IT'S SO NOT A CULT THAT'S PRETTY SAD TO BE DUBBED THAT BUT-PEOPLE..JUST CHECK IT OUT OKAY. AN HOUR OF YOUR TIME ON A SUNDAY MORNING OR EVENING OR A LIFETIME IN HELL? YOU DECIDE.. – comment by Teneya
Well, there’s a review of a Destiny service over at Ship of Fools that doesn’t particularly make me jump up and down with enthusiasm. But you know, maybe I will go and check it out. I’m kinda curious. My ex girlfriend tells me they have a good band…
A couple of people have suggested that I post some of the emails I’ve been getting, but (un?)fortunately I’ve deleted most of them... and some of the emails that were not posted publicly were much more disturbing than the public comments. Sorry I can't share those. However, I have read through the hundreds of comments on my blog, Jordan’s and DPF’s blog. And I now bring you the top ten. The best of the worst. And yes, this is the edited highlights. And no, I haven’t brought you the best of the worst of the other side… I’m not sure if I could have found ten, but I’m sure I could have scraped together a couple. But hey, I’m biased. So sue me.
I won't comment on spelling, cos there could be a whole bunch of reasons for that. But the capitalisation is interesting, don't you think? I don’t know if it’s still the case, but when I used to frequent chat rooms, writing in capitals was seen as shouting, and it was considered rude. Aside from anything else, it’s harder to read.
Anyway, no more commentary. Brace yourselves.
(10) CHER AZ BRUTHA MAORI 4 LIFE EXCEPT I NO LONGER BELIEVE IN ALL GODS MAORI HAD ME BELIEVING IN, THEY DO NOT ANSWER PRAYERS. – comment by “Laughing”
(9) I want to life in a country without leaders who think that they are a women, when they are a man. I do not want my children to grow up in a country where people can buy sex just as easily as buying food. – comment by “J”
(8) READ GENESIS CHAPTER 18 IT TELLS THE STORY ON HOW GOD DOES NOT APPROVE OF HIS PEOPLE BEING HOMOSEXUAL.GOD ENDED UP RAINING BURNING SULPHER ON THE PEOPLE OF SODOM(THE HOMOSEXUAL SPIRIT CITY) – comment by “Wazzap”
(7) Funny how people really got angry and abused me when i held up a banner saying that JESUS IS KING. Theres power in that name and demons manifest… Jesus died for you even if your a God- hating,sodomising murdering human. Choose today whom you will serve To live for the glory of God or the glory of the Devil
Onward Christian soldiers – comment by Daniel Flanagan
(6) There is something worse and thats a man putting his penis up a mans bum and thinking that anybody who disagrees to this practice is homophobic.
Your right it a sad world
Jesus is the answer – comment by Daniel
(5) Homosexuality - think about what that really is. Think real hard. Think in detail..... It is sick... If you can not see that, then you are sick as well. It must be stopped! – comment by “Fact”
(4) Civil Unions now, Gay adoption next...where does it end? Pologamy? Paedophilia? - comment by Glenn
(3) And at the end of the day what does it matter a prostitute or gay person has there so called "Human Rights" if they lose there SOUL? …And in response to your comment about comparing civil unions to paedophilia - God says homosexuality is an abomination in leviticus, and right next to that he sites paedophilia, beastility and incest as also being abominations. Its human beings who have normalised and tolerated homosexuality - not God. - comment by “naki gurl”
(2) OH MY GOSH!! PEOPLE...DONT HATE! TALK ABOUT MANIFEST HARDCORE YOU GUYS SOUND LIKE "UNCLE GEORGE"...(GEORGINA BEYER!) WE DONT HATE GAY PEOPLE, AND IT'S ALRITE FOR ALL BLACKS TO WEAR BLACK AND DO THE HAKA AYE BUT NOT DC!! AND PASTOR BRIAN AND HIS NICE SUITS...DO U WANNA GO TO A POOR MAN FOR FINANCIAL ADVICE OR A BLESSED MAN? KIDS WERENT FORCED TO GO, AND WHO WAS CRYING WHILE THE MEN WERE DOING THE HAKS? UMM...STOP BLUBBERING AND BEING A CRY BABY...FAR OUT PEOPLE..WAKE UP AND OHOAKE!!!!!!! – comment by “Neya”
and the winner is... (drumroll please)...
(1) I dont need to argue with anyone
All i have to do is say the bible says
Cheers – comment by Daniel
Latest from the comments box:
"sup just want to say that i am a member from Destiny and i just want to say that we are not haters. Dont get us wrong we love u and ur people its just your spirit we dont like."
Oh. Just my spirit. Well that's ok then. So my teeth are ok? You like my teeth?
(Edited to remove comments about spelling, because as Hinemoana points out there are scarier things about them than their spelling. Also, I can't spell for peanuts).
I want to comment on the Dom Post article “Are liberals the new fascists?” But unfortunately I never got around to buying my own copy. Oh well. It was interesting. David McLoughlin certainly portrayed a fluffier version of the Destiny gathering than I experienced. They weren’t all saying, “Jesus loves you,” that’s for sure.
And can someone PLEASE send out a memo explaining the difference between legalisation and decriminalisation? I am so sick of them being used interchangeably.
Legalisation and decriminalisation are not the same. Legalisation means that activities are made legal and are no longer regulated in any way. Decriminalisation means the activities are no longer crimes, and the participants are no longer liable to criminal penalties, but their activities are regulated by law and transgressions can still be penalised.
Just so we’re clear about this, the bill decriminalised prostitution. Before the prostitution reform legislation was passed, if a man went up to a woman and offered her money to have sex with him, he was protected by the law. If a woman went up to a man and offered to have sex with him for money, she could be convicted. Hardly fair. Safe sex literature and products could be used as evidence. Not a great way to encourage safe sex practices. The bill has removed the archaic double standards, encourages saver and fairer work places, protects children from exploitation, and protects the rights of those in the industry.
Right, here endeth the lecture.
Could any of you Christians out there provide me with an example from the bible where Jesus started a religious party, campaigned to the Romans against a particular section of society he found disagreeable, organized a protest march, or asked any of his followers for money? Oh, perhaps he was just too busy helping the poor and the sick. - Dave, comment on kiwiblog .
I was molested as child, I will never forget the name and the face of the man who done this to me. Now 21, I was recently watching the news, the (hikoi copycat!) destiny march against gays was on. The weird thing was, there in the front row of the haka doing a pukana at the camera was the man that touched me, when I was only 6 - sad, comment on kiwiblog .
sad’s comment had me in tears again. I was abused by a Christian guy from a “traditional” family. When Tamaki suggests that if we return to traditional family values, a family with the man at the head, his wife and their children, this will solve all sorts of problems including child abuse... it really upsets me. Newsflash people, the vast majority of child abusers are heterosexual. Most of them are men. Many claim to be Christian. And a lot come from “traditional” families.
David McLoughlin may have seen the counter protestors as more fascist than Tamaki, but he probably didn’t fear for his life at the protest. If it was up to me, there would have been less angry shouting from our side… but we are not lead by a dictator, who has absolute right of veto over any decisions made by any of the 20 branches of the Destiny church. Since we didn’t have such a charismatic leader to give us instructions, we just had to go with the flow. And some of us panicked when all those thousands of people swarmed onto parliament, shouting angrily. About us, and how we’re abominations and we’re destroy society. My response to the fear I felt was to retreat inside myself, and hope no one noticed how much I was shaking. Other people responded by shouting back at the Destiny crowd... and understandably.
In the past few days I have been told that I am an abomination, possessed by an evil spirit, I am sinful, I am hateful, I am a murderer(?!), I am sick, evil, perverted, I rape children, I am the cause of the ruination of society. I have been told God hates me and I will burn in hell. Wanna add fascist to that list? Fine, won’t make much of a difference.
Of course people should have the right to protest, and to voice their opinions... even if I don't agree with them. But is there a limit? As a country we told a holocaust denier he couldn’t come here and speak. Why? Because the things he says are dangerous to certain members of our community.
Tamaki is spreading a message of hate and intolerance against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people. A group of people who are already targets of abuse, both verbal and physical. A group of people who are at high risk of suicide. A group of people who were tortured and executed in the concentration camps.
Some people are still going to say that Destiny is not spreading hate.
I’m left wondering...
If telling me I am evil and I will burn in hell is not hate, then what is?
I’m probably going to keep riffing on the Destiny theme for a while yet, because it’s still freaking me out.
I watched events unfold on Monday as a Christian... as a Sunday school teacher even. But also as someone with a bit of inside experience with charismatic fundamentalist Christianity. It scares me (a lot of things seem to scare me this week) to think that maybe if I’d kept on down that route, I might have been wearing a black shirt on Monday.
There is certainly a powerful attraction to churches like Destiny. For one thing, the services are designed for maximum hype and adrenaline. For another, it’s very comforting to be so clear about what is right and wrong. It’s a relief to have simple solutions to complex problems (like, “if we stop homosexuality we are supporting family values and so we will prevent the ruination of society.”) Also… being part of an exclusive club is always fun.
Some people in the comments section and in emails have commented that there is a certain amount of Christian bashing. Well, yeah. I was frequently hassled because of my faith. But the things is, when I was hassled for being queer it was devastating, it struck at an intrinsic part of my being, and I had no one to turn to for support. But when I was hassled for being Christian, it was almost exhilarating. I had been taught that I would be persecuted, but also that I was right and God was on my side, and I would be rewarded. In the long term, in paradise, but also in the short term, as others from church lauded me for my suffering.
And so, I wonder if the negative media attention is really going to bother Tamaki and his followers, or if it will merely act as fuel on the fire.
As I have said previously, Destiny has been a good thing for some people. But it worries me that a lot of followers seem to believe that Destiny’s version of religion is the one and only way to solve anyone and everyone’s problems. For me, fundamentalist Christianity wasn’t a solution… and in fact, it ended up being part of the problem.
I still maintain that I became a Christian as my teenage rebellion phase – it was the only thing I could do that would shock my parents. Sex, drugs and rock n roll they could have taken in their stride. My sexuality they handled without much batting of eyelids. And I’m sure if I’d become a Buddhist they would have found it less threatening. But Christianity? That scared them.
Looking back there were probably other factors influencing my conversion... a beautiful girl, for one. And a deep sense of loneliness, emptiness and fear... the beginnings of what would later be diagnosed as Bipolar and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I longed for something to cling to, something to hope for.
In my early teens I started going to a range of different churches, from Anglican to Pentecostal, but it was the latter that had the strongest attraction. There was an atmosphere of intense emotion that complimented my bipolar tendencies. It was ok to cry in the middle of a service, or start clapping and dancing. The turmoil of emotion inside me was given a release.
People were getting “slain in the spirit” all over the place back then. Usually someone would “lay hands” on the person and pray for them, sometimes it would just happen spontaneously during worship. They would fall backwards, and lie on the ground in a trance or a state of bliss. Some would lie still, others would laugh or cry, shake, or speak in tongues.
I had some intense experiences in those early days. Sometimes I was certain that I sensed a physical presence, something warm, and slightly thicker than air, guiding me, moving me gently. Sometimes I relaxed completely and let myself fall slowly backwards. I was conscious, but slightly distant. I was aware of hands laying me down, and people resting their hands on me and praying for me. During those times I managed to escape from the problems I was struggling with in my life. I wanted to stay there forever, with the warmth, the touch, the peace.
Sometimes, however, I found these experiences terrifying, and afterwards I would end up sobbing hysterically. Once I went to a church where there was a visiting evangelist from an African nation. He announced that he was going to pray over people, and he selected me. I didn’t want to go forward, and shook my head, but he persisted, and a woman from the church ushered me up to the front. I felt uncomfortable with the guy standing so close to me, but I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth. As he prayed, he laid his hand on my forehead, and then started to push me. I felt no amazing spiritual sensation, just a man with a sweaty palm pushing against my head. I had to step back slightly to regain my balance, but eventually I started to fall over. I struggled to get up again, and he pushed me more forcefully. I fought back, and when I realised I couldn’t get up, I screamed at him. He backed away, and I burst into tears.
I was asked never to return to that church, because I was “possessed.”
I don’t want to imply that no one had genuine spiritual experiences at the churches I went to – I’m sure many did. But they were very intense situations, with emotive music and speaking, and a lot of pressure to make important decisions or statements right then and there (because otherwise the ungodly world would interfere with the process of salvation).
Eventually my mother heard that one of the churches I had been to was teaching that a woman’s place was in the home, having babies, and she banned me from attending all but the Presbyterian church her mother had attended occasionally many years before, and my mother had been there as a small child. I disobeyed this rule once, and was found out – the only time in my life I was ever grounded. I felt like a real martyr… it fuelled my passion even more.
The church I was allowed to go to had certainly changed since my grandmother’s day, but my parents didn’t know this. They never stepped through the front doors. Emotions ran high in there… and yeah, we got high on it too. The intensity, the passion, knowing we were right... it was like a drug. I craved it.
There were good aspects, I’m sure, but looking back, reading my diary... I prayed every day for God to give me faith, because I didn’t believe that my parents and friends were going to burn in hell, and I couldn’t make myself believe that, no matter how hard I tried. My diaries are full of notes from the sermons, including “I have to accept the fact that I am sinful”, and “Saying you have your own ideas about God is a quick way to hell.” Many pages of my diaries are blurred with tears.
The scary thing for me is looking back and realising that at the time I was struggling with the symptoms of severe mental illness. I heard voices, but this meant I was either blessed or possessed, depending on what the voices were telling me. My emotions were up and down, intense and out of control, but this was either excepted as part of the spirit moving in me, or condemned, because it started to seem less spiritual. I was extremely suicidal. When I tried to talk to youth leaders or other adults in the church, they prayed over me a couple of times, but when I showed no signs of being healed they seemed angry with me, wanted me to pull myself together.
The church I went to had a “love the sinner, hate the sin” philosophy... But as Mel White says, “Calling people sinners over and over again… becomes hate language very quickly.” Most people who use the phrase seem slow to put the love part of it into action. Kynn writes, I believe it is not possible to love someone while having no respect for their belief system, culture, and choices… Many conservative evangelicals may claim that they'll continue to "love" that person, but what they generally mean is "I will pray to God that you start to believe exactly as I do, and I will do my best to encourage you to become just like me." That's not love.
I’m not sure that I was loved by some members of the church… I guess I was tolerated. As long as I shut up about the fact I had crushes on girls. I felt pretty confused, and guilty about it all. My feelings didn’t seem wrong to me, but I was constantly told that they were. Yes, that’s right, I was told that my feelings of attraction and love, not just my actions, were a sin. They were part of my behaviour. I should have been praying harder for God to make me strong enough to overcome the feelings. Or something.
Oh how I hated myself in those days. I hated myself for having crushes on girls. I hated myself for not believing everything in the bible. I hated myself because God wouldn’t answer my prayers and cure me of these problems.
Eventually I started going to church less and less. My emotional spins were beginning to terrify me. I still felt alone and scared, and although I occasionally found temporary peace during church, it didn’t seem to last for long. And I started to realise that spending so much time trying to believe things that I felt in my heart were wrong was just... crazy.
By the time I went to Costa Rica as an exchange student, I no longer saw my self as a Christian.
The following is an extract from a memoir I have been working on (she says, hoping there might be a stray publisher in the audience). At the point where this extract begins I have just changed host families, and my host mother, Marisol, is a born again Christian. I have been keeping my sexuality hidden because I was in a small agricultural town in the middle of a Catholic country. I have made friends with a few closeted gay guys in my town, but I didn’t realise that the pastor of Marisol’s church was an ex-homosexual. He has been cured, and has a wife and children, but he tells Marisol that I have been hanging around with homosexual men…
Into the Fire…
Marisol hadn’t talked to me about God for a while, but suddenly she wanted to take me to a pastor who spoke English.
“I have a message from God,” she told me. “I want this pastor to translate, so that you will understand better.” I wondered why she didn’t pray for the Holy Spirit to give me enlightenment, but I kept quiet.
The pastor turned out to be a woman – quite young, with a short black skirt and a lot of hairspray. Marisol started speaking to her rapidly in Spanish, and I hardly understood what she was saying. One phrase stood out though: “espiritu de homosexualidad.” Oh shit, I thought. Here we go…
As Marisol talked, the pastor became increasingly uncomfortable. She fidgeted with her necklace and couldn’t seem to decide where to look. Several times she tried to change the subject, but when Marisol persisted, the pastor finally turned to me.
“Would you like to pray for us to drive out this, er, this… spirit?”
“Of homosexuality?” I prompted her, and she flinched. It’s mine, I wanted to scream at her. A gift, God gave to me.
Marisol continued talking about this “movement,” how they made homosexuality seem like a great thing, so lot of young people got caught up in it. But really it was sinful and ended in destruction. Then she asked me a question and the pastor translated for her.
“Are you a, er…”
“A lesbian?” I finished for her. I thought for a few moments before answering. “I think I fall in love with people, not sexes.” The pastor started to translate, but Marisol interrupted, asking me if I had ever been with a woman, or if I was with a woman now.
Well, if I’d actually known of any other queer women in Rotorua I might have been with one, but…
“No,” I said quietly. Marisol seemed relieved. Then she asked me to say that I wouldn’t be a lesbian while I was in Costa Rica. I stared at her. What was I supposed to do – get a sexuality transplant? The pastor translated Marisol’s request, and I glared at her. I understood perfectly. I just didn’t know what to do. Marisol watched me intently. The pastor stared at her crimson fingernails. I stared at the floor. I could hear a baby crying in the distance.
“I… won’t be a practising lesbian while I’m here,” I whispered. Marisol’s shoulders slumped in relief.
“What would your parents think if you were a lesbian?”
“They’d support me.”
Both women pursed their lips in an expression of pity and disgust. Marisol said she knew I’d been visiting Paolo and Jorge, and she knew that they were gay and they were trying to corrupt me with their perverted ideas. The absurdity of the suggestion struck me. What on earth would two middle-aged gay men in a loving relationship with each other want to corrupt a 17 year old girl for? Marisol continued to talk animatedly about corruption and perversion for quite some time, before the pastor finally managed to steer the conversation away to firmer ground.
“Have you accepted Jesus Christ into your life?” she asked. I slumped back on the sofa and closed my eyes as she started to summarise the gospel for me.
“I was a Christian,” I interrupted. “But it didn’t really work out. I don’t believe everything in the Bible.” Marisol rolled her eyes heavenward. The pastor was undeterred.
“I don’t think the church you went to was really a Christian church she said. “You can’t really have been a Christian. You thought you were, but you were deceived. Because if you were really a Christian, you’d still be Christian now!” she finished triumphantly.
The conversation was about as much fun as having a debate with a brick wall. My words just bounced back and I ended up banging my head in frustration. I felt exhausted.
When we got home I called Juanita at the AFS office to find out what I should do. Before I even had a chance to explain the situation, it became apparent that Marisol had already spoken to the AFS staff.
“I need to make some things clear,” said Juanita. “While you’re in Costa Rica, you can’t have a girlfriend. You can’t have any gay friends. You must not go to gay nightclubs, or tell anyone that you are a lesbian. If you do any of these things, you won’t be able to continue with the programme.” I was so stunned I couldn’t think of anything to say. “Oh,” Juanita continued. “Can you come to the AFS office on Tuesday.”
It was a long weekend. Kristina and Luk came over on Saturday and we sat in our room listening to music for a while. I told them what had happened and what Juanita had told me, and they were both outraged. The three of us went out to a bar in town and talked for ages over Imperial beer and margaritas.
“It’s not fair,” Kristina kept saying. “I mean, it’s not like you chose to fall in love with women – it just happened. They can’t punish you for that.” I was so glad she’d had a chance to get used to the idea of homosexuality before she found out that I was queer – now she seemed to be turning into my greatest supporter.
On Tuesday I headed off to San Jose, but the meeting turned out to be an anti-climax. I had to talk to another woman, Savannah because Juanita was sick. Savannah started off by telling me that she was a very open-minded person. She didn’t tell me that I couldn’t do anything, she just said that if I did then they wouldn’t be able to find me another host family and Marisol wouldn’t be willing for me to live in her house. And she told me to be careful that my gay friends didn’t use me for my money or get me into drugs. “I understand that you have a friend who has AIDS,” she said to me. “Now it’s nice that you’re such a kind person that you want to help him, but you need to be careful.”
I left the AFS office and made it as far as the San Pedro church a few blocks away. I was slumped on the steps, staring at my shoes through a blur of tears, when I realised someone had stopped in front of me. It was Valencia.
“What’s the matter?” she demanded, but I could only cry harder. But once she’d dragged me into a café and I’d had a few sips of my drink, I managed to tell her what had been happening.
“Of course they can find you another host family,” Valencia said. “You can live with me.”
My experiences in Costa Rica were the final straw, and I backed away from Christianity for several years... until I found St Andrew’s. But more about that later. Right now it’s the middle of the night, and I need some sleep soon...
Quite a few people have been saying things like, what’s the difference between the comments Tamaki made, and counter protestors comparing Tamaki to Hitler. Isn’t that hateful too? Tactics like bringing along children and doing the haka have been accepted when used by other groups… And Destiny aren’t saying hateful things… and so on. Here are some of my thoughts. In no particular order…
Hate is a very strong word. And I would not say that the majority of the people there were “haters and wreckers”. I might describe them as misguided, ill informed perhaps. But the fact is, they were there to support Tamaki, and they were going along with his messages of hate (the same way that people in Germany went along with…)
When I looked up “hate” on dictionary.com it came up with phrases like “to feel hostility or animosity toward… to detest…” I don’t think it is too strong a word to describe Tamaki's behaviour.
And do I feel hate towards Tamaki? Mostly I feel sadness, fear, and concern. I wonder why he’s ended up feeling the way he does. It’s hard to feel love towards him... the same as it’s hard to feel love for the guys who have raped and abused me. But I do recognise that he’s a person. He has the capacity for love, creativity, compassion… and he has done some good. There were young people there yesterday who, through Destiny, had managed to break free from addictions, or from living on the streets. And I say, great!
Other protests I’ve been on have sometimes include an angry, even hateful element. And that has been really sad. I’ve backed away from protests where I believe in the cause, but where anger has taken over. Anger has its time and place, but in the long run I don’t believe it’s productive.
But every protest I’ve been on, from GE Free to the Peace Movement to the Hikoi for the foreshore and seabed has been incredibly creative. There have been beautiful costumes and banners, witty slogans, spontaneous singing and dancing. People have given out flowers, or free cake. At the GE free tent city people strung scraps of material together into banners, and shared huge pots of chai tea. There were discussions and debates. Yes, sometimes we got things wrong. We’d had some bad experiences with cops and got a bit paranoid, and as a result a friend of mine was made to feel very unwelcome because he didn’t look like a hippie and therefore might have been an under cover cop. I’m very sad that he was treated that way. And yeah, after the cops started to take away our tents and our gear, and we were left soaking wet in the rain, shivering, hungry, some of us got a bit angry and shouted angrily in the direction of the cops. But over all, these were a couple of incidents in an event that spanned days… and that was filled with experiences of creativity, and some healthy debate.
Spot the difference
The counter march…
Yesterday at Parliament, I did not see that kind of creativity. Most of the banners were official Destiny ones, some were hand painted but many had the same slogans, straight out of Destiny press releases. There was a strong sense of people following. I did not see the Destiny people sit down in a big circle on parliament lawn and have a debate. Ok, so it would have been a big circle! But they didn’t break up into small groups and have a debate either. They punched the air and shouted in unison to the speeches of their leaders.
Oh, and can I just say that I have never been part of a protest that had a "VIP Lounge". Or security with nifty headsets. Or one person who could be easily identified as the leader. Let alone a leader who drove off in a flash car. 6
I’ve been on protests where there were children before... but they’ve always been very well informed and articulate about the issues. The kids I encountered yesterday were bright, intelligent, but they really didn’t have a clue what it was all about. They were there because their parents had brought them, and some of them had been told a few very vague things about the reason for the event. The kids were mostly either hyped up or terrified by the crowd. Most of them were friendly and eager to talk, but their parents certainly weren’t keen for them to talk to counter protestors.
As for the haka... well, I do think there were some differences. Ok, so there’s the All Blacks… and it seems a bit more appropriate in that context because it’s all about competition, and only one side can win, and part of winning is always going to be trying to get the better of the other team... through intimidation if necessary. I don’t think this is a good thing (I played for the BOP rep team for waterpolo in highschool, and sometimes it got nasty I can tell you! I was scratched and clawed at, held under water, my togs ripped down...) A certain amount of behaviour that might not be considered appropriate in other contexts seems to be socially accepted when it comes to sports. For whatever reason.
Then there is haka for performance, for tourism, etc. And in those situations it is not directed at a specific group of people. As a form of protest... there were some spontaneous and some rehearsed haka performances at the hikoi for the foreshore and seabed... but these were directed at The Crown, rather than at individual members of society.
But yesterday... it was an event at which it was made clear that people like me are not wanted in society. I was told I was an abomination, a pervert, a tool of Satan, the cause of the ruination of society, and that I didn’t have the same rights as other people. And then several hundred men and boys did a haka. How could I not feel personally threatened?
It was weird yesterday, because in some ways it was similar to the hikoi. For one thing, I was an ethnic minority in my own country, which is not a common occurrence for me. For another, it was huge. But at the hikoi I was treated with dignity, respect, and love. I was made to feel welcome, honoured, appreciated. Yesterday, I did not feel welcomed, or respected. Quite the contrary.
I went home feeling shaken, frightened, vulnerable and tearful.
But, I imagine, a lot of the Destiny crowd would have gone home experiencing a real buzz, and a sense of camaraderie and pride. I say this because I used to be involved in fundamentalist churches. I never went to an event on this scale, but I experienced a lot of hype, and I know what it felt like to be part of. It was exciting. It was powerful. It was addictive.
Finally, as I said in the comments to my last blog, no one is saying that Tamaki has set up a gas chamber behind his mansion... But an awful lot of people drew the same parallel... from my parents to a Listener columnist, from a random guy in the street to the woman behind the counter in a coffee shop I went to today. These people weren’t the radical leftist fringe. And I don’t believe that in making these comparisons we are denying the horror of what happened during the holocaust. But the holocaust didn’t come out of nowhere. It started with the kind of behaviour that we saw in Wellington yesterday. And that is very very worrying.
I don't like talking about "us" and "them" but it's hard not to. And I don't want to sound like a Buffyphile, but Willow's words back in season one kept echoing in my mind:
"...when I walked in there... it wasn't our world anymore. They made it theirs. And they had fun."
Weird Tamaki quote for the day:
“Because you have abuse in marriage it doesn't make marriage wrong as much as somebody goes to McDonalds to have a burger and finds out they get a wrong burger, it makes all McDonalds wrong. It doesn't, does it?”
Oh boy, don’t get us started on McDonalds…
I’m still in production mode in our basement… there has been a huge demand for screen-printed t-shirts. A couple of the slogans can be seen in the photos from yesterdays blog – “IT’S NOT MY DE$TINY” and “He tangata, he tangata, he tangata”. I also have a stencil for “Don’t like Civil Unions? Then don’t get one”, and the same but for same-sex marriage. I also do special requests (my ex-girlfriend wanted one with Brian: Your God Is Mammon”). Half the price of the Destiny black shirts! Email me if you want one. fionnaigh at stonesoup dot co dot nz
Here are a couple of designs I did as transfers – credit goes to Hinemoana and Tyree for thinking up these slogans.
For those of you who don’t live in Aotearoa, or who slept through the news… today was a very strange day in Wellington. Several thousand people marched into Parliament grounds wearing black uniform t-shirts, shouting and waving their fists in the air. Their t-shirts claimed that they were “taking a stand for the next generation”. Apparently they believe that the next generation will be better off with out homosexuals, prostitutes and single mothers.
marching on to parliament
raising hands and fists
What with the sea of identical t-shirts, the angry shouting and the stiff-armed salute, a lot of people were reminded of the Nazi regime.
this was my favourite sign
But as Hinemoana pointed out, it wasn't just the uniforms, the marching and the salutes that made people think of Nazi Germany. It was the blank looks we were given. The way they all chanted the same slogan over and over. The way they were following... seemingly without giving it much thought. As Hinemoana pointed out, they didn't have to get together and brainstorm slogans like we did. They didn't have to stay up late screenprinting t-shirts in the basement like Cara and I did. It was all handed to them. What to chant, what to pray...
A lot of them didn't actually seem to realise that their shouts were directed at us. They didn’t seem to associate their anger with me - the real live flesh and blood person standing in their midst feeling terrified, crying.
That was what scared me most.
another good one
I have to say, the slogans, chants, banners and clothes of the counter protest were a lot more colourful, and witty. The Destiny ground just shouted “Enough is enough” over and over and over. Enough is enough? Sheesh, that could mean anything. There were a few other slogans on the placards. "Civil Unions = Civil Ruin". And one that said "No Prostitution!" which, a friend commented, is kinda like saying "No Number 3!" And then there was "Put God's DNA back into our Families," which I couldn't quite get my head around. And one that said "Enough is enough... give us back the foreshore." "Er... I think he's a bit late," my cuzzy said. "His hikoi must have got lost, the others got to parliament weeks ago..."
That was the weird thing though. There were so many issues lumped together... I mean, I agreed with some of the things they were saying. Ok, not many things, but some... They were so waffly that anyone who was fed up with anything could have found something to yell about.
someone with a rainbow flag stuck it out the whole time in the middle of a destiny posse
The two groups, Destiny and… er… everyone else, were all jumbled up together. And, as we were the minority, at times it got scary. Some of us were pushed and shoved, called whores, spat at, told we were going to “roast in hell”. Nice. Why is it that all the other protests I’ve been on (peace movement, GE free etc) have been overrun with cops? I’ve been at protests where the police have almost outnumbered the protesters. Not so today. There were a handful of them there, but mostly they seemed to be holding back the main group of counter protesters. I never thought I’d wish for more cops, but today…
cops... protecting destiny? from all those dangerous queers and liberals and anarchists...
At one point I found myself stuck in the middle of a mass of black shirts. Everyone was shouting, and punching the air. I found myself wishing that I hadn’t worn such a bright orange top...
Me! - thanks to Ann-marie for this one
I put a lot of thought into that sign! It was a reminder for myself as much as a joke at the expense of Tamaki. I was worried we’d end up yelling abusive things back to Destiny... I think there was a bit of that. Not surprising, when you’re faced with a hyped up crowd who think the world would be a better of place without you, well, ya kinda get upset.
My tears started with the call of the reo-karanga. It’s such a powerful language. I’m used to the vibrations that it sends down my spine, but usually they are associated with an experience of love, humility and dignity. The karanga is the voice of women… though today it was the voice of woman. All of the speakers were men, as far as I could make out. But there were plenty of wahine in the crowd.
some Destiny women at the edge of the crowd
About 350 men and boys took part in a haka – a war dance. Kind of weird having war symbolism at a Christian event if you ask me, but then, no one did ask me.
like father like...
The haka is designed to intimidate, and it was successful in that respect. Made me wonder if our sports teams should be allowed to use that sort of tactic on the field.
Not all of the tangata whenua who turned up today were wearing black shirts...
support for Maori in the counter protest
I really wish there had been a strong Maori response. A haka? Or is that fighting aggression with aggression (maybe Te Whiti and Tohu should be consulted on that one). I kept kicking myself for not rounding up some people from the kapa haka groups I’ve been a part of... but ultimately, it’s not me who can respond to that aspect of Tamaki’s doctrine… though I’ll be supportive in anyway I can. I really hope their will be a strong response from Maori. I’m worried that it will be left up to queer Maori people to offer any response… because those in the wider community might not be directly effected enough to care passionately enough to do anything.
Speaking of family... Tamaki was on 60 minutes saying that a family could only ever be a mother, a father and their children. Hellooooooo? Can someone please introduce the man to the concept of “whanau”?
That’s one of the (many) things that made me really sad: seeing a Maori person pushing such white ideals. It made me angry. My ignorant ancestors brought this disease, homophobia, to this land… Can't we claim intellectual property rights or something, and stop him from using it?! "Get your hands off my culture! And keep it away from me!"
a lot of people showed up, huh?
there were a lot of kids there...
some real cuties
I want to put in a word for children. The kids may have been wearing the black shirts, but they weren’t showing any signs of hate. They smiled, talked to me (until their parents grabbed them away), and they loved our orange balloons.
with beautiful smiles
How does it happen? How does a baby, an innocent, beautiful creature, turn into someone like Brian Tamaki?
a word of warning
It was a weird day. I felt scared, and shaken. But at the same time, I caught up with so many old friends, exchanged many hugs and kisses, and made some new friends.
these guys were trying to sell "gayamello" chocolates to the Destiny crowd for $2 a bar
my flatmate Cara creates an alternative to the drone of the Destiny speakers
Did I mention that it was a really weird day in Wellington today? Yeah. It snowed on parliament. No, really! It did. Or, possibly it could have been sleet, I'm not quite sure of the technicalities. Soft icy stuff fell from the sky. Only briefly, but still...
As one of my friends said, the sun shone on the just... and the sun shone on the unjust. The rain and the sleet and the hail fell on the just, and fell on the unjust. Maybe God is trying to tell us something.
Thanks to all those who were part of the colourful, supportive, peaceful counter protest. It was so good to have you all there. And hey, I was proud to be a Green Party member when I saw the Greens standing up on the steps in solidarity. Good on Georgina too, for being out there and making a stand. Couldn't get close enough (without feeling like I was putting myself in danger) to get photos of the MPs... or the speakers. But check out the fantastic speech that Margaret (the minister of my church) gave. Yup, proud to be part of St Andrew's too, when I saw so many members of our church, splashes of colour in the blackness. Also thanks to Russell Brown, Iona and Jordan who have written some great posts on the events.
To those from Destiny, and I know there are some of you reading this because I’ve been getting emails… Please, stop praying for me. Knowing that people are praying for me to be “saved” from homosexuality is one of the creepiest things that has ever happened to me. I wish I’d talked to more of you today. I got a bit put off by all the fists in the air. Perhaps, if we’d actually had a chance to talk one on one, we might have found that we are both human.
(photo by Ann-Marie)
(photo by Ann-Marie) Hinemoana and I... still finding reasons to smile.
I don’t think I’ve ever experienced hailstones and glorious sunshine simultaneously before. That was kinda cool! Whoever was in charge of praying with the weather must’ve got something confused... The weather report is promising “Wintry showers. Strong, cold southerlies.” Uh huh?
Back in a few hours with photos and stories.
Yes, some of these are rewrites. I am lacking in original bones today.
A tide of red harakeke flowers
swelled over the swamp.
I said goodbye
as the country rolled beneath us
In the BP station at midnight
I pushed my money through the slot
Two cans of V and a map
of the North Island
touched over Hauraki
Finding the words
The river is the same shade of brown
as the photograph she nails by the front door
I arrange the vases by the window
huge tombs for the frail bodies of insects.
I am learning the names, the dates
beginning to flesh out the photographs
Heather goes over the lines again
with a soft pencil
the familiar calls of birds.
it isn’t about the money?
What if I like it?
If I crave the
on skin, warmth
in this darkness
the other girls like
to sit on top
I prefer the weight
of another body
to this earth.
What if I
I need the money)
At night my window
leaves a small puddle of light.
Goosebumps are instantaneous
as my feet crunch over the grass
the kitchen smells spicy and sweet
black boy peaches and woodsmoke
from small cracks in the walls
the stars drip down on me.
Away from the sound
under my feet
whisper to each other
from opposite sides
of the valley.
A friend gave me a copy of the National Radio “Ideas” programme for Maori Language Week, which featured interviews with three non-Maori people who have learned te reo Maori. One of them was Zoë, a 21 year old who works for Maori Television.
Zoë, like the other interviewees, spoke about what she had gained, and about how some concepts, some view points, are impossible to understand or access without the language. But she also talked about how, sometimes, it’s been a hard journey.
“I’ve had other experiences… and I know other non-Maori students have had exactly the same experiences, where, once we’ve got involved in sort of extra curricular activities through the university, they have been humiliated, and bullied, and picked on, by senior staff members… it was really really hard, it really, it really sort of pushed me away from the language and the culture, because, just because of how hurt I was… I got to a point where I thought, I don’t want to have anything more to do with this...”
I cried listening to her speaking, as I realised that my own experiences were not just a few isolated occurrences, but part of something bigger.
There’s so much fear going around in this country. And so many people reacting, without taking the time to listen and understand. And it’s definitely a two-way thing. Some of us are angry because we think we’re not going to be able to get to our favourite beach, others of us are upset because we think that our language and culture is going to be taken over, the same way the land has been... We’re all going to need to take a deep breath, sit down, and give each other a chance to explain where we’re coming from.
Sandra Paterson writes that “A bond with the land has nothing to do with the colour of your skin or on what kind of boat your ancestors arrived or how long ago. It is something inside your soul, which no one else can measure.”
So true. And I think that this bond with the land, and the feeling that it is not recognised, is one of the contributing factors underlying the fear that many New Zealanders feel. My family have been born here for generations. My ancestors bones are buried here, their ashes scattered to the four winds of this land. I can trace my ancestors back to the Black Isle in Scotland, just as others can trace their ancestry back to Hawaiiki. But if I was dumped in Scotland tomorrow, I wouldn’t have any family to call. I wouldn’t know my way around. I would be in a land of strange mountains, strange rivers, strange stars.
Ranginui Walker’s open letter hurt me deeply. “I have been here a thousand years. You arrived only yesterday”, he wrote. Actually, my tipuna, Thomas Urquart McKenzie, arrived in January 1840. Time enough to develop a very strong sense of belonging. Time enough that when some suggest I should “go back to where I came from”, I feel a very real sense of panic. Where the hell would I go? (I wish I could find the cartoon I remember seeing some time ago, which said “If we all got into our boats and went back to where we came from, the Rift Valley in Africa is going to get very crowded…”)
To be fair, it is a small minority of people who are making comments like this. When I joined the hikoi to parliament in May I was made to feel incredibly welcome. It was an amazing experience, one I will never forget.
I have been rereading my post from Waitangi Day last year, and I still truly believe what I wrote then.
The woman who runs the Mad Genius nights is totally amazing, and last night she said something that I thought was incredibly powerful. She talked about us striving towards tino rangatiratanga... for everyone, Maori and Pakeha. And I was struck by the truth of this statement. I think people are often afraid of the idea of Maori self-determination, because they think that they will lose something. I don’t believe this is true... if we see tino rangatiratanga as something we have to fight over, as something only one of us can have, then we will continue to experience anger, and guilt, and injustice, and we will all experience loss. But if we see tino rangatiratanga as something we can all strive towards, if we learn to respect and support each other, then we will all benefit.
Te marangai ka rere nei i Ranginui, ka morimoria te kiri o ia tae, ia tae, ia tae. Te hihi ka whiti nei i Tama-nui-te-rā, ka whakamāramatia ngā karu o ia mata, ia mata, ia mata. Te hau ora, ka pupuhi nei i ngā raureka a Tānemahuta, ka whakakīa te pūkahukahu o ia tangata, ia tangata, ia tangata. Te kai ka tāpae i Papatūānuku, ka whāngaia ngā puku o ia iwi, ia iwi, ia iwi. Ka tangohia e Hine-nui-te-pō tātau tātau katoa.
The rain that falls from Ranginui caresses the skin of every colour. The rays of sunlight that shine from Tama-nui-te-rā bring light to the eyes of every face. The wind of life that flows from the forests of Tānemahuta fills the lungs of every person. The gifts of food from Papatūānuku nourish every race. And one day, Hine-nui-te-pō will accept us all.
Ko tēnei te mihi aroha ki a koutou katoa.
Neville wrote a lovely comment in response to my blog about the Destiny Church march, and he wrote about how he believes that there is “that of God in every person”, but believing that is hard some days.
I do believe that there is something sacred in each person. I use the word God with reluctance, because it is such a loaded term. I do believe that there is more to life than just the physical, measurable realm. And I believe that there is a great capacity for love, creativity, peace, within every one of us.
But I would find it seriously challenging to love my neighbour if Brian Tamaki or George W Bush lived over the fence.
It’s hard like “forgiveness” is hard.
It’s easy for folk who live in a virtual paradise, who have enough to eat, farms, nice homes, businesses etc., to preach about forgiveness. But, is it really fair to say that to people who live in hellholes – jobless, threatened by imminent death by starvation... Are they to forgive the fat, well-fed millions who voted for their starvation? Who voted for war? Who voted for prisons? Who voted for their perpetual repression?
'Church Theology' takes 'reconciliation' as the key to the resolving of problems. On the face of it this may sound very Christian. But is it? The fallacy here is that 'Reconciliation' has been made into an absolute principle that must be applied in all cases of conflict or dissension.
But not all cases of conflict are the same. We can imagine a private quarrel between two people or two groups whose differences are based upon misunderstandings. In such cases it would be appropriate to talk and negotiate to sort out the misunderstandings and to reconcile the two sides.
But there are other conflicts in which one side is right and the other wrong. There are conflicts where one side is a fully armed and violent oppressor while the other side is defenseless and oppressed. There are conflicts that can only be described as the struggle between justice and injustice, good and evil, God and the devil. To speak of reconciling these two is not only a mistaken application of the Christian idea of reconciliation, it is a total betrayal of all that Christian faith has ever meant.
Nowhere in the Bible or in Christian tradition has it ever been suggested that we ought to try to reconcile good and evil, God and the devil. We are supposed to do away with evil, injustice, oppression and sin--not come to terms with it.
If only we could all agree on what is good and evil, justice and injustice. I will turn up at parliament on the 23rd because I feel it is unjust to say that queers are “bad people”, let alone to put those ideas into the mouths of children. But a bunch of people are going to turn up, honestly believing that they have every right to say those things, and believing that recognition of same sex relationships is “unjust”.
Of course these thoughts lead on to the conflict between freedom of speech, and protecting people from hate speeches… but that’s a dilemma I’m not going to be able to add much to at this time of night.
In more personal news... I have gained 9kg in five months. This could be a combination of eating too much (comfort and stress eating), aided and abetted by a collection of medications which all have weight gain as a side effect (the Consumers’ Institute has an article that mentions one of my collection as being linked to not only weight gain, but congestive heart failure and liver failure to boot - neato). As well, my thyroid function has some abnormalities that need checking up on (my mum’s thyroid is out of whack so I wouldn’t be surprised).
Whatever the reasons, being fat is depressing. It’s not that I don’t agree with the principle of the “All women are beautiful” sticker on my desk. It’s just... I don’t feel healthy. It’s getting hard to drag myself up stairs. I can’t afford to buy a new wardrobe every couple of months. Also, I look gross. I don’t want to be skinny, I like having curves, but... right now I want to hide in bed so no one ever sees me.
So, I’ve got my head around most of the paperwork, and I think that I qualify to vote in the US elections. I’m still waiting to see if they’ll approve my registration.
And then what?
Naomi Klein says, “in most key areas - Iraq, the "war on drugs", Israel/Palestine, free trade, corporate taxes - he will be just as bad. The main difference will be that as Kerry pursues these brutal policies, he will come off as intelligent, sane and blissfully dull. That's why I've joined the Anybody But Bush camp: only with a bore such as Kerry at the helm will we finally be able to put an end to the presidential pathologising and focus on the issues again.”
Sonali Kolhatkar & James Ingalls reckon that Kerry “is insistent on continuing the brutal legacy of the Clinton era in Iraq and has allied himself unequivocally with Israel. If he becomes President, Kerry will clearly act at least as center-right as Clinton, and maybe worse.”
Luckily I wasn’t born into a “swing state”; if I was, I don’t know if I could bear to vote for Kerry.
The world is really getting me down right now.
My flatmate and I have been trying to come up with some colourful ideas to balance out the sea of black “enough is enough” t-shirts on August 23.
Since the Destiny followers are protesting against the ruination of the “fabric of society” perhaps we could bring along bright pieces of fabric and make a quilt of celebration and diversity?
Or is that really cheesy?
Something bright and visual would be good.
Check out this site for updates about the “rally for human rights” which is also taking place on the 23rd.
Amnesty International has recently published a book called Sex, Love and Homophobia which is well worth checking out.
In the Sunday Star Times today (no I did not buy it, I just happened to be sitting at a table where there was a copy and it caught my eye) there was a picture from the launch of the Destiny Church Enough Is Enough campaign in Auckland. The photo was of a bunch of kids angrily shouting “Enough Is Enough.” Enough what? The protest was against “gay marriage”, abortion, the decriminalisation of prostitution, and other assaults upon the moral fabric of society.
When asked what they were marching for, 12-year-old Demi James of Mangere answered, “We’re standing up against the bad people, aren’t we?”
The bad people? That would be people like me.
Luckily, at 23, I now have the strength to hear a kid tell me I'm a bad person without it being completely devastating. Yeah, it hurts, but I’ve been told that I'm bad enough times that my skin has grown thick.
But one day, some of the kids in that march are going to find themselves attracted to people of the same gender. And for them, life is not going to be easy.
Meanwhile the Maxim Institute are encouraging children to sign a submission saying, “We feel it is important for the government to say it is best for children when parents are married… We would hate even more the idea of having a second mum in the house, pushing dad out of the way… Some of us are also very confused. We thought it was good to get married. But now the government seems to be saying that marriage doesn’t matter.”
I’m reminded of stories friends have told me about the campaign in the 80’s. The anti homosexual brigade took up a petition against the homosexual law reform bill, and some stood outside schools, encouraging children to sign it, without any understanding of the issues. Others targeted people who didn’t speak English. The petition was taken door to door, and around workplaces, where people were asked to sign it in front of their family, friends and colleagues. If you’re in a homophobic workplace, and someone asks you to sign a petition like that, and you might get fired if your boss thinks you’re a faggot, whatdya gonna do?
This weekend’s papers also brought news of the desecration of more Jewish graves in Wellington. Can this really be happening, in our city, in this day and age? With the holocaust in living memory?
My ancestors were taken to the concentration camps. I’m not talking about my blood ancestors, I’m talking about my “Ancestors of the Mind” as Jim Traue puts it in his essay about “A Pakeha Whakapapa”. I’m talking about the family, the history that I have inherited as a queer woman.
In the 1920’s Berlin was “a homosexual Eden, where gay men and lesbians lived relatively open lives amidst an exciting subculture of artists and intellectuals.” There were gay clubs, and gay rights organisations...
A few years later people were being tortured in the concentration camps; They’d been sent there because of their sexuality. Somewhere between 6000 and 10,000 of those convicted of homosexual "crimes" died in the camps.
Historian Dr Klaus Mueller, who has traced the survivors, says: "Many of the gay men who were taken to the camps died within a couple of days. Marked with a pink triangle, they were the lowest of the low, there was no support network as there was for political or Jewish prisoners. They were put into slave-labour squads, subjected to torture and some to terrible medical experimentation.
"At Buchenwald there was a doctor who tried to change them by instituting a particular gland. The operations were crude. Many died as a result of botched surgery. Others were beaten to death, drowned headfirst in water, hung by their arms till they were dead. Some were castrated . . . really, the worst you can imagine."
One man remembers the "singing forest" outside his concentration camp. That is, there was a sequence of concrete poles on which all those waiting to be sentenced were hung - "their screeching, howling and screaming was inhuman - the singing forest. It's beyond human comprehension. So much remains untold".
This is the history of my people.
It scares me, ok? Real deep fear that I can’t quite push away. I came out in the third form. To pretty much everyone – students, teachers, family, friends, youth group… something about that thin line between bravery and stupidity. But it was a fucking hard road. There was the time I was raped by a guy who was “proving” to his mates that I wasn’t really a lesbian… but the worst was the isolation. The girls seemed scared to come near me, and the guys thought it was great, as long as I pretended to enjoy their porn magazines. It was so damn lonely. When, in seventh form, I finally met other glbt young people, they were a pretty messed up bunch. I know people who were kicked out of home after being outed. People who were severely abused. But they were the survivors.
Now I hear kids using the word “gay” like a swearword. Sometimes I wonder if we’re really making progress.
The other headlines that caught my eye this week were the one’s starring my old flatmates. Second Home Birth Death, The Dream That Turned Into Every Mother’s Nightmare, and Midwife Given Wrong Advice in Baby Death.
Well, I was part of that home, and it was one of the hardest experiences of my life, but also one of the most beautiful. I was there for the nine months that baby Saskia was part of the household – don’t worry, I’m not going to go all “Pro-Lifer”… but she was a real, tangible presence among us, and her death was tragic. But does it have to be anyone’s fault? Why do the experts, the judges, the doctors, all get so obsessed with pinning the blame down on someone?
Sometimes, people die. Even babies. And sometimes it’s no body’s fault.
Maybe Saskia just wasn’t ready to come into the world.
I don’t blame her.
Update (further thoughts)
Amnesty International says that in countries such as Uganda, Zimbabwe, Jamaica, El Salvador and Latin America "the targeting and killing of transgender people has become an epidemic on streets." In Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Mauritania, Sudan, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and northern provinces of Nigeria, homosexuality is punishable by death.
In the United States fundamentalist “christians”, not content with the fact that young people such as Matthew Shepherd have been brutally murdered, continue to picket funerals with signs saying “God hates Fags,” and set up websites with pictures of the victims burning and screaming in “hell”.
In New Zealand, on Monday August 23, thousands of supporters of Destiny church will be marching onto parliament, continuing to stand up against the “bad people”. In response to the protest, a rally for human rights is being organised, meeting at parliament at 11:30 on the morning of the 23rd.
If you are in Wellington, I urge you to come along to the rally, to show your support for human rights.
If you bring along children, please, talk to them, explain the issues to them, let them ask questions, let them make up their own minds. Please don’t follow the example of Destiny Church and the Maxim institute in their exploitation of children.
If you’re not in Wellington, maybe you could wear a badge or a sticker showing that you support civil unions, or write a letter to your MP. Pray that homophobia won’t be the dominant voice on the 23rd, and pray that one day the world will be a safe place for all peoples.
Thank you for taking the time to read this rant. Remember that, while many of us take our human rights and safety for granted, there are still too many people living in a world of fear and oppression.
Nga mihi aroha,