As the Ratana Church continues to decline Maori politicians are now turning to Destiny Church it seems. From 3 News:
Leading Maori political figures, including maverick Mana Party leader Hone Harawira, will take to the stage in Auckland this weekend as part of Destiny Church’s annual conference.
As well as Mr Harawira, Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples, Labour MP Shane Jones and National associate spokesperson on Maori Affairs Georgina te Heuheu will also speak. The forum has been set up at the bequest of Destiny leader Bishop Brian Tamaki
Politically speaking, this is a mixed move by Harawira, Sharples, Jones and Te Heu Heu. Destiny is comprised of over ten thousand members – in other words over ten thousand votes – however Destiny Church is political poison. Consider this from Wikipedia:
On his website "New Zealand: A Nation Under Siege" Tamaki has declared the government of New Zealand to be "inherently evil", pointing out that some members of Parliament chose not to swear on the Bible, and one (Ashraf Choudhary) swore on the Qur'an, when being sworn in to government. In a later interview, Tamaki said Destiny was ready to wage war on "secular humanism, liberalism, relativism, pluralism", on "a Government gone evil", on the "modern-day witchcraft" of the media, and on the "radical homosexual agenda".
In my opinion, Harawira, Sharples, Jones and Te Heu Heu are, by appearing at the conference, casually endorsing the lunacy Destiny Church espouses. I cannot for the life of me figure out why any politicians would associate themselves with Destiny Church. To be realistic, Bishop Tamaki is not going to endorse Harawira, Sharples, Jones or Te Heu Heu. They’re too progressive (yes, compared to Destiny even a social conservative like Sharples is progressive). And the Church is not going to accept a non-Christian message either. However, the most significant drawback is that more liberal, sensible or moderate Maori will shy away from politicians who are in any way associated with Destiny Church and the fantasies they entertain. Any relationship, or perceived relationship, with Destiny Church does more harm than good.
I am disappointed with Hone Harawira. He should not, as a matter of principle, be appearing before these fundamentalists. After all Hone perpetuates the notion that he is a principled politician. I guess it is a matter of definition. I read Destiny Church as a toxic ideological cult that actively encourages discrimination against Takatapui and, through a bigoted patriarchal system, encourages discrimination against Wahine. However, others, including Hone perhaps, see Destiny Church as a collection of vulnerable people, mainly Maori, surrounding a charismatic and prima facie wise leader who provides a sense of belonging and spiritual and psychological security.
The media will feed off of this story if Hone is seen to say or do anything that can be construed as endorsing Destiny’s views or encouraging their weirder tendencies. His best bet is to pull out. He will not win any votes nor endear himself in the eyes of his supporters (me included). It is a strange move on the part of Harawira, Sharples, Jones and Te Heu Heu. There is nothing in Destiny Church for them.