Imagine the cinematic release of The Golden Compass being accompanied by a direct marketing strategy to sell the film to critically minded, libertarian-loving atheists. Picture meeting halls of humanist, rationalists and anti-authoritarian activists lapping up well selected snippets from this fantasy movie. [Read more of John Moore’s guest film review below]
Should religion be deemed a charitable cause? And should the state subsidise religious proselytisation? These are questions asked by an article in the Listener this week. The argument put forward is that there are very wealthy and powerful religious charities in New Zealand that profit from their tax-exempt status. And the Government is about to make it even easier for such not-for-profit groups to collect greater funds. This is the first blog post of many in a series examining the contemporary Establishment in this country. [Read more below]
The Dalai Lama and the plight of Tibet has become very fashionable amongst many liberals – especially the Hollywood elite, which has meant there’s been a spate of films such as Kundun, Seven years in Tibet, and Red Corner. A better film, of course, can be seen on youtube: Penn and Teller’s 5-minute ‘Bullshit’ deconstruction of the Dalai Lama and his liberal western supporters. We learn that In struggling to restore the Dalai Lama these Hollywood humanitarians and their liberal counterparts are hoping to reinstall a feudal mode of production and a religious oligarchy that served only to exploit and oppress the people of Tibet. [Read more below]
Which political figure reads a chapter of the Bible every day, opens all his speeches by blessing people with the word of his god, supports a feudal tyrant and voted for hard labour and longer sentences for offenders? Sound like Graham Capill, leader of the Christian Heritage? Actually it’s the politician described in the Listener as “Graham Capill with dreadlocks” – the Green Party’s Rasta MP, Nandor Tanczos. [Below is a article I wrote about Nandor Tanczos in early 2000 – I’ll try and update sometime in the future]
Far from being a true benefactor to the poor, Mother Teresa was a reactionary old troll who wanted to drag all of us back to the middle ages. Never has anyone profited so much from the suffering of the world's poor, while nobnobbing with the rich and famous, and enjoying a global reputation as the saintly virgin. With friends such as Ronald Regan, and Robert Maxwell, it's not surprising that Mother Teresa was never actually interested in eliminating poverty and suffering. In fact, the existence of poverty was Mother Teresa's raison d'être, and she profited from it like the real-life vampire she was. In typical church fashion, it was more important to raise chapels for the worship of her deity instead of using her money to equip clinics and hospices. Her conception of the poor and unfortunate was summed up when she said, 'I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot... I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people'. Which is why of course her advice to the victims of the Bhopal disaster was 'forgive, forgive, forgive' rather than sue for millions. Furthermore, her reactionary views on women's rights made her a 'saint' with the blessings of elites around the world, as they represented a significant attack on the rights of women all over the world. MT's cult of suffering is dealt with in the 5 minute Penn and Teller 'Bullshit' deconstruction of her on Youtube. In this, Christopher Hitchens suggests that millions died because of Mother Teresa and millions more suffered due to her - see also this and this about Hitchens' criticisms. (With thanks to Grant Cronin and Andy Warren).
With United Future MP Gordon Copeland announcing that he's jumping ship to set up yet another new Christian political party, the public must be thinking that the Christian politicians are the most flaky around. And they’d be right. Copeland is simply following a long line of controversial Christian politicians that include: Graham Capill (leader of Christian Hertitage Party, now in jail for sex crimes), Graeme Lee (National MP who left to set up the Christian Democrats), Frank Grover (Alliance MP who left to join the Christian Heritage Party), Merepeka Raukawa-Tait (Christian Heritage candidate well known for her anti-smacking, pro-gay views, and notorious for attending strip clubs), and Philip Field (Labour MP also currently setting up a Christian Party), and then there’s the Destiny Church party. All of these Christian parties are a recent phenomenon... [Read more below for a recent history of Christianity in NZ Politics]