Herald Editorial calls out Churches

Editorial: Church call to go back 17 years – 31 Mar 2008 – Politics: New Zealand Political News, Analysis and Comment including 2008 election coverage – NZ Herald

The Herald editorial calls out the Churches for the utter hypocrisy of their call to reverse the benefit cuts of 1991 and draws attention to their deafening silence since the Hikoi of Hope.

Now the collective social conscience of the Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian and Salvation Army leadership will be mobilised in a “call to action” for the restoration of benefit rates that were cut in 1991.

That would be ludicrous. Much has changed in the past 17 years, not least the level of unemployment in an economy that has enjoyed constant growth for the past decade. What point, other than a political one, would be served by restoring any facet of the economy to a position it was in 17 years ago? And why now? The church leaders surely have not been waiting nine years for the Labour-led Governments to heed the hikoi staged in National’s last term. It is hard to escape the suspicion they have recovered their energy this year in anticipation of National’s return.

Exactly. I wonder perhaps if Labour will be threatening these Churches with the same threats they applied against The Exclusive Brethren. I doubt they will. The heads of these churches are constant in one thing only and that is the toadying and lickspittle fawning towards the Labour Party.

The churches have been silent on these social issues for too long, and now they have been silent on their preferred political solutions for too long – the duration of Labour’s policy leadership. Their return to the fray at this stage can be taken only as an attempt to keep Labour in power and, should that fail, to prepare for a renewed campaign against a National government.

Indeed, where were the churches on Civil Union’s, legalisation of prostitution and the anti-smacking bill, where has been their outrage as an ever increasing number of children are battered to death. Complete and total silence from the mainstream churches. Is it any wonder that not one of the members of this formerly illustrious group are increasing their flock, in fact they seem to be doing their darndest to reduce the flock to nothing.

One must always bear in mind the huge asset base that the Anglican, Catholic and Presbyterian churches have that they derive income from and do not pay even one cent in tax. I can certainly remember the Anglican Church whining in the past about State House rentals as they were merrily ratcheting up the leases in St Johns and Meadowbank. Mainstream churches generally make me sick with their hypocrisy.

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