The Fundy Post: Now We Are Six
News, News and more News
Welcome back, after far too long, to the Fundy Post. Apologies to readers for the lengthy delay, but there has been much going on. From now on, the Fundy Post will be published weekly. We will also be introducing a newswire, so readers can keep up with the world of religious intolerance at the click of a web browser; more about that in the next issue.
The Fundy Post will be making its first live appearance at the NZARH conference on Saturday 16th October at AUT's Wellesley Street Conference Centre. I will be making some sort of presentation, the details of which are still unknown, even to me. It is to be called the Fundy Post Colour Supplement; if it works, I shall consider writing Fundy Post: The Musical. After my bit, we will have some real speakers, including Kathy Sunderland on Blasphemy, Max Wallace on Church and State and Ray Bradley on his journey from fundamentalism to Atheism. Our keynote speaker will be Hon Chris Carter MP, Government Minister and New Zealand's first openly gay MP. Since the theme of the conference is The Tolerant Society and its Enemies, I think we can confidently expect that he will have something to say about the Civil Unions debate.
Readers can sign up for the conference at
http://www.nzarh.org.nz/conference.htm or by phoning us at (09) 373 5131 or by calling in at Rationalist House, 64 Symonds Street, Auckland. Please come, it will be fun. NZARH members and their guests are also invited to our annual dinner after the conference.
While you have your credit card to hand, consider showing your support for the Civil Union Bill and Relationships Bill. Supporters are signing an advertisement that will be published in a major national newspaper. The ad will include the names of all who sign the message. It will read:
We support the Civil Union Bill and the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill. We believe that our country's laws should reflect the diversity of relationships within society, treat all people in relationships fairly and equally, and not discriminate against de facto and same sex couples.
Signing the ad only takes a moment and it’s a lot easier than marching on Parliament. The Campaign for Civil Unions is organising the ad but it can only be paid for by private donations from people like you. A minimum donation of $20 toward the cost of publishing the ad is required to sign. Please help the campaign cover costs by donating more if you are able to afford it.
Sign the ad online now using your Visa or MasterCard at https://www.civilunions.org.nz/ad. Or, if you prefer, download and print the form (PDF or Microsoft Word) and post us a cheque. Please sign the ad today and forward this message to your friends and colleagues who support the Civil Union Bill and Relationships Bill.www.civilunions.org.nz
For More information see the Frequently Asked Questions file on the Campaign for Civil Unions website. Contact: Michael Wallmannsberger, Chair, Campaign for Civil Unions (Auckland) Incorporated firstname.lastname@example.org
Letter to the Editor
Credit for this issue should be given to Mr Stephen D. Taylor, who sent us the following email:
I am very disappointed that you have not updated The Fundy Post since June 2004. There has been much fundamentalist 'wailing and gnashing of teeth' in the media, and you guys haven't been writing about it, especially about the stuff I write :)
Oh, your attempts to have me banned from mainstream media 'Letters to the Editor' pages was unfruitful to say the least - I recently passed the 6000 copy mark for letters published nationwide, and the Newztext database just keeps on recording my successes. Mind you, Newztext only records 14 of the nearly 80 publications I write to, so while its a useful trend tool, my actual strike rate fares much better.
One last thing: could you ask the cowards who send me unsigned hate mail to at least have the courage of their convictions to legibly sign their name to their (and your websites) dishonest drivel?
Keep the faith guys - 'cause I will be.
This is of course the famed Stephen D. Taylor of Onehunga, the prolific author of Letters to the Editor throughout the land. His point about wailing and gnashing is true, but I have been far too busy doing my part to cause it to write about it. I was hurt, though, to read that he thought I was trying to have him banned from the media. In a world full of uncertainties, it is reassuring to know that you can pick up a local newspaper anywhere in the country and read a letter from Mr Taylor about the dire state of the nation. He is the letter writing equivalent of Charles Schulz's Peanuts: published everywhere, never changes.
As for dishonest drivel, Have At You, Mr Taylor. The Fundy Post may be trite, but its true.
The Life of Brian
So what to make of the Destiny Church Enough is Enough demonstration? Your author was unable to attend, due to a prior commitment. I did however attend the rehearsal demonstration in Auckland; well, not so much attend as encounter. I was stumbling down Queen Street on the morning of Saturday 7th August, still awake after thirty-six exquisitely debauched and sleepless hours, when I came upon the black t-shirted hoards gathering in Aotea Square. At first, I thought I was hallucinating, a reasonable diagnosis given the sleep deprivation and the prior consumption of wines. However, reliable evidence convinced me that this was really happening, that Pastor Brian Tenpercent had brought his paying customers to the centre of Auckland for a day out.
I have little stomach for moralisers at the best of times, but on this occasion, shortly after the commission of several deadly sins, I took it as a personal affront. Nevertheless, in the interests of self-preservation, I thought it better not to attempt a counter-demonstration, particularly as I seemed to be the only spectator.
Unlike most other commentators, the event did not remind me of Nuremberg rallies or fascist bands. Destiny's much publicised kapa haka group turned out to be a bunch of portly, balding, middle-aged men. They were far fewer in number than earlier had been promised or later was claimed by Destiny PR; more people have played in the Chills. They looked less like a precision fighting machine and more like a men's group, except that (to misuse the Seinfeld motto) there was no hugging and no learning. I half-expected them to rush off to the nearest hot pool.
What's more, you can say what you like about the Nazis, but at least they dressed well. This lot should not have been wearing t-shirts; there comes a time in a man's life when he has eaten too many meat pies to do that sort of thing. Their womenfolk, on the other hand, looked really fierce. Naturally, they were confined to a supporting role, watching their husbands perform, but if it came to a fight I would know which I would prefer to be up against.
Pastor Brian himself was dressed more informally than his usual self, although he was surrounded by hoods who fancied they had parts in the Matrix. He made a great show of a grand entrance, much to the delight of his fan club. Then he gave a modest and humble speech in which he demanded that New Zealand submit to the authority of the Bible, as interpreted by him. That done, he set off to lead his sheep down Queen Street, riding a purple Harley Davidson chopper, a mid-life crisis motorcycle if ever there was one. Two of his hoods flanked him on older and more dignified bikes, obviously providing the protection a man of his importance requires. Oddly enough, they were playing the Bee Gees' How Deep Is Your Love as he left.
It was, in short, as camp as Christmas. It was like an anti-Hero parade: a troupe of marching men entertaining Auckland with their antics, but without any of the glitter or, for that matter, the gaiety. The tragedy of Pastor Brian's flock is not that they are embittered and frightened by the world around them, or that they are dim enough to hand over at least ten percent of their income to their fake church, but that they take their leader seriously. The farce of the mainstream media is that they take him seriously as well.
The main event in Wellington a few weeks later was more dramatic, mostly because of the presence of a sizeable opposition, who waved banners such as 'He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy' and 'Hitler phoned: he wants to buy a t-shirt'. The best response of all was by the magnificent Tom Scott, whose cartoon in the Dom showed one Enough is Enough marcher saying to another "I know it's not the time and the place, Kev, but you look hot in those tight black pants".
It was unfortunate timing for Pastor Brian that the Justice and Electoral Select Committee was sitting in Auckland, hearing submissions on the Civil Unions Bill, while he was in Wellington. Unfortunate for us as well, since La Presidenta and I were obliged to present the NZARH's submission on the Bill while all the fun was happening in the capital. Nevertheless, there was pleasure to be had, particularly in spotting who in the audience was for the legislation and who against. By their clothes shall thee know them: the dress-sense of the fundies bore out the old adage that the event they have been waiting for these past two thousand years is the return to fashion of the Arran-knit sweater. La Presidenta and I were, of course, elegantly attired, although a regrettable clash meant we were both dressed in purple. This may have given the Committee the impression that we were wearing team colours or had aspirations to episcopal office.
The arguments were scarcely better dressed than their holders. One submitter told the sad story of how his mate's wife had fallen in love with another woman, and had left the bosom of her family for the bosom of her new love. He then undermined everything he had said by recounting that she said she had never been happier in her life than she was with her new partner. His point, if there was one, was that the Civil Unions Bill would do nothing to stop this sort of thing happening. He fell short of suggesting a law to prevent women falling in love with each other, but not far short. We sat through yards of this sort of drivel before we were able to make our own presentation. After that we went off for much-needed Martinis: it is an axiom of this organisation that, if you want to hide from your enemies, go to a bar or a bookshop.
What not to wear
For some reason unaccountable to your author, this edition of the Fundy Post is unduly preoccupied with matters of dress. In keeping with this theme, the Fundy Post's Website of the Week is Fashion Guidelines for Christian Women by Mrs. Alta Jorgensen of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, which can be found at: http://world-evangelism.com/fashion.htm.
If the title alone is not enough to make you go there immediately (come back soon, y'all) then this excerpt, quoted verbatim, should tempt you to click that link:
"There are only a few powerful enough to set the pace for all of us, but they are diabolically clever. It is in their work that new styles are born and when they appear the world rushes to follow them. A large portion of them are homosexuals. The products of their creative minds do us no good. A homosexual does not intend to flatter us his method is to ridicule women. The designers present their creations to us as high style. We buy them and wear them and suffer the consequences. Unfortunately, their aim is to make us look either ridiculous, ugly, sloppy, nude or masculine. All of these qualities are in direct contrast to God's standards for us."
Something for the Weekend
And that's it for this edition. More next week. Knowing that Fundy Post readers are literary types, I do not need to remind you that NZARH Honorary Associate and Famous Author Maurice Gee will be talking to Kim Hill on her National Radio show on Saturday morning. If it is half as good as her talk with Keri Hulme about writing and whitebaiting a couple of weeks ago, it will be worth staying in. Readers might also know that Gee's novel In My Father's Den includes a scene where the narrator recounts seeing a Rationalist Lolly Scramble in a park. Our internet techs are now working on a means to distribute lollies to readers by email.