Monday 4 October 2021

Queen's Pawns Take Bishop.

Suppose They Declared An Apocalypse And Nobody Came: There is much more evidence of Christian faith, hope and charity in Jacinda’s “Team of Five Million”, than there is in any number of false prophets, “Gotcha!” journalists, and “Let the Devil take the hindmost!” business leaders.
BRIAN TAMAKI’s feelings of disappointment must have been overwhelming. Looking down from the steps of the Auckland Museum at the 800-1,000 people who turned up to his anti-lockdown rally, the would-be national messiah’s most vivid impression could only have been one of empty space. Where were they? The tens-of-thousands of angry Auckland citizens he had felt quite certain would answer his call? Where was the great sea of human-beings whose roars of support he’d imagined washing over him like the love of God? What had gone wrong?

It is important to remember when dealing with Tamaki that his political instincts are, like his Destiny Church, strong, few and poor. This is, after all, the same man who, in the run-up to the 2005 General Election, was absolutely convinced that his newly-founded Destiny NZ Party would receive hundreds-of-thousands of votes. In vain did more seasoned observers of politics warn him that anything over 1 percent of the Party Vote would be a small miracle. He was having none of it. God was on his side. What God gave him, however, was 0.62 of the Party Vote.

Most people would have drawn the obvious lesson from such a debacle – and quit while they were behind. But Brian Tamaki is not most people. After fifteen years, he and his wife, Hannah, were ready to try again. Predictably, to everyone except Mr and Mrs Tamaki, Vision NZ fared even worse than Destiny NZ at the ballot box. Its share of the Party Vote was just 0.15 percent. Across the entire country fewer than 5,000 people were willing to give Hannah and her visionaries the tick. God’s messages are nothing if not clear!

And still “Bishop” Tamaki perseveres. Still, the visions come of the masses answering his clarion call to rise in rebellion against the manifest sins of this fallen, godless world. (Of course, if the world truly is fallen and godless, then expecting a big turnout against its sinfulness is straining Christian hopefulness to its limits!)

It has yet to dawn on Tamaki that his eschatology is all wrong. If the gospels make anything at all clear, it is that, on the highway to Hell, the traffic is always bumper-to-bumper. In Christian theology, however, the off-road track to salvation has always required a spiritual four-wheel-drive – “and few there be that find it”. Rather than inspiring him, Tamaki’s dreams of huge crowds shouting his name should terrify him. Theologically, they are likely to hail (heil?) from a location well to the south of the Pearly Gates!

Ironically, it is precisely this Christian conviction that “many are called, but few are chosen” that salves the consciences of religiously-inspired anti-vaxxers.

As anyone familiar with the Book of Revelation knows, the imminence of Christ’s second coming is attested to by the rise and rise of an all-powerful totalitarian regime presided over by the Antichrist. More and more will be demanded of the Antichrist’s hapless victims – until they are wholly corrupted and damned. Only a tiny handful of believers will find the moral courage to resist Satan’s lies. Persecuted and martyred for their faith, they will be God’s chosen few. His soul survivors.

So, you see, it really isn’t that big a jump from the Book of Revelation to Facebook. From defying the Antichrist, to refusing to submit to Jacinda’s jabs. Especially when being a member of a tiny, irksome minority is not seen as proof of ethical imbecility, but of moral superiority. If only more people would “do their own research” then they, too, could be saved.

For those who prefer to stay out of rabbit-holes, however, Tamaki and his ilk pose some particularly thorny problems.

A great many Aucklanders watched their television screens with mounting fury on Saturday evening (2/10/21). Why were these people being allowed to break the Covid regulations with seeming impunity? What was the point of following the rules, and being a decent, conscientious citizen, when these fools were flouting the law under the very noses of the Police – and getting away with it? Why were people being allowed to protest in a time of Covid?

The simple answer to that question may well be that, in a time of Covid, the Police are too thinly-stretched to shut down a large protest. Faced with the prospect of mass illegality, the usual Police practice is to bolster local numbers with officers drawn from other parts of the country. In a time of Covid, however, moving large numbers of people around the country is fraught with considerable epidemiological risk. With regional borders closed, the call on Police resources is further amplified by the need to maintain effective check-points. The Auckland Police were also required to maintain their presence at the city’s MIQ facilities.

Police Commissioner Andy Coster may have had no choice except to “negotiate” with Tamaki. Rather than open confrontation, he may have opted for shrewd calculation. If he could extract promises from Tamaki (such as maintaining social distancing and wearing face-masks) which his ill-disciplined followers subsequently failed to honour, it would play out much better for the Police than supplying protest organisers with disturbing images of Police officers forcibly detaining Tamaki, and others, which the “Bishop” and his backers could later exploit for propaganda purposes. After all, the public’s initial shock and dismay at Police inaction could easily be assuaged if, as soon as Tamaki’s followers were safely dispersed, the man himself was very publicly arrested and charged.

That barely 24 hours after his first, Tamaki was publicly promising to hold more rallies, strongly suggests that he and his advisers were, indeed, thoroughly disappointed with the outcome of Saturday’s effort. The low turnout (remove Tamaki’s loyal congregation, and the number of non-Destiny protesters plummets to around the 200 mark) indicates a population which, in spite of his own, and the Right’s, best efforts to stir-up mass dissatisfaction with the Government’s handling of the pandemic, remains steadfast in its determination to keep the Covid faith.

Bruised and battered by events though Aucklanders (and now the people of the Waikato) may be. Frightened by the Delta variant’s stubborn refusal to lie down and die, though the rest of the country has become, there is much more evidence of Christian faith, hope and charity in Jacinda’s “Team of Five Million”, than there is in any number of false prophets, “Gotcha!” journalists, and “Let the Devil take the hindmost!” business leaders.

In the end, Tamaki’s disappointing rally was, curiously reassuring. Let’s not forget that the last time the Auckland Domain hosted a mass political gathering, it saw 20,000 Aucklanders turn out to reaffirm their Prime Minister’s “They Are Us” defence of New Zealand’s devastated Muslim community. While the latest Census figures confirm that New Zealand is no longer a Christian nation, its citizens’ refusal to be moved by sly political sophistry and cheap religious theatrics proves that they have not forgotten its founder’s redemptive message.

This essay was originally posted on the website on Monday, 4 October 2021.


David George said...

Obviously the Tamaki led antivaxxers are small in number, massively outnumbered by the green tinged anti GMO faction on the left (that lose their shit over GM stock food, never mind injecting it into their bodies) and, on the right, by the libertarian, my body my choice faction. He's hardly worth an essay I would have thought.

The issue over social cohesion in covid times, as per your previous offering, is something worth examining in depth however. We've always had, even in times of war - including possible invasion and enslavement, a conscientious resistance. We kind of applaud the principled moral stand while rejecting the lack of social responsibility it represents. How far should the state go in enforcing participation? How about striking wharfies holding the rest of the country to ransom. These are not easy questions.

Social cohesion is certainly not what it used to be. The "Team of Five Million" and "they are us" platitudes won't really help when we have a government hell bent on the very opposite: identity based division and the implementation of political and economic power along ethnic lines (overturning referendum rights, He Puapua, three waters) or the elimination of the most axiomatic of categories, that of man and woman for example. What combination of arrogance and naiveté would lead anyone to believe any of that that would foster social cohesion.

There's a growing number of people not just disappointed but horrified by what is going on under Jacinda's watch, I'm sure there's some measure of that realisation being reflected (however unreasonably) in vaccination and lockdown resistance.

John Hurley said...

I had my account suspended from Twitter but they don't tell you what for (specifically). If they told us what for (specifically) we might see the walls of our cage?

There was a time when the limit was Lady Chaterley's Lover or The Life and Loves of Frank Harris, now of course you have Pornhub on tap.

It may have been that in response to the usual majority culture standing on the foot of minority culture (Maori) I called their bluff and suggested that maybe it would be better if we all went back to having our own ethnic groups in our own space.

On that though I support Eric Kaufmann's suggestion of a mid position of "Ethno Traditional Nationalism" - " a variety of nationalism which seeks to protect the traditional preponderance of ethnic majorities through slower immigration and assimilation but which does not seek to close the door entirely to migration or exclude minorities from national membership. "

While 20,000 showed up to the demonstration Chris mentions, it is also true that a poll by Research NZ noted:
I think Nzrs are polarised. You have half and half saying they are accepting or they are unsure and not accepting

On Remembering Christchurch someone posted an old photo of the Cathedral. A comment came "Is that Cooks statue on the other side? There's two symbols of colonialism right there!". It made my blood boil because these people have the blessing of the public service, media, Jacinda, etc, etc. I didn't respond directly.

It is telling that every news outlet (180?) carried the Maori Party petition (60,000 signatures) and only about 3 Hobson's Pledge (10,000 signatures).

I've had my jab's but I would like to see public unrest, but who knows a lot of people just get on with enjoying life?

It's Official - left-wing authoritarianism is a thing (who knew!?)

and on messaging (Kate Hannah)

Anonymous said...

Yes the Bishop is certainly a nutter, it's proven. But he's harmless enough, because the only people that follow him are his tiny congregation of sycophants and adherents that pay to keep him in the style he enjoys. And like the Mongrel Mob he gets a new Harley every year to keep looking good in leather and lace. Look just ignore him and he will go away, he is harmless enough and good entertainment in this bleak newscape of negativity and doom. Perhaps he will declare himself the Messiah in which case he could start his own 1pm daily sermon from the pulpit of truth and compete with Jesus (sorry I mean Jacinda).

Kat said...

Brian Tamaki is a joke, and a very bad one at that. His time for redemption is running out before the bad joke gets away from him and he is forever the infidel.

Here's one for the "Bishop":

Shane McDowall said...

Brian Tamaki's god has three heads. And he worships a Jewish carpenter. So it is no surprise that he is opposed to medical science

Anonymous said...

The Bish would be right on for a NZ repressed citizen skit:

What has the NZ government done for B.Tamaki and coy?

greywarbler said...

Anonymous at 11.52

I'm not sure what is worse - the sneering of people above us all looking down with contempt pm amu belief that isn't money-oriented or involving machines or guns. Or people who manage also to get above us all, and look down with contempt on the unbelievers who might as well take rat poison.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

" But he's harmless enough."
He extracts money from people who can't on the whole afford it by lying to them. Like most of these mega-church leaders, he's a conman. Not harmless at all, unless you don't give a shit about the people he cons.

greywarbler said...

I went to an Anzac Day civic gathering organised by the Anglican church in Nelson and there were no microphones; one would think that the concept would be accepted and assured by now. Brian Tamaki certainly has the organisation of self-promotion well covered.

FallingsoftlyPoetry said...

I had the dubious pleasure of knowing Brian Tamaki back when he was a simple preacher in a small church. The Church building existed because of one man's generosity and it certainly wasn't Brian. Brian has fallen foul of at least three of the big gs that people like politicians, Preachers, and Pop Stars need to be aware of. That is Gold, Glory, and Girls. The Gold and Glory have certainly ensnared him, as to Girls I am of the belief that Hanna has his testes in a very firm grasp. Few would be surprised that Brian's schism with the Apostolic Churches of New Zealand was about money. To be a little more precise he objected to the amount of money and the ownership of assets being decided by the Apostolic Council, rather ironic really. The Brian I knew played a good game of basketball, he was a handy winger in Rugby League and was a fairly ordinary person. Little did I know that he was to become a manifestation of Elvis Presley, Donald Trump and Oral Roberts all run into one, An ignominious end to a once genuinely nice bloke. Paul Cronin (ps these days I am a bush baptist who believes in a pan religion, it will all pan out in the end). One thing I am sure of though is that if Jesus were alive today the only time he would enter the hallowed halls of Desting Church he would be carrying a whip and giving Brian his parentage.

Nick J said...

FSP, that's a fabulous memory of somebody obviously reasonably adjacent. Its the sort of eulogy that could be delivered at a pre funeral event, those now popular with terminally ill people who want go go to their own send off (upright).