that is, obviously, George Ngatai’s endorsement of Hone Harawira. Ngatai’s reasons for supporting Hone are strong, however it seems odd that a Destiny Church member would support someone like Hone. Perhaps Ngatai is not your typical Destiny member. But I think it is safe to assume Ngatai’s stance is not the stance of the Destiny Church. One, because the Church does not, as the article says, publicly support political parties. Two, Destiny’s beliefs emanate from and are influenced by one source – Christian fundamentalism. Destiny’s beliefs are absolutely opposed to what the Mana Party stands for. For example, Mana stands for equality and freedom. Equality between men and women, income equality, equality of right, freedom to practise whatever faith you chose and so on and so on. On the other hand Destiny believes in hierarchy, faith without question, autocracy, the place of men above women and the supremacy of their God and the inherent evil of others. Values and concepts wholly opposed to equality and freedom. My favourite example of Destiny’s opposition to equality and freedom is Tamaki’s claim that women in leadership in New Zealand is the “work of the Devil” and that constructing a Buddhist Temple in Botany Downs is “opening a door from Hell”.
With the above in mind it seems strange that a Destiny member would, politically speaking, support Hone Harawira. However, Destiny is overwhelmingly Maori and Hone Harawira is the most prominent Maori rights activist. I am certain many Destiny members retain a sense of been Maori and respect for their whakapapa. It then becomes understandable that the Church would move behind Harawira, even though he does not share the same beliefs as the Church he does share the same end goals. Tino rangatiratanga does not have to be sacrificed for religion; the two tend to go hand in hand in fact. I think it is commendable that George Ngatai has broken the mould if you will and moved behind a progressive politician. Having said that, his endorsement may not help the Mana Party.
It would turn me off to see the Destiny Church associated with Te Mana. Although the Church’s members may have good intentions, some of the values and beliefs they bring are repugnant. And, as Brian Tamaki said at the Church conference, they want money. This is not about political participation and fancy notions like that. It is about extracting money.
Association with Destiny would deter many potential supporters and current more liberal supporters like me. I would not want to be associated with what Destiny preaches. Such a fusion of supporters, i.e. hard lefties and christian fundamentalists, is impossible. It will not work. Mana might gain a few thousand Destiny votes, but the party will lose the more valuable votes. Meaning Mana would lose activists, potential candidates, bloggers and so on. I wonder how Hone will react to all of this.