Saturday, December 19, 2009

ZenTiger KiwiBlog on Christian Intolerance

[Background Reading to the issue: St Matthews on the Terrace]

I think David Farrar is just a little off the deep end with his latest post, having a dig at the people who have reacted aggressively to the billboard mocking Joseph and Mary. His point is that some have applauded an illegal act (vandalism), and that indicates a level of intolerance for freedom of speech that has him discussing extremists as if that applies to all Christians.

The next time a female streaker performs an illegal act by running across the rugby pitch, perhaps those that applaud the law breaking will realise they themselves have become extremists heading down the road to burn an embassy?

So I find myself fisking DPF. How strange, it's usually Idiot/Savant, or a Green press release that has me busy. Are times a-changing?

It has been amazing to see the intolerance on display by some extremist Christians.

Yeah, I’m amazed extremists are so extreme, but I’m equally amazed that all the moderate people remain so moderate through this. What is it with the moderates anyway?

They have applauded the destruction of a church’s private property, because they don’t like the message on display.

Yes, but in fairness only the extremists applauded. The moderates thought it a stupid response to a stupid billboard.

It is only a small way removed from the Islamic extremists who burnt down an Embassy, because they didn’t like the cartoons of a newspaper in a country.

And consensual sex is really only a small way removed from rape. They both involve penetration. And National Party voters that deface a Labour Billboard is only a small step away from murder. And making jokes about Helen Clark’s looks is only a small step away from bad taste. And faux outrage at “Christian intolerance” is only a small step away from advocating them thrown to the lions. Is David about to advocate throwing these extremists to the Lions?

Of course that was a more extreme act, but what they have in common is both sets of people think their God allows them to break the law to try and suppress a message or image they do not approve of. It is the thin end of theocratic rule.

Of course, anyone engaging in a political act is in open defiance of democracy and needs to be executed for treason. It’s the thin edge of a full blown fascist revolution, comrade.

There are many legitimate ways people could take action against the billboard of St Matthew-in-the-City. They include:

  • Complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (as Family First did)
  • Protest outside St Matthews
  • Put up your own billboard with an alternative message
  • Lobby for the leadership of St Matthews to be disciplined or sacked by the church hierarchy (if possible)
  • Try and have the entire parish booted out of the Anglican Church
But for some reason, only the moderates only explore those avenues. Why are extremists so extreme?

But instead the nutters have won, with their campaign of destruction: After the latest attack, by an elderly woman with a knife last night, the church said the billboard would not be replaced.

An elderly women with a knife and a pair of knitting needles has put them off, or the vast amount of negative reaction from “moderate” voices?? After the paint over, they were all for putting up another billboard (and maybe they have), but I wouldn’t be surprised if the implications of just how offensive their little media stunt actually is to many people is finally dawning on them.

The Vicar of St Matthew-in-the-City, Glynn Cardy, said the billboard was “attacked by a knife-wielding Christian fanatic who was then apprehended by a group of homeless people who care about our church. Later in the evening another group of fanatics ripped it down.

There go those fanatics again. Why are they so fanatical? Then again, a fanatic with money simply puts up an offensive billboard. Those sorts of fanatics are easy to spot (due to the size of the billboard and the content of the billboard), but they are fanatical within the law. It’s not illegal to offend people, but it’s ignorant to hide behind “freedom of speech” as the excuse to offend people.

I wonder how the fanatics would feel if someone threw bricks through all the windows at their local church, because someone doesn’t like their message.

We’ll have to catch them and see what they feel, if they go to church and if they realise how stupid they were. But a word of warning – fanatics can be fanatical about things.

It isn’t far removed from the morons who vandalise Jewish graves because they don’t like Judaism.

They weren’t morons David, they were extremist religious fanatics. Don’t hold back now, a vandal isn’t merely a vandal nowadays.

There is no right in New Zealand not to be offended by a religious message.

There is every right and freedom to be offended. You cannot think for one moment you can tell people what they are and are not “allowed” to think about something. There is no right to use ones offense as a justification for action outside the law. Subtle, but an important distinction.

If you are offended, then tough. Either take action under the law, or lump it. But you do not have the right to destroy private property of a church, because you are offended by their message.

Same goes for all lawbreakers, they should be caught and punished in a just manner. No surprises there.

But for all those who cheer on the extremists and vandals, well don’t cry out for sympathy when the same happens to your church.

OK, that’s a few people. What about the thousands of moderates you are now going to lump into your next point?

I mean if the Catholic Church beatifies Pope Pius XII, then it must be legitimate for Jewish activists to vandalise Catholic cathedrals to protest such an offensive move

Yeah right. First you argue that extremists have no right to break the law, now you are suggesting that a third party (the Church and all it’s moderate members) should expect whats coming to them. The Catholic Church has not condoned this vandalism, and it’s thousands of moderate members have not condoned this vandalism. This is a straw man argument you are setting up. Why assume these people are Catholics? Why assume they speak for the Church?

(Pius XII refused to publicly condemn the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews)

A controversial assertion, and you might want to look into this a bit further.

Posts on Pius XII:
Here we go again
Soviet KGB falsly linked WW2 Pope with Nazis

At the start of World War II, Pope Pius XII’s first encyclical was so anti-Hitler that the Royal Air Force and the French air force dropped 88,000 copies of it over Germany.
More information: The real story of Pius XII and the Jews

Related Link: Kiwiblog - Christian Intolerance

16 comment(s):

KG said...

Good one. Farrar is an insufferable, sycophantic little prat.
And pompous with it.

Andrei said...

He is certainly worked up about it.

He has done more posts on this than he has done on the ETS - or Coopenhagen

Lucia Maria said...

This puts the whole wanting to get shops open during Easter into perspective. He's not so much pro-shopping as anti-Christian holidays. Especially Christian holidays that are treated as holidays even though they are not public holidays - it's like Easter is special in an annoying way to him.

David Farrar said...

I was careful to say those who applaud the violence are extremists, but sadly in the comments section of my blog, they were the majority of those who are known to have religious convictions.

Berend is one of the few who clearly condemned the actions. I wiash more had done so - but most were saying good on you and justifying what they did.

That is why I did a second post on it.

Oh and Lucia I am not anti Christian holidays. I'm just pro-choice for what you can do on them.

And Andrei I have done 11 posts on Copenhagen and climate change in last three weeks. I thought lying was a sin.

Angus said...

DPF enjoys that nauseating liberal beltway circle-jerk scene too much, but to his credit, he allows freedom of expression a great deal more than most.

However, well done Andrei, Lucia & Zen for sticking up for your beliefs. Long may it continue.

(particularly amusing as it drives Fugley aka BillyBorker aka MyNameIsJack into apoplectic fits of rage. I can imagine him, punching the keyboard, saliva flecks flying everywhere, his face twisted and contorted with rage and resentment.)

Lucia Maria said...

David,

If you think carefully, maybe those that have "applauded the violence" may have been making a more subtle point. For instance, Andrei's ironic comment that you reacted to on maybe the vandals were exercising their freedom of speech.

As for myself, I have never said that I approved of the destruction of the sign. In Andrei's previous post on this blog, that perspective of mine is made more clear than it is on your blog.

I think you've made an assumption here on the violence being approved. But honestly, we're talking about violence to the offending sign, not desecration of the church itself, nor harming of any person. So a little perspective is really in order.

Lucia Maria said...

Angus,

Probably even more so since he's been banned from this site because of his wierd need to pretend to be multiple people and then lie about it. But then again, it was only a matter of time before he was banned for something else anyway.

ZenTiger said...

David, you say you were careful choosing your words. I'm interested to note therefore that you carefully chose to use the term "violence" over "vandalism".

So there's a few people supportive of the vandalism, not of "violence" and I think they are simply reacting to an increasing climate of disrespect. A deliberately offensive and overly provocative billboard by some-one who should have had much more sense than displayed.

In contrast, the Atheist Bus campaign billboards have merely gained bemused responses from the same sorts of people, because at least they are presented in a respectful way.

I think the sentiment is borne of frustration and it's a serious exaggeration of the situation for you to compare this to supporting the burning down an embassy and threatening lives, as we saw with the Danish Cartoon.

As for my position - just look at the posts I did condemning the Catholic Priest for defacing the Jewish Memorial over the Israel/Palestinian war last Christmas and recent comments.

I', all for freedom of speech, I just wish that some people don't abuse this merely to deliberately offend.

I think the billboard falls into this category, and if, somehow the Priest was actually so clueless not to see this, then he could have gracefully retracted the billboard instead of letting his pride rule his decision to ignore the moderate voices who have articulated why such a billboard is offensive.

Madeleine said...

Well I'm glad the sign is down, I don't approve of the tactics some people allegedly used towards it (but do note my use of the term allegedly.)

NewstalkZB reported it on the radio earlier today as (something like) "a group of clergy removed it today" and we got the impression that the leaders of other churches turned up and jointly removed it sending a very clear message to St Matthews. When we came home and googled we found nothing of the sort leading us to wonder if we'd heard the radio report wrong...?

Andrei said...

A huge Irony

Redbaiter said...

You Christians deserve everything you get. Wimps who are cowed by Progressive propaganda and who will not fight for what you believe in. You don't fight you lose.

Lucia Maria said...

Cowed? Who is cowed?

Redbaiter, we will lose if we fight. That is the point of inflaming us, to try and make us fight. Most of this battle is spiritual anyway, hence the prayer at the bottom of each page here at NZ Conservative.

Redbaiter said...

What about the defacing of the billboard. This was fighting.

Lucia Maria said...

Yes, it was.

And, thankfully, it was limited to the billboard itself. Once passions get inflamed, it's very easy for them go out of control.

Look, Christianity has survived for 2000 years - not because of fighting, but because of faith in times of intense persecution. That's because it points to a greater reality that this one here on earth, one that's worth dying for.

Our founder told us to love our enemies, not to hate them, not to fight them. Love is more powerful than hate, and in the end will get more people to heaven than trying to fix what is happening here in 2009. It's the eternal temptation to think that we can make heaven here on earth.

I think that what we are seeing today is the disintegration of our civilisation before our eyes, and there is nothing we can do about it. All we can do it point it out and pray that as many people as possible are converted on the way before everything falls apart.

Sean said...

Nice fisk Zen.

How the damage done to this sign becomes extremist violence says more about those who pretend to be shocked by the damage than it does about the silly boys and grannies who actually did the damage. Like you said Lucyna, some perspective is required. Of course this angle, as well as roping in of Catholics, really only exposes Farrar's true sentiment. It is also exposed by the fact that he is normally very measured and pragmatic in his posts (which I enjoy reading) but here he let his emotions get the better of him. I guess he is human afterall ;-)

ZenTiger said...

Whilst I am still comfortable with the points raised in my fisk, and I get a sense Sean that your comments are spot on, I can also now acknowledge Farrar wasn't completely off the mark in his comments.

The acid test really is actually seeing how much further people are prepared to go when taking offence at some issue. Minor property offenses are in a different category than assault against a person, or genuine threats of bodily harm for example.

Whilst religious conviction empowers some people to flout the law, there are so many other kinds of justifications people use, to the extent that singling out religious extremism with this mild example doesn't really prove the point.

It would make a great post to consider any moral justification behind law breaking activities, and how that differs from the above case (which action I still do not support).

I think in that discussion there would need to be mention of how just the rule of law is. For example, I think John Key ignoring the results of the Smacking Referendum has done irreparable damage to people's faith in NZ being truly democratic. Every time since then National have used numbers of citizens to justify some action (e.g. the newspaper advert saying 180,000 people want John to go to Copenhagen, so he will) I think : Yeah, right. Like it really mattered? It's just a vacuous attempt to pretend he never ignored what 1.4 million people said in the Smacking Referendum.

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