"Some people wonder why church leaders almost always back left wing
Governments, despite the fact that conservative parties always have a
much much higher proportion of true believers and church goers.
The answer tends to be that few (not all) church leaders actually
literally believe in God (as taught in the Bible), and are far more
concerned with social issues than religious issues.
Again this is not new, and I refer people to an excellent Yes Minister episode on this issue."
This is not at all far fetched. The gay minister of the church whose kindergarten my children attended is an atheist. His Christmas sevices for the kindy kids were a marvel to behold, containing not a mention at all of Jesus, Mary, Joseph or anyone like that, but many calls to arms against the oppressors of the poor and the downtrodden. He certainly bewildered a lot of three and four year olds, who until then believed Christmas was about Santa and presents. :-)
It is surreal to see such a post from DPF, whereas I have heard many atheists claim that churches would be a lot more credible if they pursued social justice as vigorously as the Salvation Army. I fail to see how a social justice agenda has much to do with declining attendances. As far as I can tell, the churches in decline are those whose leadership is confused and losing the foundations of the faith — ie. belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Take the example of Spreydon Baptist, a very large congregation (2000+) in Christchurch, which has outshone government agencies in assisting the needy in its vicinity.
Christianity does not confer a standardized set of political beliefs; the faith has a few basic creeds that most churches can agree on, but there is huge latitude for differences of opinion. But the Catholic faith consistently provides very thoughtful and balanced material, rather than off-the-cuff misinformed comments which form the basis of DPF's blog. Here is part of their statement on Employment:
“In recent years there has been much talk about the economy, especially the need to be economically competitive. We recognise that as a nation we must be efficient and effective and use our resources well. However, the State and the economy exist for the well-being of the people. The people do not exist for the well-being of the State and the economy. Policies and legislation regarding the economic life of the country must be shaped with this in mind.
Many claim that, as a result of Government policies, the economy is in better shape than it was some thirteen years ago. Yet the working and living conditions of many have declined. It is timely to remind ourselves that according to the Church the worker is always more important than capital, for the workers are human persons. We wish to remind all New Zealanders of the rights which belong to all who work and those without work, and call on them and on all people of integrity to resist further erosion of the dignity of the worker, and the unemployed. We ask all to ensure that the fruits of reform are made available to all citizens and that all members of society have access to the goods which ensure a life consistent with human dignity.”
The Iraq war has all but disappeared from public consciousness. We know why of course, while life in Iraq is no bed of roses things have improved markedly since the so called surge of last year.
In fact in a Jane's report released earlier this week Iraq is not included amongst the worlds most unstable countries - it comes in at 22 along with several African nations such as Niger, Nigeria, Burundi and Equatorial Guinea.
The real story of the lead up to the war that toppled one of the twentieth centuries most vicious tyrants has yet to be told.
The oil for food scandal still remains largely ignored even though or perhaps because its corrupt tentacles reached into the highest echelons of the United Nations and several Western governments.
Anyway here is another titbit, three United State's congressmen who traveled to Iraq in the lead up to the war on Saddam's (er um oil for food money) dime. And while there is no indication that they were aware of who financed their trip or how, it is surely revealing that they were at the forefront of those who opposed the war in Congress.
The oil for food scam and how the money was to corrupt international institutions and influence western politicos is surely the biggest story of the 21st century to date.
And yet the reporter who has done the most to bring it to public attention, Claudia Rosett, has yet to win a Pulitzer.
And the story of the three congressmen's trip to Iraq will also be buried as quickly as possible by the media.
It doesn't follow the template of the Texan cowboy's rush to war to steal Iraqi oil.
Womens affair's minister Steve Chadwick is likely to announce an increase in paid parental leave and the time an employer is obliged to keep a womans job open for her while she takes time out to raise her baby.
When paid parental leave was first introduced by Labour in 2002 it started out at 12 weeks. It was increased to 14 weeks in 2005 and now the hints are coming from the Prime Minister and Labour Minister Trevor Mallard that it is about to increased again.
The question is what do the years 2002, 2005 and 2008 have in common?
And for a government committed to "sustainability" this policy is quite unsustainable most especially if the liabilities on the taxpayer and employers increase incrementally every three years.
Cindy Kiro commented on the controversial legislation
before a Parliamentary Select Committee today. She said the new
legislation has had a significant impact on the work done by her office
but she is confident the legislation is having a positive impact.
Kiro says despite the quite vicious and at times divisive debate,
public attitudes are changing. She also believes recent public
campaigns against family violence are succeeding.
She had some 'splaing to do however.
Her office has failed to produce it annual report to Parliament on child Poverty in New Zealand and its Compliance report on the rights of the Child for the UN.
Judith Collins had the impertinence to suggest that Her office's failure in this regard might be related to the number of overseas trips Ms Kiro has taken during the period the reports cover. Eight in total.
I can relate to Cindy Kiro though, a trip to Greece on the taxpayer's dime has far more appeal than writing a boring old UN compliance report.
Statement from Hon Annette King in response to telephone inquiry from Ian Wishart on 4/03/08
Mr Hausmann's potential conflicts of interest were known to me before his appointment, as any such conflicts are required to be disclosed before any
appointments are made to the board.
These potential conflicts were disclosed both to me as the (then)Minister of Health and to the Cabinet.
Management of such conflict of interests is clearly set out in the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000. Relevant clauses of this Act
are referred to in the attached extract from the Cabinet Paper outlining the proposed appointment of Mr Hausmann.
UPDATE: Annette King's husband, Ray Lind, was Chief Operating Officer at the HB DHB before resigning to work for Peter Hausmann's company, Healthcare, which was tendering for the contract. HOWEVER, a check of Companies Office records tonight shows that Lind and Annette King herself have set up a company called Orca Services. What it does, I don't know, but it is rare for a Cabinet Minister to be the director of a private company - even her own - whilst a serving Minister.
Over 600,000 signatures were presented to Parliament yesterday asking for a referendum on the criminalization of parents physically disciplining their children.
This is more than enough to see a citizens referendum on this issue, which should be held at that same time as the general election this year.
Let's see if the ruling elite find a way to dodge this by delaying tactics and procrastination.
Of course citizens initiated referenda are not binding but they do send a message. In fact the level of support this petition has attracted sends a message in itself.
If nothing else having this on the ballot will ensure that I enter the polling booth later this year - I have actually voted in every election since I became eligible and was actually in the country at election time, But darned if I know who is worth voting for. It is easy to see who not to vote for, obvious in fact, but who to support instead is not apparent to this voter yet.
In a related matter is this press release from Jigsaw released late last night.
I had not heard of Jigsaw before I saw this but if the opening paragraph of their press release underpins the philosophy of the organization then I would say they are on the right track and a worthy of support.
Jigsaw CEO Strategic Operations, Liz Kinley says
that while community organisations like Jigsaw will always
be here to provide support and help with parenting issues,
it is families themselves who are best placed to spark their
“Between July 2006 and June 2007
Jigsaw’s 24 member agencies worked with over 6500 families
helping them to raise their children in ways that enabled
them to thrive and we are here to do the same in 2008.
Whether there was violence in their homes, or parents
wanting some positive parenting advice, our local Jigsaw
agencies were always there in their local community,
offering help and support in the way that best met the
particular needs of each family and their children.
And this is the type of thinking that will help solve the problems families face in New Zealand, not the shotgun approach legislation punishing ordinary parents for their imperfections.
Any organization is only as good as the people who work in it and generally speaking this starts at the top.
So color me impressed with CEO, Liz Kenley's opening words and lets hope that what she is suggesting can be delivered by the grass roots members of Jigsaw.
Because I am convinced this is the way to go and has a lot to offer in resolving the issues New Zealand faces in raising of children into fully functioning adults.
For the wealthy smoker an elegantly engraved sterling silver model will be de rigeur.
The more modest will make do with cases of traditional design made from stainless steel.
There will also be the cigarette packet sized embossed leather model. The cigarette packet of government mandated design will be discarded and this will provide storage for its contents. These will soon appear on stalls at a craft market near you.
I predict that cigarette cases will provide conversation pieces where ever smokers huddle together sheltering from the weather to indulge in their governmentally decreed socially unacceptable habit.
And who knows, along with the zippo, the cigarette case may soon become a cultural icon amongst the smoking population.
Here is a story from England that highlights a law change there that bans smoking in enclosed spaces. Fair enough maybe except that Prisons are exempt under this act while mental hospitals are not which seems a little unfair to say the least.
Somewhere I have seen research that suggests that about 25% of all cigarettes consumed are smoked by those who are mentally unwell to some degree or another. Perhaps ardent anti-smokers will say you have to be mentally unwell to smoke in the first place. Perhaps.
Cigarettes really hit their stride during world war 2, a time a great stress and discomfort for many. They almost certainly served a useful purpose at that time.
If we really want to eliminate the tobacco habit from our society, and I think we should, then we need to look into why those who smoke continue to do so.
Addictions of many kinds are a problem to our society, tobacco far less so than many of the others and understanding addictions is the key - not new laws, rules and regulations.
But of course it is far harder to get a true understanding of addictions than it is to promulgate a new regulation - and for those on a power trip less satisfying.
Years ago I was in a car driven by a colleague - a recent model Holden Berlina as it happens. Those of us in the car were in business attire, we on our way to a meeting.
Our driver changed lanes and struck an ancient Datsun occupied by four unkempt youths.
There was no doubt about who was at fault - my colleague. But by the time the police arrived there was no doubt about who was to blame and it no longer the driver of the Berlina, indeed the driver of the Datsun was now the one at fault. The police were not pre-disposed to believe the occupants of the Datsun and only too willing to believe my colleagues version.
And I to my shame pretended not to know what had happened claiming that I was preoccupied with business papers when the bingle occurred and was therefore unable to shed any light upon what had happened (actually haven't we heard a similar excuse from a senior politician, who shall remain nameless, over events involving a driving infraction not so long ago). A politic but dishonest answer in my case.
The upshot was my colleagues Berlina was repaired at the expense of the Datsun's driver who was also presumably charged with careless driving, a charge of which he was innocent. An everyday injustice resulting from prejudging a person by how they look and what they have. And the poor being preyed upon by the rich.
But the biggest predators on the poor, election year bribes notwithstanding, are the left wing parties, Labour and the Greens in particular.
They pretend to be champions of the poor and that rank and file members may actually believe this, but really they are champions of their political class.
In fact their policies actually hurt the poor and help keep them that way.
This post could run into pages on how the current Labour Governments policies have hurt those who they pretend to champion.
Tougher emission standards on imported cars just raises the price of all used cars, helps keep older cars on the road and the prices they command higher - obvious stuff really. who does this effect the most do you suppose?
The minimum wage prevents employers taking on people who could work but do not have the ability to work at a pace economically viable to an employer, but they could be if the wages they earned were appropriate to what they can accomplish for that employer, and indeed in time they would become more valuable to their employer and their wages and earning power increase accordingly.
It is my suspicion that socialism is actually designed to keep as many people as poor as possible so that it can survive. It has a vested interest in keeping a large number of people with as few resources as possible, which is why they are big taxers, rule makers and legislators.
On the other hand capitalists for the most part have a vested interest in having as many people as possible as wealthy. It increases the market for their products which often helps lower the prices incidentally - Its a triple win.
The very basis of Henry Ford's success came from the concept that he would prosper if he could build a product that his workers could afford to buy. And he did, the model T Ford was exactly that product.
Still I expect that many of the less well off in New Zealand will vote the way they always have, not realizing that they are transferring their own money and resources into the hands of a political elite who will spend it to advance their own interests and to hold their grasp on power.
And quite a few of the well off will vote this way also usually because they will get a slice of the stolen money but sometimes because they actually believe the lie.
And until the man in the street wakes up to the big lie that the left wing actually care about people and their prosperity we are stuck with them.
Life isn't fair, and left wing economics can never make it so. Right wing policies cannot address this either but at least they can provide more materially for the majority.
As for "social justice" whatever that may really mean, it can only come from the each individual treating every other individual as a person worthy of respect, regardless of wealth, position or appearance.
And that will never come from any Government of whatever hue, red, pink, green or blue.
That can only come from a change of heart, one that I have hopefully had since the day of the Berlina bingle. I hope that today I have matured enough in my Faith (for I was a Christian then as I am today) to be strong enough to speak the truth when it needs spoken.
and whether or not this is so is in all honesty an open question.