Bringing National To Its Knees.

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WHAT IS WRONG with the picture of Judith Collins at prayer? In her maiden speech to Parliament, Collins testified to her belief in God. Presumably, then, her Christian faith is a longstanding facet of her political persona. Why should anyone take exception to the images of her kneeling in prayer.

There are many reasons for New Zealanders to furrow their brows at these images.

First and foremost, as any reasonably well-educated Christian knows, such public displays of piety are frowned upon by Jesus himself. It took an old-fashioned Sunday school graduate like Winston Peters only a few moments to locate the relevant verses from the sixth chapter of Matthew’s gospel:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.”

It is curious that Judith Collins appears to be unfamiliar with these verses since they precede what is, arguably, the most quoted passage from the New Testament – The Lord’s Prayer. Certainly, a Christian more familiar with Jesus’s teachings would have hesitated to pray in circumstances where her actions would, inevitably, be captured by the news media and broadcast across the entire country. Does praying alone in an empty chapel while the cameras rolled constitute going into your room and closing the door? Or, is it more akin to praying on the street corners to be seen by others?

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Even those New Zealanders whose feet have never crossed the threshold of a church or a Sunday school would likely have reacted uneasily to Collin’s display. In part this is a reflection of New Zealand society’s rapidly increasing secularisation. In the 2018 Census, only 37 percent of the population were prepared to declare themselves Christian. Forty years ago, by way of contrast, the fraction of New Zealanders declaring themselves Christian was well in excess of two-thirds. The unavoidable conclusion? That the overt expression of religious belief is fast becoming unusual in New Zealand. Judith Collins praying in the pose of an altar-panel saint looked odd because it was odd.

For political secularists, Collins behaviour is especially objectionable. It has long been a central tenet of New Zealand’s democratic political system that Church and State remain strictly separated. As far back as Nineteenth Century, this principle was reflected in New Zealand legislation. The Education Act of 1877 clearly stipulated that the provision of public education in New Zealand was to be “free, compulsory and secular”.

The only period in New Zealand political history when a citizen’s membership of a specific Christian denomination became an excuse for something pretty closely resembling persecution was during, and immediately after, the First World War. New Zealand’s wartime government was dominated by the right-wing Reform Party leader and Prime Minister, Bill Massey. A member of the rabidly Protestant Orange Order, Massey regarded New Zealand Catholics as both a religious and political threat.

Massey’s bigotry found strong institutional support in the Protestant Political Association. Formed in 1919, the PPA worked hand-in-glove with the Reform Party to maintain the ascendancy of Protestantism in New Zealand. They were especially concerned to block the rise of the NZ Labour Party. Formed in 1916, Labour was strongly supported by New Zealand’s large Irish-Catholic community.

The most notorious instance of religious bigotry in this fractious period of New Zealand history came in 1922 when the Catholic Assistant-Bishop of Auckland, James Liston, was put on trial for sedition for recalling in a speech he delivered on St Patrick’s Day the Irish patriots who fell in the 1916 Easter Rising. The all Protestant jury acquitted him, but could not refrain from noting that Liston had committed “a grave indiscretion”.

On the Left, the vexed question of how to integrate Catholic schools into New Zealand’s secular public education system remained a cause of considerable contention right up until the early 1970s. It was in hopes of bringing this contentious issue to a favourable conclusion that the quasi-official Catholic newspaper “The Tablet” came out openly for the Labour Party in the general election of 1972. The reconciliation effected between Catholics and socialist secularists by the creation of “Integrated Schools” was, however, short-lived. The rise of feminism and the ongoing campaign for a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion pretty much sundered orthodox Catholicism from the secular labour movement.

The success of the so-called “new social movements” – most especially in relation to their expansion of women’s and LGBTQ+ rights – threw the principle of Church/State separation into particularly sharp relief. Increasingly, Christianity retreated into the theology of evangelical fundamentalism, or, in the case of the Catholic Church, rigid doctrinal orthodoxy. Liberal Christianity was in full retreat as the principal protestant denominations turned their faces from the agitation for the creation of gay and lesbian ministers and the right of LGBTQ+ Christians to marry.

For conservative Christians, the willingness of the secular state to legislate over the objections of the churches, had made it necessary for the churches to take control of the state. The most obvious means of securing such control is to increase the influence of conservative Christian morality in the parties of the Right. If conservative parties could be made beholden to conservative Christian voters, then, upon taking office, their legislators could re-enshrine the moral certainties the secularists have so wickedly overturned.

Thanks to groups like the Maxim Institute, this seeding of the socially-conservative Right with Christian candidates has been proceeding steadily for some time. Maxim’s chosen vessel, the NZ National Party, has, for more than fifteen years, been choosing evangelical fundamentalist Christians to represent the party in safe seats. This has progressed to the point where Christian support, if not already crucial to the success of an aspiring leader, is fast becoming so. The recent departure of so many of National’s liberal MPs, and the projected loss of still more in the general election already underway, seems certain to strengthen the influence of National’s Christian Right.

Adding to the internal pressures applied by National’s own Christian MPs, is the rise of the even more conservative New Conservative Party. With the latter rumoured to be stripping thousands of Christian votes away from National, is it any wonder Judith Collins fell to her knees in the chapel and began an earnest conversation with God!

84 COMMENTS

    • Reminds me of the Groucho Marx quote so readily applicable to politicians like Collins.
      “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.”

      Her hypocrisy will only harvest a handful of votes.
      And those will be from folks like those Talkback radio listeners who are more easily swayed than a Len Lye sculpture in a hurricane.

  1. It’s amusing to see the left recoil like Count Dracula from a crucifix when they encounter any demonstration of faith. For them, the monolithic State with its infinite taxpayer funded bounty and love has long replaced any notion of a supreme being and is the only legitimate object of worship. There is a difference between secular (i.e. a separation) and atheist (i.e. an absence) and Judith is underlining the difference between her values and those of her opponent who lacks her convictions and instead panders to the false gods of others.

    • @ fredonas.
      You write.
      It’s amusing to see the left ( Are you meaning the old Left/Right political narrative? There’s never been such a thing. It’s simply human, human beings versus inhuman human beings. One species worships money above all else while pay faux homage to what the in-humans hope is an invisible wizard flying around a large empty room helping them commit unspeakable crimes in the wizards name and usually it’s to take the lands and monies off others and murder them in the process. So win-win for the in-humans. Fun AND profit.) recoil like Count Dracula from a crucifix when they encounter any demonstration of faith. ( What? You mean like the blind faith no matter the evidence to the contrary that could see collins get back in? ) For them, the monolithic State with its infinite taxpayer funded bounty and love has long replaced any notion of a supreme being ( Yep. I’m happy with that if when we pay, as you put it, infinite taxes in and then it comes back to us, who pay the taxes, and not some billionaire wanker with God on his side to tell them how to fuck us on the deal.? … and is the only legitimate object of worship.( You clearly haven’t seen my gorgeous partner then.) There is a difference between secular (i.e. a separation) and atheist (i.e. an absence) and Judith is underlining the difference between her values and those of her opponent who lacks her convictions and instead panders to the false gods of others. ( judith is a vicious shallow liar and would eat children if the hypocrite thought it’d get her sweat deals with her Chinese mates. The only thing I can say with regard to big jude down on her pudgy stumps in a hall of bull shittery is that she’s the very best example I’ve seen yet to prove there is no God because she not yet been vaporised by a bolt of lightening. However, I will say on that matter; I live in hope. I’ll give you that one.

      • Are your objections against organised religion or capitalism? As Judith is not a minister of the church, I’ll assume the latter. Here is a glossary for those playing along at home:
        “human human beings” = chardonnay socialists who are generous with other people’s money
        “inhuman human beings” = a sociopathic projection by someone with a victim mentality
        “unspeakable crimes” = good governance, running a profitable business
        “blind faith” = distrust of polls slanted towards people who have the time and inclination to answer polls
        “infinite taxes in and then it comes back to us” = hyperbolic exaggeration and ignorance of taxation as a public good
        “vicious shallow liar” = a straight talker unburdened by unproductive ideology who says things I’d rather not hear
        “I live in hope” = I revel in the anticipation of suffering and misery of other, more successful people.
        Get well soon.

        • For something to be possible it implies no contradiction. What I mean by that is if the distinction is just that we have a creator that creates a thing or something.

          So I think that your glossary can be coherent because I’m not accepting that there is a being that is the creator but I am accepting that your explanation is coherent.

          So I don’t think that “organised religion” caused ‘capitalism’ and I don’t think capitalism caused organised religion. I’m not trying to be pedantic, I just don’t hold the belief there is or isn’t a god so I’m agnostic. But I’d probably have to disagree with your view of organised religion and capitalism.

          However, I remain open to the idea that I can be persuaded. Instead of having some creator clicking his fingers and giving National the victory can you substantiate that in another way?

          This might just be my lack of knowledge about the dark lexicon of glossaries I just think there is a lack of god revealing himself is questionable.

        • There are many on the left who espouse religious views and who do not recoil from demonstrations of faith. Collins has no “values” other than totally selfish capitalism. Creating a photo op by “kneeling in prayer” in a church is sick making. She is an absolute hypocrite.

    • So are you are saying is that your false god is better than other false gods?

      If your son is disobedient, gather up your neighbours and stone him to death.

      Stone to death any woman who wears garments of different fabrics.

      You can beat your own slave to death but you must not beat another man’s slave to death.

      Of course many Christians would say that’s Old Testament stuff and no longer applies.

      Unfortunately, if you ACTUALLY READ THE BIBLE you will find that the various authors couldn’t even agree about the life story of Christ in the New Testament.

      Hmm?

      The interesting thing about so many so-called Christians is that they are so far up Mammon’s arse you can barely see the soles of their feet.

      • I’m a lapsed atheist so I suggest that biblical texts (from any religion) at their best are a useful collection of myths to guide and use as a reference point but the reader also needs to have their own moral compass to navigate their way though life.

        • I am interested to know what a ‘lapsed atheist’ is. The term suggests someone who believed there is no god but then lapsed into believing there is one.

          So good to hear you believe biblical texts are not literal and merely offer guides as to how to live.

          Having one’s own moral compass opens p the can pf worms of whether morals are intrinsic or learned.

          Clearly all the phony rituals of religions are learned, having be created by humans long ago.

          • I use the term to mean someone who tended to avoid religion in favour of applied science but now can appreciate it as literature without any dogmatic belief attached.

            • Not all knowledge is scientific. The fact that we can have a brian is scientifically accepted but the knowledge in each of our brains isn’t scientific. We don’t need to know each person’s world view to know science.

            • Ah, if you are an advocate of applied science, then you too must find it dismal to witness the ongoing anti-scientific dogmas of mainstream political parties.

              • Only the current insanely irrational vaping legislation that I hope gets repealed by a National / ACT coalition government. Plastic bags and Chinese virus precautions I mostly agree with and can work within the limits.

                • Friends, this is why I do this when some religious presupposition stick and they start talking about political parties and government policy then go immediately to Jesus. And every Christian out there reading closely when some religious presuppositional stick refuses to talk about Jesus – that should be a red flag to every Christian out there reading because that is a dis against Jesus, in front of an agnostic. So fedonas wants to talk about Jesus later because the fendona wants to talk about presuppositions first. The problem with presuppositional sticks and religion is they don’t even care about Jesus they just want to get there presuppositions out there first – they only care about preaching and condemning and that isn’t free speech at all. Have a nice day.

        • fredonas
          No religion ever created morality as morality is the agreed culture within any group of animals.
          So the belief systems that make claim to inventing the accepted morality within a society, are telling fibs and may be cast into eternal darkness or some other prescribed punishment such as loosing leadership of a party after an election, even though the party specialises in lying and cheating fellow travelers.
          jonkey specialised in lies and deception so he may have to watch out for the old testament should there ever be an enforcer casting the first stone. A devout man no doubt who steers clear of quarries.

      • Afewknowthetruth truth. Considering the lapsed time from the supposed death of Jesus the Galilean, to the writing of the four gospels which were included in the New Testament, there’s a reasonable amount of unanimity.

        It is erroneous to say that the authors “couldn’t even agree.”

        They wrote at different times, in different places, and, I might add, for different purposes, and to suggest that they disagreed is plain wrong. Minutes, hours, days weeks after witnessing an incident, police witnesses may give differing honestly-held eyewitness accounts. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John’s recollections do not reflect disagreement, but different recall of time past, different memories.

        (Some families advocate keeping minutes of the extended whanau Christmas dinner.)

        The writings in the religions of the book, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, contain what some may regard as eternal truths, more wisdom than any political party manifesto, and teachings applicable to the times at which they were written.

        Anybody selectively selecting bits and pieces and throwing them around as weapons in the 21stC Antipodes, is being unrealistic; the good, the bad and the ugly come in all shapes and sizes, are not confined to Christianity, and some Christians are okay sort of people – just like the odd Scot is. (Oops.)

        • Upon reflection there is an assumption that there was a Mathew, Mark, Luke and John or if there were writings from whoever, that they were not edited / arranged or organised for a purpose by the process of producing the narrative some centuries after the proposed events and later initial alleged writings.

          The assumption are taken by many as a matter of faith which is a dangerous path if you are hinging your beliefs on such tenuous alleged documents.
          Confirmation bias allows gigantic leaps into immersion of entrenched belief from which your very self concept can become entrapped.

          Question everything for the sake of your mental health.

          Who did well out of this new religion has to be asked and the documents described need some forensic verification even if that means substantiating doubt.

          I never believe a car salesman.

    • The bit that I have trouble with is that if there is a god then how does that get to a National Party victory over The Labour Party at any time being true. Said in another way if you want to run through your reasoning and isolate something that I’m not able to justify then I’d be fine with that.

    • I very much doubt, FTT, that the above would fall foul of any law forbidding discrimination based upon religious belief. If, as I took the comments of the Prime Minister on religious hate speech to mean, any new law would be modelled on the provisions of the Race Relations Act, then only speech intended to inflame dangerous and discriminatory DEEDS would be deemed unlawful. A polite discussion of the history of church/state relations and religiously-driven politics in NZ hardly qualifies!

      You should be reassured that the NZ courts have already set a very high bar in this regard. They are loath to find in any way that might be construed as imposing unreasonable restrictions on the citizens’ right to free expression.

      I think you’ll find that history lessons are okay.

      • I have read the debates running up to the Education Act 1877 as a part of academic studies years ago. The arguments proffered by mainly leaders or lay preachers of various churches centered around what should be taught.
        No agreement could be reached even after protracted side discussion between parties.
        So the edicts of religion (mainly Christian) could not be agreed upon nor could various aspects of history linked to religious events.
        The devout gentlemen debating the Education act which was to unify funding for all schools in the colony, just did not want anyone having a right to teach their children a different belief version to what they as parents held.

        To prevent that they finally agreed that education should be secular and no religious content be permitted.

        That outcome was a profound and unifying result for future generations who could be educated together without the division created by religion.

        “We don’t know how lucky we are”

  2. It is a publicity shot showing the desperation of Judith Collins as she sees the election slipping away from National.
    Religion is the last refuge of rogues.
    Any true Christian will not be fooled.
    But there are some weekend Christians who might be.

    • At least she didn’t clear protestors with tear gas and riot shield charges, to walk across the road and hold the bible upside down like Trump did. No way Judith was going to be that stupid.

      She did away with the bible altogether, which was a real Revelation.

      And, was she praying for forgiveness after threatening Nicky Hager?
      http://kapitiindependentnews.net.nz/mandy-hager-deplores-veiled-death-threat-to-her-brother-by-judith-collins/?fbclid=IwAR21LLWxobgYEfPCKmApT8wLEEprQrkLKdbg1j51gIsDJgSrAMDz6ioB7EQ

      This ‘meet his maker’ unveiled threat, has shades of Jamal Khashoggi’s horrific death and the countless dictator-driven murders of journalists and political opponents.

      The image of the ‘Madonna’ Collins was both hypocritical and chilling, given the Mandy Hager article.

      • “At least she didn’t clear protestors with tear gas and riot shield charges, to walk across the road and hold the bible upside down like Trump did.”

        She didn’t have the power in hand nor opportunity. But Crusher could be capable of many things given opportunity nut going by past form they would not be for the good of “the common people”

        What dies her book say about extracting Fossil Kauri logs from wetlands illegally and using position and contacts to bypass export safeguards.
        A book is one thing but morality is much more a significant measure.

  3. Desperation pure and simple. The church just the latest straw to clutch. Any straw can be fodder but it always ends as manure.

    And hopefully the moment will be resurrected with ‘Didn’t have a prayer’ and ‘Not a hope in hell.’

  4. Jesus also said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name,” and made no mention of flying solo like Judith and Icarus. Refer to Auden’s “Musee de Beaux Arts,” as to how the populace going about their ordinary everyday business reacted to that.

    St. Paul said, “Faith without works is dead,” and there in lies my difficulty with Judith. To proclaim oneself a Christian, one should embody the message of the Sermon on the Mount, summed up as “ do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    The transcripts of Collins devious and vengeful emails in Nicky Hager’s meticulously researched “Dirty Politics,” suggest a woman at odds with the core message of Christianity. And at odds with many grown-up folks’ values.

    Christianity under siege is nothing new – go back to 1852, with Matthew Arnold standing melancholy on Dover Beach – and his answer, interestingly is similar to Ardern’s – let us be true to one another.

    The rise of militant Islam and it’s perceived threat, has polarised so called Christians, and it is in this particular context that Ardern’s response to
    the barbaric Christchurch massacres was so brilliant, and so healing.
    ‘But she wore a head scarf symbol of oppression etc etc etc.’ Deep breath.

    This is a time when being a secular country may stand us in good stead and Judith on her knees merely an interesting sort of spectacle.

    Unlike many politicians living buffeted lives, others who’ve found the impact of coronavirus hard, just want the election over and done with, and Judith left in peace to pray forever.

    I daresay the new $700,000 a year new Police Commissioner being a publicly committed Christian is part of this bigger picture, but would not regard him with the cynicism which I do Collins, and hopefully this is all part of life being circular, and the big boys knowing that their time has passed, Deo gratias. Or other.

    • The rise of militant Islam and it’s perceived threat, has polarised so called Christians, and it is in this particular context that Ardern’s response to the barbaric Christchurch massacres was so brilliant, and so healing.

      Snow White, Thank you so much for writing that. It is the clearest and sanest insight into our PM’s response at that time that I have read, anywhere. Also, her response was immediate and spontaneous. And, people around the entire planet responded in turn, in appreciation.

      People (mainly Nacts) keep parroting, “What has she done?”
      In some ways, she changed the world. And many people out there recognise this, and are truly thankful.

      • Kheala – Yep. The PM has a global awareness, maybe instinctive, likely from having been out and about working and living in the outside world, and we need that in this country which has slipped backwards into the cloying parochialism of the 1960’s – we started to change, then we regressed – dunno why.

        If she changed the wold, jolly good. The world witnessed Trump engaging in anti-Muslim poison – the good old USA having historically raped and pillaged Muslim countries, roping us in where it could.

        Our response to the horror of the massacres, was, ironically, a very Christian response. I commented at the time of the twin towers, that the best response from the USA, would have been to forgive the perpetrators, but it just afforded America another opportunity to bully, in its own interests, of course.

        Ardern rose above that and did show a breadth of vision which the global community needs and needed. She thought like a poet – the poets are often good at seeing truths- and the world took heed.

        Given that civilisation may be collapsing right now, this sort of visionary outlook is how the global community needs to be thinking – reducing everything to BAU, won’t work, and we owe our kids and planet earth the best shot we’ve got.

        Should have smashed all television sets decades ago, but it’s too late for that now too. Kia kaha.

        • I think Jacinda’s ww appeal is her normality. She does and says what the vast majority of humans think and feel. This is in stark contrast with most Politicians and leaders who are almost always more selfish and egotistical and lacking in humanity than ordinary people are. The drive to become the ruler and the need to compromise integrity to get through the political system usually weeds out people of ordinary decency. Judith is a much more typical example. But now, because of Andrew Little’s extrordinary perception. Note she did not push for thatposition herself.
          It strikes me as interesting that there is a parallel in Putin’s arrival in the position he occupies in Russia. He did not see himself in that role either. He was put there by his predecessor who while a drunken wastral himself did get one thing right.
          D J S

          • I think Jacinda’s ww appeal is her normality. She does and says what the vast majority of humans think and feel.

            And yet her simple, heartfelt spontaneous gesture attracted extraordinary anger and contempt, …from some on the ‘Left’ as much as from the ‘Right’.

            Shame on them.

        • Snow White
          “I commented at the time of the twin towers, that the best response from the USA, would have been to forgive the perpetrators,”

          They did take notice of you as they completely forgave the perpetrators and blamed an Arab in the caves of Afghanistan who denied any part or knowledge,

          The perpetrator were not Arabs in spite of the evidence less conspiracy theory promoted by Bush.

          So you have wide influence SW.

      • Generally I feel free to socialise or work with people from any professed belief system and give a degree of accommodation and sympathy for the restrictive limitation many choose to obey.
        I have found Humanists and many Buddhists to be open minded towards others but neither of those are religions with supernatural beings allegedly watching over them or demanding worship and usually money.

        Human values toward others vary as we see in the greedy and warmongers, but also the kindness, love and helpfulness afforded by others. Religion just doesn’t consistently feature in either group.

        Judith is branding herself as a hypocrite and liar.

  5. I read recently how the plagues that devastated the declining Roman Empire led to a rise in popularity of Christianity: the old gods were very much of the nature that it was up to the individual, and that compassion for others did not feature highly, if at all. The Christian groups practising what would be called socialism in present times had lower death rates and to some extent thrived, attracting more followers.

    https://theconversation.com/how-3-prior-pandemics-triggered-massive-societal-shifts-146467

    So isn’t it terribly ironic that Judith Collins, as head of the National Party, dedicated to individualism and dedicated to crushing socialism, should be publicly displayed pretending to be a Christian.

    Quoting George Carlin yet again: “It’s all bullshit. And it’s bad for you.”

    • Afewknowthetruth – The rise of Christianity in Rome was largely due to the Emperor Constantine proclaiming it the state religion, after he saw a vision – before going into battle, which I think he won. This was the start of the Holy Roman Empire – and Roman Catholicism.

      Collins may not be pretending to be anything.

      • The story goes that during the internecine fighting a group that had repeatedly lost painted Christian symbol on their shields. For whatever reason, they won the ensuing battle, and went on to attribute their success to the Christian symbols.

        Who knows if it is true?

        • Afewknowthetruth truth. It is all interesting – religion and mythology tell us a lot about ourselves.

          There are written historical accounts of most things which shaped the development of western civilisation . I think Constantine saw a vision of a cross – he himself was not a Christian at this stage, but he subsequently converted.Christians were a fringe group, and well tolerated. Don’t forget that Jesus’s mates were fishermen – one physician – a tent maker – not the merchant bankers or the rich and powerful.

          The power of the symbol Is a mighty one, even if psychological – hence Collins kneeling in a church. In last night’s debate Judith also wore a lower neckline, and showed more of her ample “maternal” bosom than the time before. She would probably have been advised to do this, and it’s a global politico no-no – not seen in NZ since Christine Rankin’s breast tops were glimpsed by the State Service’s Commissioner, TVNZ, and the hoi polloi.

          The Western politicalisation of religion harks right back to Jesus being seen as a local Jewish, but probably not Roman threat, and we’ve learnt little meantime.

      • Apple
        There is a body of forensic evidence to strongly support the gospels were written by Romans and neatly included aspects of the many religions held by Roman’s subject who were often in revolt.

        A neat way of binding them into subjugation and so successful that it became the wealthiest empire the world has known today.

        • John W. That’s interesting – I’ve got some writings which didn’t make it into the NT, including the gospel of historically wronged Mary Magdalene, Thomas, and other bits and pieces.

          Rome’s subjects were constantly in revolt, and Messiahs appeared fairly frequently, which is why Rome, or prob Pontius Pilate , wasn’t all that interested in Jesus initially.

          Off the top of my head, I’d be sceptical about the synoptic gospels et al being forged, because of the (a)different literary styles – in particular Thomas, which I remember as rather beautiful (b) contemporary evidence from Jewish/Roman historian, Josephus, and another bloke whose name I’ve forgotten (C) The work of the Jesus seminar of top academics, in identifying which sayings attributed to Jesus were actually likely to have been said by him (d) Plus I don’t think the Jews were much of a threat at all – they got crucified by the thousand, and suicided at Masada rather than surrender to the Romans (e) the Christians were no threat power-wise, and probably didn’t really come into their own until Constantine made it the state religion – some academics see Constantine as the founder of Christianity ( I don’t), but Jesus didn’t found it either; given he that was pretty explicit about rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s , and to God the things that are Gods, he was likely reasonably politically harmless, and it was the Roman Emperor himself, who empowered Christianity and whoops , itinerant preachers wandering like humble Buddhists, were part of the establishment …

  6. Thanks Chris. Enlightening article.
    Respectful too.
    Just like her policies, this outward show of look-at-me-I’m-a-Christian seems desperate and on the hoof.
    Please, God, let us keep Jacinda.

  7. IMO, Judith Collin’s posturing on her knees is almost nauseating. Her behaviour is akin to that of Hannah Tamaki & her (self-styled) “Bishop” husband, both of whom take money thrown on the floor of their church, when such monies should be sent back to Polynesian islands for the support of peoples’ families “back home” – not spent on an array of cars &/or rings for Hannah’s fingers.

    I used to call myself a Christian until ignorant young student nurses said I could not so describe myself because I “believed” in reincarnation. Stuff all religions! My spiritual life remains as important to me in my eighties as it was in my teens. The only “religion” I live by is: treat all other aspects of Life how I wish to be treated. Simple, but not easy.

    Read history: many wars through the years have been underlain by religion; a plague on each & every one of them – both the wars & the religions.

    • No receipts are issued for that money collected so IRD have nothing to go on.
      The givers also have no knowledge as to where the money goes.
      The same goes for many “churches” including the mormons who only admit to collecting $37milliom a year in NZ, mainly from poor families. They are told it will bring them good fortune granted by the almighty.

  8. Spot on Chris. Desperate to claw back support it is crystal clear what Judith (and the Natz think-tank) are up to. Piety is a winner, right? But here’s the rub. Historically, virtue, reverence and respect have been so entangled with deceit, aggression and economic exploitation that public displays of godliness – especially by politicians – are rendered almost meaningless to the uninitiated. But a powerful attraction to those who believe in public spectacles.

  9. On her knees:

    “Dear Lord, …. and may Melissa Lee and others in Caucus appreciate I’m prepared to treat them with total contempt and arrogance as I do all others.”

  10. Surely not a hypocritical politician?
    Say it ain’t so.

    Just as Arderns pious but anti feminist head scarf (not at all hypocritical) was about branding, Collins is sending a signal but for a different reason.

    In Collins case she is signaling to potential new conservative voters that National is still a god fearing option , just as some of her comments in the last debate seemed to be addressed not at new nat voters but at voters now in the ACT camp (modifying tranche 2 gun law).

    I take these signs to mean Collins knows the election is lost and she is targeting “core” one time nat voters to stay in the fold to preserve what she can for the Nats post election.

    • Keepcalmcarryon The suggestion that PM Ardern wore a headscarf when visiting a mosque was branding, is odious.

      It was common courtesy. Women police officers and various female officials also donned bead scarves as a mark of respect. It was all good.

      Then from the woodwork emerged the mice-minded squealing, “This is a feminist/anti-feminist issue.” It shouldn’t still be bothering people. It’s the same sort of political opportunism that the Green brown women did.
      It trivialises a terrible tragedy which must never be trivialised. Comparing it with Collins on her knees in a church, is absurd and obscene.

  11. ” Adding to the internal pressures applied by National’s own Christian MPs, is the rise of the even more conservative New Conservative Party. With the latter rumoured to be stripping thousands of Christian votes away from National, is it any wonder Judith Collins fell to her knees in the chapel and began an earnest conversation with God ”
    Chris i think the New Conservatives will do better than current polling suggests and this election will be an opportunity to grow their vote and they seem to be well funded. I have seen more advertising and billboards out there than most of the other small parties. There are a number of small splinter parties making a showing this time and they should consider hitching their wagons to the Conservatives. Even an accomodation with ACT in the future cannot be ruled out which would give them a strong voting block in a tightly configured parliament. I remember the christian coalition achieving around 4.3 % of the vote when the christian democrats and christian heritage joined forces. The christian vote has largely been hidden away by a dominant National party but not this time.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Coalition_(New_Zealand)#:~:text=The%20Christian%20Coalition%20was%20an,two%20theologically%20conservative%20

  12. If that image above wasn’t so gag worthy it’d be cringe worthy.
    Gagging while cringing while praying while on one’s knees beside collins is a predicament, no matter how guilty, anyone should find themselves within.
    Is that smoke coming off her eyebrows???
    Is funny though. All the jesus freaks will be scratching at the palms of their hands as they wriggle with delight.

  13. Cripes Trotter, I don’t have to be a militant secularist to be repelled by such as ostentatious display of “piety” for the cameras. Looks like a major faux pas by Collins.

    • It is not a major faux pas. It is just Collins being herself playing the game. On a cerebral level is there a lot to say about it? Yes. Is there a lot it says not just about Collins but the way the media operates? Yes.

      Will it impact by more than 10 actual votes across the country one way or the other?

      In a normal world, with normal rational people it should impact (even if for a second) by someone genuinely and soberLY having it occur, “What the fuck?” Any chance of that in Collins’ head?

  14. She falls to her knees to pray in deep contemplative reflection. This is puke material. I would have thought this would have been a deeply personal moment for her but no….she arranges for a media photographer to be there to take photographs up close and personal showing her profile, not a distant shot from the rear of the church so that she is not disturbed in her private moment.

    So hypocritical when she has spent the entire election campaign not praying but preaching to the converted – those self-entitled Nationalites who have never had to work a hard day in their lives; who have never experienced or seen true poverty and homelessness and who have not got the intellectual capacity to understand that Jacinda did not cause the COVID pandemic but has managed it magnificently which in turn has helped maintain the economy made fragile by the pandemic.

    • youngsuffrajet. Yes, there are tiresomely entitled dimwits throughout the Nats, but there are also some hard working folk like, for example, farmers, whose lives crush them, and then they sometimes top themselves.

      • Hey Applewood. Yes, you are right and I apologise if my comments are too flippant and upset you. I often argue in favour of the farmers when they are criticised because I know there are many farmers who work hard. I am also aware of the public comment about those who take their own lives. You might not believe it but I am a fan of Country Calendar which often shows those farmers who are working the land properly and caring for the environment. On a sad note I too have experienced suicide by someone very close to me. The shock never leaves you. Thank you for your sobering comment.

        • Mine was an insomnia comment ! But for the hard working farmers who actually believed in the Nats, one can only hope that they didn’t die aware of how much damage the Nats did to this country, and the countryside.

          The National Party attracts too many stupid people who don’t know how stupid they are and, as you say, the self- entitled, and I say plus the greedy, and the skin-crawlingly repulsive characters who have never served any useful purpose and belong in the pages of comics.

  15. Judith is the new Aunt Lydia–just look at the picture
    Post Election NZ would run the risk of been turned into a milder “Gilead” under a National/Act Govt
    ‘Ordinary’ is what you are used to. This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. It will become ordinary.

    — Aunt Lydia re-educating detained

  16. Ugh, just another example of the numerous pathetic gimmicks presented desperately for votes.

    Amazing what can be scraped from the bottom of the barrel.

  17. What I cannot stand is the replacement for the ‘Strong team’ nonsense when it became obvious there was no team, So now the Nats insult me with: ‘Your economy’.

    Well, excuse me but it is most definitely NOT my economy. it is THEIR economy…the looter aqnd polluters club, that is.

    And as for ‘Your Future’, well there won’t be one if National have their way. As it is, the future will be grim. But the Nats want to make it ghastly, and bring forward the termination of life [for everyone] stage of planetary meltdown.

    • The other outrageous proclamation by the NACTS is that they are better mangers of the economy when there is no evidence offered.
      Usually Natts end up with mounting debt that Labour manages to reduce.

      The latest civid19 debt adventure is entirely unnecessary but Neo lib Roberson has his instructions to tie us to that debt when that money can be generated without debt by a sovereign govt.

      Natts solution is to rob the superfund and probably the ACC nest egg and/ or sell off more public assets creating even more inequity as the investor market strips more out of family pockets.

  18. What this episode says most surprisingly and most clearly is a serious lack of political nous on Judith’s part.
    Irrespective of whether one believes in her piety or believes it was a stunt, the reaction of the electorate was predictable. However devout she is she should have known better than to allow this scene to be published.
    D J S

  19. Kia ora Chris
    You know the Bible, you know the fundamentals of Christian belief, and you know the history of social democracy, which is a good basis on which to start commenting on the relationship between church and state, or more broadly the spiritual and temporal realms.
    But you seem to think that we have moved on from the time, in the era to the end of the seventeenth century when religion was inseparable from politics (including the politics of class) or the following two centuries when religion and politics remained closely linked albeit notionally distinct. Well we have moved on, but the move has been one of degrees only, and the left continues to pay a price for its failure to understand or come to terms with the role of religion in society.
    Basically, social democracy (the Labour parties) grew out of the non-conformist churches and chapels (the Salvation Army was a particular influence in New Zealand) and in the antipodes managed to reach a modus vivendi with the Catholic church which allowed the working class Irish Catholic community to throw its weight behind the social democratic and labour movement.
    Elsewhere, in Europe for example, the left, particularly the Marxist left, adopted a staunchly anti-clerical and more pertinently anti-religious stand, which led to the catastrophe in Spain, the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy, and ultimately the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe.
    All this should have given the New Zealand left pause for thought, but it hasn’t. Like the Soviet Marxists, the left sees religion as its natural enemy, and that is the end of it. It has departed so far from its origins that it no longer comprehends that social democracy had its Genesis in the gospel, and will not endure without the tacit or active support of religious believers.
    I doubt that there is a single Christian who seriously thinks that either Donald Trump or Judith Collins are devout Christians. But many of them will still vote for the one who makes a show of respect for the faith, rather than for the people who make no secret of the fact that they want to see religion and all its values consigned to the dustbin of history.
    As in the United States, the electorate is faced with an invidious choice between the neo-liberal left and the pseudo-conservative right. I am strongly of the opinion that they should vote for neither, but among those who do vote I can see the logic of Christians who say “better those who pay lip service to Christianity than those who would have it destroyed”.

    • That “the left” sees religion as it’s natural enemy is untrue.

      What about the worker priests of France, Belgium and Italy ?

      What about Pope John Paul 11 ?

      What about the current pope ? Right wing git is he ? This week ?

      What about Liberation Theology ? Know about it’s incredible momentum in Sth America, Nth America and elsewhere ?

    • So called democracy was based on a privileged class voting for proposed rule by their favoured colleages. Women, slaves and lowly born were all excluded.
      Now with MSM dictating how the masses think, then voting has been extended to include women ( Switzerland as late as 1971) and those without land or of common birth and citizenship.

      In 1852 the New Zealand Constitution Act provided parliamentary franchise to European, Māori and half caste men who met the property ownership criteria which did not include communal ownership. The Māori Representation Act 1867 provided for the establishment of four Māori seats; only men could stand for these.
      it took the suffragette movement and the end of the nineteenth century to see women getting the vote in NZ.
      In 1919 the Women’s Parliamentary Rights Act gave women the right to stand for Parliament.
      Westminster democracy is very narrow and once voted into Parliament then voter restraint is removed. Powerful wealthy players can still control politicians and decisions made. Funding for parties can be transparent or hidden.

      Democracy in the workplace is a far better measure of social expression of responsibility, involvement and commitment to group intentions.
      Instead we have the old post fudal system of bosses and obedience or bonded workers as we now have in NZ.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workplace_democracy
      Several NZ companies have very successfully organised in this way. Tait electronics was well noted for its democratic operation.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondragon_Corporation
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rde3O50mTFk

      In Italy
      https://www.yesmagazine.org/economy/2016/07/05/the-italian-place-where-co-ops-drive-the-economy-and-most-people-are-members/

  20. Snow White and Kheala:
    Thank you for listing all those religious believers who devote their lives to serving the poor and oppressed of this world. The list could go on and on, and I could add to it the names of hundreds of individuals and dozens of movements, organizations and groups.
    But did the Marxists, for example, recognize those with faith in God as allies in the struggle for justice in the earth? They did not. They tried, unsuccessfully, to exterminate religion within their jurisdiction. And in a sense they were right to see believers as their natural enemy, because while the Marxists, like the social democratic Labour movement in the west, abandoned the poor to embrace neo-liberalism and the capitalist kleptocracy, the faithful have remained true to God’s word and continue to serve the oppressed of the world in His name.
    Under Covid-19 lock down the government allowed 100 people to be simultaneously present in a public bar but only 10 in a church. There were no clinical reasons for that distinction. It was quite simply an expression of the government’s values, and it was not lost on believers. The colonial regime puts Mammon before God every time.
    Most Christians and those of other faiths are opposed to the widespread use of drugs in New Zealand to combat the ugly reality of life under the colonial regime, and they also oppose to euthanasia, abortion and other ways of taking life without cause or justice.
    The secular left takes a different position, as it is entitled to do, but should it couch its arguments in the derisive, abusive and frankly ignorant language used by leftist ideologues like Martyn Bradbury? Only if you want to push more Christians, Muslims and others into the arms of the political right.
    Martyn might think that religion is destined for oblivion. That is what the Soviets believed. They were wrong. It was the Soviet Union that collapsed, not Christianity. Next will be the collapse of the left’s neo-liberal project, and the capitalist kleptocracy which it has generated.
    And it is Ihoa o nga mano, not Judith Collins or Jacinda Ardern, not the right or the left of politics, who will lead our people to liberation from the bondage of colonialism and capitalism.

    • It was not religion that collapsed the USSR.

      I well remember Russian work mates of my father coming home and discussing the revolution .
      The Tsar taxed the people and enforced that with rigorous punishment. Then the poor families had to give to the church who had a powerful grip on small communities.
      Between the Tsar and the church the people developed a healthy hatred of both which was strongly expressed in the post revolution ethos. The ruling families of the Tsar strongly aligned with the church so separation was not experienced by the people in revolt.

  21. And the wheel goes the full circle with Judith pictured on her knees before what appears to be a statue of a golden eagle sitting on top of a globe. Odd sort of object for an Anglican chapel.

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