Free Me From Religion





Adam rejects god

The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close my eyes in disbelief and suddenly I’m right back there.

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My legs are like lead. I can’t run. I’m wading through the ground. It’s like a scene out a cheesy movie chase, stretched out to milk the horror of getting to safety with the villain getting ever closer, looming larger in the rear view mirror. I’m a tiny figure superimposed on huge screen with death bearing down on me. It makes a terrible clatter and comes rolling endlessly towards me. It’s an old wooden escalator, so big it swallows the sky. It is the devil. Ahead of me is nice middle-class home sitting on top of a pole. It’s Heaven! I could reach there, if only my legs weren’t so heavy and the mud so deep.

I wake up, hot and sweating. I’ve pissed myself too. It pools under my bum, prevented from soaking into the mattress by a layer of red rubber. The birds haven’t started singing and it’s dark. I try to wriggle out of the puddle, but the stitched-in tapes under the arms of my pyjama jacket are tied securely to the bedframe. I’ve been like this since seven the night before. I’ll be released at 6am so I can go and pray for my salvation along with the other inmates. A red bucket of porridge will be brought from the kitchen to our dining area. It’s sometimes hard to eat, but I know not to openly buck the system. The yellow stick – a piece of broom handle – is used by the Sisters, mercifully sparing their hands from the pain of beating children.

The building in Island Bay was huge, ancient and made out of bricks. Inside it was falling apart and, for much of my time there, renovations were underway with workers welding reinforcing rods and brick and mortar dust coating everything. The welding went on, popping and cracking; pure Hell coming from the welding rods in a sight so terrible we weren’t even allowed to turn our terrified eyes towards the impending doom.

Inculcated into the dark Catholic religion, we had been taught to fear fire, for fire was what would have us for our sins. And fear it we did, for we knew we were sinners, every last one of us. We knew of eternity too. We knew that if there was a mighty rock towering out of the sea that was caressed with the tip of seagull’s wing every millennium, and that when it had worn down to nothing, eternity had only just begun.

I’m lying in the pool of piss, as usual, waiting for the dawn, longing to hear the chirp of sparrows; an aural ray of hope, signalling a new day and a change of clothes if not circumstance. I’m lying there, trapped in a rising miasma of piss and rubber funk. I’ve learned to tune it out, but it doesn’t work all the time. I remember my dream of being rescued by animals, not by humans. After that dream I longed for this. I longed to be here like this. They could tie me up and leave me here, but now I knew there was an escape. All I do is close my eyes and a world of infinite possibility is mine. I chose cats as my friends for I trust them. I’ve always felt an affinity with cats from my earliest days. I remembered their purrs, the exquisite, luxurious stretches as they put their paws on my skin. I remembered their scent, sweet and clean, the softness of their fur.

I contrast it with the chafe of my piss-soaked bonds and am grateful to at least be here in a place where I can close my eyes and run. I lie here in my trance, trying to keep it, trying to get back to the dream, trying to fend-off the inexorable creeping tide of loneliness; that feeling of insignificance, infinity and eternity. It’s like a light that gets smaller and smaller until it disappears. Like the receding pinprick of light on an old black and white TV. As focus is lost I feel the infinite blackness swallowing the light. All that is left is a velvet all-consuming black. I am overwhelmed by a feeling of remoteness and loss. So close yet so, so far. So far away that no part of my existence can be seen. I am no longer here. I am tiny and lost in a universe of sorrow.

There were about 15 of us in total, aged from three to five. Some went to school, but most of us remained, spending most of our incarceration in the yard. It required steady rain before we were let back inside and there was the ever-present yellow-painted piece of broom handle. Its ends were lovingly rounded and two thin bands of red paint as instruction to would-be-wielders indicated where it should be held.

It was if there was a good end and a bad end of the stick. The angel held it with one hand and beat the devil with the other. We all had that in common and no doubt as we lay there at night, the wicked ones tied if necessary, we all learned not to cry out, not because we had learned no one would come, but that we feared someone would.

I open my eyes and break the ugly video tape that’s been playing on the big screen of my mind. It’s been little more than a slow blink. I look around and among the sea of bowed heads, surrendered to Christianity, I see other heads raised with eyes shamelessly open. An eyebrow is flicked and the “look” circulates among we infidels in a second. Nothing needs to be said. We are rebels and will not be subject to demands for prayer. We will not bow our heads for their imaginary god.

Among the rebels are atheists, Sikhs, Buddhists, Muslims and, no doubt, other Antichrists like me. We all know the misery that has been inflicted in this Christian god’s name. There’s a smile from one. We’ve already had a discussion about how this Christian god is such a mean muthafucka that he nailed up his only son as a lesson to other wrongdoers. She’d laughed, as had I, but we’re not laughing now, as we sit, captive while Christians dominate proceedings.

The brutal scars of Christianity do not discriminate, but there is no doubt that that Christian fundamentalism has taken a great toll on the Rainbow community and followers of the Pope have been responsible for most of it. And while we might have freedom of religion in Aotearoa, were certainly don’t have freedom from it being jammed down our throats. I certainly don’t have the freedom to participate in a political process without being reminded of the god in whose name I was terrorised, beaten and abused.

These bible-bashing god-botherers have no greater claim on our time than Amway sellers or other marketers of snake oil. And, yet, even an organisation as broad and inclusive as the Labour Party allows these toxic wares to be purveyed at its meetings. That Christianity is given a favoured spot within a broad church such as Labour is an anathema. An organisation that provides a privileged place to one religion simply cannot call itself secular.

It’s time for us to all recognise that Christianity has no ascendancy over other religions. It’s time for us to recognise that it has no place in secular organisation. Freedom from religious indoctrination has been recognised in schools for a long time.

It’s time for us to remember that religious indoctrination has no place in State schools any more than it has in other secular organisations. It’s time we started treating people who would sell their brand at secular events with the same sympathy and understanding we treat any other travelling salespeople.


  1. Blimey Kelli, that’s just another reason not to vote for Labour if you have to put up with that sort of nonsense within the party!

  2. I think it is perfectly reasonable to object to a Labour Party meeting opening with a group prayer.

    However the extremely hostility towards Christianity shown in this post is completely over the top.

    The Labour Party has always had close ties to Christian communities, and continues to do so. Christian socialism, and other varieties of social Christianity have contributed immensely to the life of the Labour movement.

      • How is saying a prayer at a meeting ‘ramming’ anything down peoples throats? For heavens sake I have sat through all sorts of superstitious mumbo jumbo and a fair amount of nonsense in the name of science and all it takes is a sigh and a degree of patience. I suggest you’re being more than a little precious.

        • Nehemia – I don’t go anywhere to pray. I go to places for specific reasons. If a domineering Christian wants to steal my time by holding up proceedings for prayer, then I call that “ramming it down my throat.”

          If you think this is precious, then I suggest you check your privilege.

          • You aren’t being made to pray, just respect someone else right to. Like I respect the rights of the Labour Party to open meetings with a prsyer to any other Stone Age superstition, the right of eccentric environmentalists to lecture me about the use of my motor vehicle, and the rights of friends to berate me for immunising my children. It’s part of living on a tolerant society.

        • How is opening a meeting with a superstitious mumbo jumbo anything other than ramming it down attendee’s throats?

        • Nehemia – ironic that when LGBT campaign for equal rights, conservatives throw precisely that comment back at them “that homosexuality is being rammed down their throats” (an unfortunate phrase if ever there was one).

          LGBT then respond with precisely what you’ve said, “How is demanding equality ‘ramming’ anything down peoples throats?”

  3. Well then , Kelly Ellis…interesting. Unfortunately it seems as if you had the misfortune to have been dished out some old fashioned 19th century ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ thinking in your upbringing. Sad it is.

    But , -and here’s the rub,…a little history lesson. You mention Muslims.

    It might interest you to know that around the 7th century A.D was the Muslims who attacked Europe first in a ‘pincer’ movement. They enlarged their army by giving conquered peoples one of two choices. Die…or fight for us and share in the booty. Not so very different from Attila the Hun , the Mongols and many others …Rome included.

    They attacked from the East and in through to Poland. They then attacked across North Africa through Morroco, on into Spain and then into France.

    It was the Germanic Franks,-who had assimilated into the Holy Roman Empire and who ,being foot soldiers, routed the Muslims who were primarily horse riders, and defeated them so badly they were pushed back to Spain…and North Africa. Meanwhile , the pope at that time appealed for the nations of Europe to unite – as they were busy killing each other – to help defeat the Muslim threat.

    Contrary to popular belief- it was the Muslims that waged war first against Christian Europe. Fact.

    So….the point?….your Muslim ‘victims ‘ of the Christian God…seem to not know their own history…as do many who see it fashionable to rail against the west…and in particular….the Judaic/ Christian beliefs that the West was foundered on.

    Would you prefer Sharia Law instead ?…inasmuch as if you are gay, an adulterer , you are summarily stoned, beheaded?. I don’t think so.

    Perhaps in your childlike mind…you developed a hatred for this ‘God’ who caused you such pain. Understandable.

    But let us not be naive…you know as well as I do that it is not a ‘God’ thing’…it is a ‘human ‘ thing. And opportunistic , nasty evil people have been using ‘God’ as a concept to excuse any political agenda since time began. If your going to have a gripe and hold a grudge at least get it right.

    And how can you find fault with the words’ suffer the little children to come to me, …for such is the kingdom of heaven…and that if any should harm such as would be better a millstone was tied around his neck and he be cast into the deepest sea’…the same man who uttered these words also was not discriminating against other sects or creeds…he also accepted the Samaritans , and other races…it was people he was concerned with.

    And the woman at the well?…who had 17 husbands??..seems she got around , now didn’t she…was she rejected…no!

    Does that sound like a hateful, wrathful God to you???….Na…but there are plenty of people down through history who used the morals card as a weapon to control the populace. You know that.

    And that is the REAL problem. People. Evil, manipulative, politically motivated , greedy people.

    And instead of railing against the concept of ‘God’…and sounding naive …perhaps it is more to do with that unfortunate early experience – that has tainted your concept ,…and set you down your own personal life choices.

    I think it is really not too hard to read between the lines of why you have taken that attitude.

    • “And instead of railing against the concept of ‘God’…and sounding naive”
      I’m sorry if it offends your religious beliefs but, to my mind, you are the one who sounds naive if you still believe in a concept of ‘god’.

    • It might interest you to know that around the 7th century A.D was the Muslims who attacked Europe first in a ‘pincer’ movement.

      I think you’ll find that the Romans attacked the Arabs first actually.

      It’s kinda silly to go around trying to determine who attacked who first.

      • Indeed….and as such…means that ALL groups have had their turn….so why single out one against the other?

        And if its ok to open proceedings with a Maori prayer….why then is that ok but not the Catholic, Protestant or indded Rbbinical prayer/blessings on proceedings?….All of which have historically induldged in intrique, murder , manipulation.

        Welcome to the human condition. Humans do this sort of thing. Sadly.

        • Karakias – if they are not infused with Christian religious overtones – are often just an acknowledgement of the coming together of the group, the skills and knowledge they all bring to the event, the definition of the purpose of the hui/meeting and a declaration for a successful outcome.

          However, as Kelly mentions – when Christianity is added to this mix – it becomes a bastardised version of this. One that I also feel uncomfortable with.

        • If you look into it properly without revisionist history -or- trying to sound ‘Left ; for the sake of being ‘ Left’ , you will see the early followers of Islam persecuted by their own people.

          And who gave them shelter? the Christian Ethiopian Emperor Ashama ibn Abjar.

          Also you’ve got the Greeks muddled up in your time frames- they superseded the Romans by about a millennium…. and as we all know Muhammad and Islam came way after the fall of the Grecian empire…wayyyy after…

          I think you are deliberately confusing the issue in order to have a dig at Christianity and in particular the west in order to suit your own agendas.

          Bad science me old mate. Bad science.

          And as for the Romans?…what century are you referring to?…classical Rome had long been taken over by the Germanic tribes and assimilated into what became the Holy Roman Empire before Muhammad came on the scene…by then it was East Rome and West Rome.

          I think alot of you lack knowledge of your classical history and furthermore use this sort of revisionist erroneous version of history to suit your own purpose.

          Its like you cant handle the bald faced facts because it doesn’t align well with your current political viewpoints.

          Sorry Guys, 1) I dont go for those who revise history for their own political ends- Hitler did that very same thing.

          2) Im not here for a popularity contest- if the facts are the facts ,- end of story.

          3) As for Islamophobe?…L00L …nah mate..I just dont suffer those who like to quote errors to hide historically well documented fact. There’s enough of that going on in NZ political circles as it is.

          Its called selectivity and outright lies.

  4. Jesus the Christ did NOT want churches being built in His name.

    Why don’t you study what His principles were, and how they’ve been corrupted down the ages. (Mind you, that would take quite a bit of time, effort & deep thinking)

    Unfortunately you’re confused & don’t really know what you’re talking about Kelly.

      • Kelly you do yourself no justice with such silly claims. Personal experience is highly subjective, and clearly open to the influence of your own particular prejudices.

        • “Prejudices”?

          Or life experiences which you, Nehemia, have been fortunate not to share. It’s easy to put down one person’s life-stories when you’ve lived a privileged life.

          The difference between you and Kelly is that she has the courage to share her life experiences with us. In return, thus far, you’ve sat behind the cloak of anonymity (?) behind a computer screen and fired potshots at her.

          I suggest you have your own personal prejudices which are coming through loud and clear.

          • Of course, we all have our prejudices. The question is do we allow those prejudices to develop into such an irrational response as shown in Kelly’s blog piece, or do we allow those prejudices to be mitigated by an objective analysis of history.

              • Opinions can be entirely rational yet not conform to my world view or yours. It is part of appreciating good argumentation, even when we disagree with the general thesis proposed. In many aspects Kelley’s piece displays the prejudices but not the rationality. After all why are Kelley’s personal experiences any more valid than those of Christian believers who find the writings she dismisses as ‘discredited’ worthy? Surely it is all subjective without reference to some historical or scientific truth?

    • References please- and not from that dumb book someone wrote a hundy years after the poor prick died-
      Please provide some independant first hand witness statement-something to demonstrate your KNOWLEDGE of what you are claiming.

      ” My name’s Mick, I used to live in Nazareth, I was in IT back then, for the Tax department – i knew this Jesus bloke- little fella, dark skinned, really Jewish lookin so he was, with really tightly curled hair. Yep I met him at a wedding- there was some issue about running out of wine, and Jesus went out back and found a heap of casks hidden under a blanket and just started handing them out- without the owners permission- he loved his wine so he did- used to soak his fuckin bread in it- seriously.
      Anyways he told me his principles, and they were…..[place Jesus’ Principles here]…”

      I’m sure you get the meaning…..

  5. When it comes to religion, the great virtue is tolerance. They’re a ubiquitous feature of human societies. There’s a reasonably large demographic of NZ who are moderate and inoffensive Christians – going out of your way to offend them may not be a luxury the left should indulge.

    • Yes, and some of those moderate inoffensive Christians are my friends. But those who want to dominate with prayer at secular events need to check their privilege and bite their damn tongues.

      • It comes down to perception I guess. I’d tolerate the prayer in the interests of a reflective meeting. I suspect if you voiced these views candidly at such a meeting you’d just have an incident. But if this is really what you believe you should go out there and offend people. The media would enjoy it, but you might not get much done.

      • Christians, always lecturing about “tolerance”. One-way tolerance only of course. At the next meeting, interrupt the start with a matter-of-fact speech about God not existing, count the seconds until you are dragged off for causing offence. 😉

        • So on one hand you are quite happy with any other belief system so long as its not ‘christian’ opening a meeting. Interesting. Or is it fashionable or ‘tolerant’ to have some other religion such as Hindi or whatever doing the job?

          And I suppose its intolerant of christians to oppose the theory of evolution in varsitys,…yet ok for the new age guys to sound off about the cosmos.

          Face it. For every charge that can be levelled against christian intolerance,- theres a countercharge of hypocrisy that can be levelled back at the accusers.

          For every charge against the church eg Spanish Inquisition , theres a massacre occuring with one group against the other of other religions. Eg: Hindi’s against the Muslims .

          And dont think you can hide behind secularism either – in the name of political expediencey , millions have been butchered down through history who happened to disagree with an incumbent secular govt. Killing fields of Cambodia comes to mind for a start.

          And some of you have the gall and bias to only aknowledge what suits you at the time – and have the nerve to claim your tolerant?

          As stated before – it is a human condition you struggle with. People behaving badly and doing bad things to other people.

          • Wild Katipo, none of these other groups you talk of try to foist their brand of snake oil on meetings the way Christians do. If you don’t understand this, I suggest you reread what I’ve written. Your distorted views of history and views of religion, if they had merit, would find themselves published standing alone rather than parasitically attached to my efforts.

            • Snake oil?….clear bias.

              I do however find it sad regards your early experiences. That was most unfortunate I agree. And wrong.

              Distorted?….read history.

              Views of religion?…again…read history.

              Merit? ….once again …read history.

              Parasitical ?…same could be said for any other posters here who disagree with your particular world view.

              No matter how you cut it , the bias comes through loud and clear.

              The difference between your thread and my posts is I include ALL humanity of being culpable of atrocitys and acts of violence at different times in their history. No matter what religion or political persuasion .

              Dont believe it?…read history.

              And in that I am not being biased and in that also it has TOTAL relevance to your thread.

        • Goodness, where have you been? Thinking people have been denying the existence of God for centuries in the face of Christian believers. I’ve yet to see anyone dragged off anywhere in my lifetime. Indeed I rather enjoy the discourse.

  6. Where to start? If you want to see the dark side of Christianity, then read up on the residential schools of Canada and the crimes of the Catholic and Anglican churches against the original Canadians.

    Christianity today is a mixture of idealism and hubris, wisdom and delusion. Understanding the duality involves looking at the development of the beliefs of the followers after the departure of their messiah, which split into the orthodox followers of James the Just and the Christians following Paul. James referred to Paul as a “vain main”, and Paul called the followers of James “Judaizers”. Paul’s vanity is evident in his false account to King Agrippa of the events on the road to Damascus, and the split in doctrine is evident in his false account to the Galatians of the resolution of the council of Jerusalem. The council sent Paul to deliver its findings, that new converts were to observe four points from Judaic law, but Paul instead only spoke of the remembrance of the poor.

    But beyond this there is the problem of the crucifixion. The Quran relates that it was not what it appeared to be, as do some of the Gnostic texts. The gospel of Barnabus relates the story of how the person of Judas was changed and he was tortured and crucified in a case of mistaken identity. The Bible relates two contradictory fates of Judas, one that he hanged himself (true in a figurative sense according to the alternative scenario), and one that he fell headlong and disemboweled himself.

    There’s also support for the Quranic account in the prophetic Psalms (23 & 69), which describe a crucified man broken by the weight of his own sin. The cry from the cross has another meaning here, relating to the release from suffering only by the fulfillment of prophecy – the drinking of vinegar.

  7. “Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.”
    Bertrand Russell's_teapot

  8. I support the point made in the post.

    I just wish it had been made succinctly, only using the two or three paragraphs that got to the point (the final three).

  9. All organised religions are claptrap–horrendously amplified, dogmatic anachronisms–that should have disappeared in the enlightenment of science. No they didn’t. Maintained by fearful clerics that could not endure education awakening the poor people (who’s labour sustained them). Better for their “churches” to maintain their fabricated threats and fantasies. Thus losing the any of the beneficent aims of the originators–who were only sincere humans.
    I despise all religions equally for the maintenance of ignorance and, like Kelly, like to have my eyes open.

    • As a Christian on the left it is easy for me to forget how much contempt and hostility is bubbling away underneath the surface. This is probably because in daily life I don’t make a point of drawing much attention to my religion. (I can’t imagine wanting to demand a group prayer at a Party meeting!). But anti-religious bigotry, like all forms of irrational hatred, distorts and darkens the mind of the person who does the ‘despising’. The recent prominence of these attitudes on the left is a lamentable development.

  10. Ideally, each of us should be able to live within a belief system that suits us, however, each would have to accept that others do not believe the same as them and that each one of us stands to be proven wrong when we cark it, even we atheists.
    I often wonder how come Christians never turned their backs on the Old Testament, where it appears most of the fire and brimstone nonsense comes from, and if, as I suspect, there was a guy back then that we now call Jesus Christ, why on earth he became to thought as the son of some god or other. To me what he had to say, is just as relevant as what Socrates or Aristotle had to say.
    You don’t have to think of someone as being some sort of deity to see worth in the words that seem to have come from them.
    Pity he didn’t write his own book, though, as we’d be a bit more clear about things then.

  11. These bible-bashing god-botherers have no greater claim on our time than Amway sellers or other marketers of snake oil. And, yet, even an organisation as broad and inclusive as the Labour Party allows these toxic wares to be purveyed at its meetings

    Hi Kelly,

    My final thought on all this is that if Dorothy Day had attended a Labour Party meeting, it would have been to nobody’s benefit to dismiss her as a purveyor of snake oil. We could say the same about Michael Joseph Savage for that matter.

    The Christian tradition has made vital contributions to the heart, mind, and soul of the Labour movement for centuries. It shouldn’t be privileged, or forced on people, but your “snake oil” dismissal is totally antithetical to the traditions of the Labour movement.

    Tony Benn’s remarks on Jesus and Christianity are well worth looking for on you tube

    • You’re completing missing the point “Tom” and, indeed, you’re trying to sell your own snake oil. Just stop trying to sell Jesus to me and we’ll get on fine.

      • Thanks Kelly, more than happy not to sell anything! I think the comment you’re replying to is still stuck in moderation? (no need to publish this message).

        • Tom, directing me off to read or view religious promotional material is “selling.” Didn’t I make it clear in this blog that “I’m not buying.” A continued effort to sell your wares to me demonstrates you’ve completely missed the point. Go to Church today. Get it out of your system and don’t inflict it on people like me who’ve made it clear we’ve had enough Christian marketing.

  12. Whist I am christian, why inflict prayer on non believers, a more appropriate action would have been to call for a minute for those that wished to seek divine guidance and may do so in silence 😀

    I also wish to add here that many christians do not view catholicism as christianity. I feel for you, I was not directly tortured, but also suffered due to the misguided catholic virtues that were guiding the country 40 years ago and forced my mother to give me up to adoption.

    I personally regard catholicim (the religion and its hierarchy and rules, not the individual deceived followers) as possibly (one of many) false Christ we are warned about. Christianity is about forgiveness not punishment, a direct relationship with Jesus as opposed to the intercession of the priest to whom you must confess.

    In reference to the bible it must be noted that we live under the new covenant with God, the New Testament, we have already been saved and forgiven, not only that we have been relieved of our guilt through this, all one needs to do is accept the gift that is given in these books.

    I hope this isnt TLTR 😀

    Peace and <3 to all.

    • “In reference to the bible it must be noted that we live under the new covenant with God, the New Testament”

      Christians generally don’t understand the nature of the new covenant (Jer 31:31-34). Testaments (eg last will and testament) are of the dead.

  13. Kia ora Kelly.

    Two points –

    Prayer can be done in silence and private, even at a meeting, and is also best done in one’s own words.

    Your story is horrifyingly vivid and evocatively told. Rich experience on which to base powerful published work – I hope you are considering doing that.

    • One other important point George- ‘prayer’ can actually be ‘done’, not just in silence and in private, but in silence and in public too, while everyone else is talking about real things.

  14. What is particularly humorous is that you consider Muslims to be ‘Rebels’, like yourself. The same Muslims who still persecute and even execute gays.

  15. Hi,

    I understand your pain – that you were traumatised as a child. And I understand that anything that reminds you of that is reopening the wounds. But really a minute of prayer where you don’t have to do anything save stare at the ceiling or out the window? Is this the end of the world?

    Or is the end of the world the neoliberalist agenda you’re going to have preached to you in the however many hours of the Labour meeting ahead – because lets face it Labour has moved so far away from its roots that it is firmly in the NL camp. It may call itself centrist left, but the centre is no longer where it was.

    In the scheme of things the suffering caused by a minute of prayer compared to the ideology of the free market consuming both main political parties and swallowing our country whole is nothing.

    While you’re wailing your pain about having to be subjected to a minute of prayer, can’t all those children being left without clothes, proper roofs over their heads, or any hope of a decent future because their parents are unemployed and have been discarded by the wealthy elite, have a small say in your thoughts?

    You’re being precious as far as I can see.

    Cheers, Greg.

      • Hi,

        I’m not selling you anything. I’m telling you get a grip. Try to work out what actually matters. And in the scheme of things this doesn’t.

        You went to a Labour Party meeting. Important, I assume, matters about child poverty and education and whatever else were discussed. And you come back with the great evil of prayer.

        Cheers, Greg.

        • No, you get a grip Greg. The other matters you’ve raised have nothing to do with this blog and their existence certainly doesn’t preclude me from discussing Christian hijacking.

          • Hi,

            No clearly they don’t. Just as Putin going to the G20 wasn’t precluded from complaining about his desert. Great minds and all that!

            Cheers, Greg.

            • I think you’ve hit it on the head Greg. Kelly’s obsession with a brief prayer seems to be entirely irrational, and regrettably detracts from other far more important issues.

    • How arrogant of you to assume that unless you are “persuaded to pray” – a person’s thoughts will not be directed to ” …all those children being left without clothes, proper roofs over their heads, or any hope of a decent future because their parents are unemployed and have been discarded by the wealthy elite…”.

      That minute of time you casually appropriate is mine to do with what I will. And if I have attended an event or meeting for a particular purpose, I do not want to be gathered up in an assumptive practice that feeds the religious beliefs of someone else. I consider that assumption the hallmark of intolerance and arrogance, and like Kelly have little time for it.

      So, I echo Kelly Ellis:
      Bollocks. Stop trying to sell your snake oil. Pray in your own time.

    • We all how what the Greg Cs of this world would squeal if equal prayer time was demanded by Satanists, Muslims, Pastafarians etc.

      Practise your religious rituals and hand waving in Churches and Temples, keep it out of schools, civic venues and civic functions.

      Doing away with the anachronism of Parliamentary prayers is also well overdue.

          • You mean like…’you should marry two same sex people even though it contravenes your sincere convictions’?

        • I’m unfamiliar with the text of the oath but should it mention supernatural spirits, god or gods or leprechauns and goblins then yes, such references should be excised.

          • They can’t be effectively excised without being renounced by the people who made them. Also, you can’t remove oaths from the law of the land. They tried to already, but it just makes them look like total plonkers when they’ve got to try to redefine the language in order for their dogma to make any kind of sense.

            • There is nothing magic about oaths.

              They are simply a promise. Contrary to Bronze Age and medieval thinking there is no magic man in the sky ready to strike dead those who renounce an oath.

              Parliament is sovereign.

              Oaths can be reworded for future candidates without requiring those who have pledged differently in the past to renounce anything.

              In addition, oath takers can be released from oaths by the authority of those to whom the oath was made, i.e. parliament, Sovereign etc.

          • Hang on a minute there now- leave the leprechauns out of it.You’re blurring the line between irrational belief structures and what is actually real.
            And leprechauns are real, just like Santa is.

    • I think you missed a big point in Kelly’s post. That one minute triggered memories of torture.

      Do you think its okay for people to indulge in their own personal beliefs at the expense of others? Because thats what you’re saying here.

      No one is stopping Christians from praying. What the rest of us are requesting is that Christians stop trying to include all in their prayers, making us all wait while they pray loudly, expecting us all to wait.

      I too was bought up Catholic, although I did not have the horrific experiences that Kelly had. Every bloody time I’m told (not asked, I’m told) to bow my head in prayer, I find it rude and annoying. There is an assumption that those who want to pray are the majority and that those of us who don’t are wrong. And it wastes time. Every time a nasty taste is left in my mouth that I have just been forced to be a part of something which I think is a complete total waste of time and bollocks.

      Ugh. I do wish religious people, of all religions, would keep their beliefs private.

  16. ”Among the rebels are atheists, Sikhs, Buddhists, Muslims and, no doubt, other Antichrists like me. We all know the misery that has been inflicted in this Christian god’s name”.
    As opposed to benign non-racist, non-sexist, non-imperialist religions like Islam , I presume? Can’t imagine what good it does to publish this unbalanced over-heated diatribe against Christianity ( and I’m not a Christian btw ). If winning elections is about winning friends and influencing people, it’s not hard to see ( going by this piece) why Labour is such a dismal failure at it.

  17. Like Kelly Ellis, I’m also a staunch atheist (I’ve never even had the slightest inclination to believe in any mythical being), but these days as a bit of an old geezer I never bother rubbing people’s faces in my non-belief (this post excepted). Whatever makes you happy, is fine by me – but as Kelly says, don’t bother trying to sell your beliefs to me.
    I remember in primary school I asked our class religious instruction “teacher” why an “all-loving” God would allow the mass starvation of children in Africa. His reply (and I’m not kidding) was “they don’t pray as hard as you do”.
    I once asked a friend of mine “is it actually possible to go against God’s Plan?” Needless to say, his answer was a very definite “No”. The mental gymnastics involved in explaining this answer, however, was most revealing.

  18. It is interesting,…that when I practiced Ken-do (sportified version of Ken-jitsu- which was the original Samurai sword/grappling /killing techniques of the Samurai ) And taught the black belts there about Kampfringen techniques (German combat wrestling -14th century-using longsword and wrestling)…..that there was a meeting of the minds…East meets West as the cliche goes…

    Also partaking in Ninjutsu…a Chinese systems of techniques exported to Japan that became the bain of the Samurai….the teaching and philosophy was second to none…however….

    There is no difference between modern day Navy Seals, SAS,or British commandos with Viking Ulfhednar , Shinobi besides technology …the strategies remain the same.

    That in all of this?….even Myamoto Mushasi – as well as the German European Feitch Miesters all arrived at the same conclusion…when they had ‘retired’…the taking of human life ?,…the senseless brutality?….had missed the mark….

    They were left with the conviction….to value others lives, to accept others points of view, to have compassion, to respect your opponents ,in battle and in peace, to be TOLERANT , to be empathetic,….in short , to renounce violence …

    To realise that all people make mistakes, ALL cultures have their shortcomings ,- and if in this life ,- to be reconciled to this fact…it needs an element of FORGIVENESS

    Essentially ,…you can forget the Bushido code , you can forget the Chivalry code of Europe….mere man-made constructs…

    And perhaps if you can see it…..Jesus Christ could be placed as the greatest warrior that ever lived. And how did he do it?….not through violent action ,- but through FORGIVENESS.

    • Okay- let’s concede that in some sort of “men who stared at goats’ hippy mumbo jumbo distortion of reality- that in fact Jesus was a ‘warrior’.

      Fine- but he still chose not to eradicate bacteria- which he could have easily done by telling people at the time to wash their hands carefully, and boil their water- he chose instead the Pokemon powers of producing magic fish from a bread basket, and curing a few lepers…. he could have cured humanity of all of the great diseases – but he left science to do that, at the cost of a few hundred million children’s lives (some fucking shepherd he was!).

      And you forget the obvious thing about Jesus- God doesn’t exist- so everything he is said to have said is based on a bullshit lie he made up because his uncle Joseph screwed his mother when she about 14, and they had to all get of town before Mary’s dad threw battery acid in her face.

  19. jeez Kelly has sure prodded the snake pit with this contribution!
    the writhing and illogic of the inhabitants is quite astounding for someone who rarely ventures into those places

  20. As a lawyer you should be more familiar than most with the NZ Bill of Rights Act:

    14 Freedom of expression
    Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.

    15 Manifestation of religion and belief
    Every person has the right to manifest that person’s religion or belief in worship, observance, practice, or teaching, either individually or in community with others, and either in public or in private.

    You say that people doing this should check their privilege. But what they’re doing is not a privilege. It’s a right. Now I agree that state-sponsored activities – public education and the administration of government – should favour no religion. But a political party is not an agent of the state. What sanction are you calling for against those who invoke a prayer or a karakia?

      • I think the point of the comment was to ask why you weren’t more familiar with the law? Seems reasonable to me.

        • Flattered as I am by your continued attention Nehemia, you don’t understand a simple message such as “Don’t sell your Christian snake oil at secular meetings.” You can argue till you’re blue in the face, but it’s still snake oil you’re trying to sell here.

          • Oh I understand that message. Just as I understand that you appear not to be aware of the fundamental right to freedom of religion. No-one made you pray. No-one made you attend the meeting. Just as no-one makes me attend the Dawn Parade every Anzac Day when a pray is given. My view in reading through your responses is you’ve simply misread most of what is being said to you.

            • Nehemia, there is no fundamental right to stop proceedings for prayer at a private secular event. That’s what I’m talking about. If you can’t understand that, go and write a blog about it and have it published by someone who’s interested. Otherwise, take you Christian snake oil and sell it elsewhere.

  21. We should remember that Christianity is not the church, it is trying to follow the motives and ideals of Jesus Christ, and in a sense Jesus was the ultimate socialist. He stood for equality, fairness, justice, mercy and compassion. He believed that the poor, dispossessed and true righteous people had more claim to be in the kingdom of God than the rich and the self-righteous. That would immediately exclude the many millionaire American self-styled evangelists that grace our TV screens every morning.
    The church is an institution, a means of regulating the worship of Jesus and as such has been defined by people as what they think it should be for them, rather than what Jesus thinks it should be. Jesus wasn’t concerned about where and how you gave praise to God, that wasn’t important to him, what was important was that it was in your heart. You can hate the church, but don’t hate what Jesus wanted for the world, he wanted what a lot of us still want and we should always strive to do it, even if we hate the churches that exist and pertain to be in his honour.

  22. Although I was not baptised a catholic I can’t help feeling some admiration for the new pope Francis I. He does not seek to cover up sexual abuse within the church and seems to truly want to reform the less pleasant aspects of the organization. Hope he succeeds.

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