MUST READ: The Fellowship Of The Upper Room

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THE FIRST QUESTION: “Is the ‘Upper Room’ a church? Strictly speaking, the answer is ‘No’. It is certainly a place of evangelical Christian fellowship, but if by ‘church’ you mean a dedicated house of worship, with a steeple, stained-glass windows, wooden pews and an ornately carved pulpit, then, no, the Upper Room is not a church. So, Christopher Luxon didn’t lie to RNZ’s Suzie Fergusson on Wednesday morning (1/12/21) when he said he hadn’t been in a church for five years.

Where I come from, however, we would call Luxon’s answer “Jesuitical” – meaning “practicing casuistry or equivocation; using subtle or oversubtle reasoning; crafty; sly; intriguing”. Why? Well just think about Luxon’s answer for a moment or two. Five years ago, Luxon’s political career was just a gleam in Prime Minister John Key’s eye. He was still at the helm of Air NZ, still earning more than $4 million per annum, and, almost certainly, still a key participant in the Fellowship of the Upper Room.

Why not admit frankly to his membership of the Upper Room? What is it about this Fellowship that prompts Luxon and his advisers to make as little of it as possible? The answer lies in the information unearthed by the sort of journalists who know where to go looking on the Internet for linkages between evangelical Christian fellowships and ambitious right-wing politicians. What those searches revealed was an Upper Room pastor of decidedly Trumpian sympathies, whose political views appeared to match those of the American Christian Right. Unsurprisingly, Luxon has done his utmost to put these “interesting” associations as far behind him as possible.

Indeed, his embarrassment is evident in the way he attempts to dissuade journalists from examining his Christian beliefs too closely. He told his first media conference as Leader of the Opposition that his faith had been “misrepresented and portrayed very negatively”. That personal faith, he declared was something that “has grounded me and put me into [a] context that is bigger than myself.” Anticipating the assembled journalists’ next question, he went on to clearly affirm his belief in the “separation of politics and faith”.

Now this is a rather peculiar formulation. Most people who had given the question serious thought would have used the more familiar formulation: the separation of Church and State. There are many sound historical and philosophical reasons for keeping the spiritual and temporal powers in their proper places. Theocracies are not comfortable places in which to live.

Jesus himself famously responded to the daunting challenges of power and piety with his wonderfully (and typically) enigmatic: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

But keeping “faith” and “politics” separate? Well, that’s a very different matter. Many would argue that no Christian worthy of the name would ever attempt to do such a thing. Was Jesus keeping faith and politics separate when he scourged the money-changers and overturned their tables? When he cried out: “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!” Was the Galilean carpenter keeping politics on the down-low when he told his followers: “[I]t is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” (One can only speculate about how easy entering Heaven might be for the owner of seven houses!)

What kind of Christian would attempt to persuade his brothers and sisters that the moral imperatives of their faith must not, under any circumstances, be given practical expression in the flesh-and-blood world they inhabit? If the Almighty commands: “Thou shalt not kill.” Then, is it not incumbent upon a Christian legislator to make laws forbidding murder and manslaughter? (And Abortion?) To suggest, as Luxon does, that faith and politics can – and should – be separated, admits but one of two possible conclusions. Either he does not understand the obligations of a Christian. Or, he isn’t one.

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Then again, it is possible that he is the sort of Christian that gave us the word I used earlier, “Jesuitical”.

The “Society of Jesus” – The Jesuits – were formed in 1540 to combat the “error” of Protestantism at a time when the Catholic Church and the followers of Martin Luther and his theological reformers were locked in mortal combat for the soul of Christendom. In the bitter religious and military conflicts arising out of the Catholic “Counter-Reformation”, the Jesuit Order became the equivalent of the Pope’s Navy SEALs – an elite ideological force in the defence of the one true faith. As is the case with so many elite units, the ends of the Jesuits’ spiritual combat missions were deemed sufficiently important to justify all manner of means.

Fast-forward to the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries, and Christianity is still a religion bitterly divided between those caught up in the struggle to determine what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God; and those who, heretically, have come to regard the purposes of God and the purposes of Caesar as one and the same.

The former see God’s marching-orders in Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount: and in God’s preferential option for the poor. The latter believe that God exercises his authority through those he chooses to lead a lost and the sinful world. Crucially, these need not be good men. Was the murderer and adulterer, King David, a good man? God loved him, nevertheless. All that matters is that such men rise to positions from which the will of God can be made manifest. The American Christian Right understood immediately that Donald Trump wasn’t a good man. But, they believed with all their heart that he was God’s man.

Which of these two groups does Christopher Luxon belong to?

As the Taxpayers Union was quick to point out, a man who took a $4 million pay-cut to enter Parliament was clearly not doing it for the money! Interviewed on camera by Stuff, just hours after becoming the National Party’s new leader, Luxon traces his interest in politics to reading a biography of Winston Churchill – a man who, from an early age, was convinced that God had a special purpose for him. The biographies of “great men” have shaped Luxon’s understanding of both business and politics. If the Taxpayers Union is right, and he’s not in Parliament for the money, then why is he there? For the power?

Luxon insists that his goal is to restore National to the paths of moderation. If true, then we must wish him well. But I can’t help recalling his difficulty in responding to Suzie Fergusson’s questions about his faith. To be an evangelical Christian is to be a proud proclaimer of Christ’s “good news” to “all the nations”. No Christian politician should ever be tongue-tied when challenged to declare his mission. Jesus’s “Order of the Day” has not changed in 2,000 years:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, love your neighbour as yourself.”

The only world worth fighting for politically, and the only world worth living in, is the world in which Caesar marches to the same order.

 

 

81 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you Chris, but we still need to know a hell of a lot more about Luxon. He needs to open up about it or ,quite frankly, he will be hounded ad infinitum, and rightly so.

    • Your points garibaldi, lead me to wonder why he was thrown into politics to become National leader after just over a year in politics, not even completing a term, in the first place. Not enough time for him to be sussed out by the population it seems to me.

      • John Key thinks Chris L has charm, charisma and ability similar to his own, and many Nats are desperate enough to believe him.

        • I never saw John Key as charming or charismatic. And I still ponder what dirty dark secret it is that forced him to resign.
          As for Mr Luxon, the Mr Potato Head doll he so astonishingly resembles is far more charismatic.

  2. This column is a good start to analysing NZ National’s new leader. These are important questions for those that can practice a little at least, of a nuanced position. Simplistic labelling of Mr Luxon as a “sky pilot” or “religious nutter” will not suffice in understanding where his creepy right wing plans emanate from.

    His Upper Room involvement should be investigated and explained as much as possible to voters in my view. He seems the sneaky type suited to Opus Dei, the personal prelature within the Roman Catholic organisation.

    Perhaps secular people and younger new gen voters in particular, will assess him on his policies and actions rather than his world view and organisational associations. The distinctions that Chris illuminates are indeed how the fornicator, usurer, and mob associate Trump came to gain the allegiance and support of the US Christian Right. Not so many of that lot in NZ fortunately.

    But nonetheless Mr Luxon is an enemy of the working class. The seven property owner says he does not want property values to fall dramatically–surprise, sur–fucking-prise! He talked about property in the abstract as such people do–just another transaction. He did not say everyone has a right to shelter, and that he would be making that happen forthwith–as a social justice Christian might be expected to.

  3. Jesus said:
    “And so I tell you, keep on asking for moderation, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking moderation, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door to moderation will be opened to you. For everyone who asks for moderation, receives. Everyone who seeks moderation, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

  4. One wonders if Luxton was a Muslim, would the left be so meticulous in examining his faith? And why didn’t anyone question Ardern’s Mormon faith?

    • Because hypocrisy. Ironic that many on the left demonize faith yet willfully welcome all those votes from the heavily religious in South Auckland.

    • Don’t be silly, Andrew. Yes, we Lefties would question someone’s Muslim faith, especially if it looked like being somewhat ‘evangelical’ – ie, fundamentalist. And for heaven’s sake, Jacinda Ardern clearly stated that she had parted ways with her earlier Mormon faith. Do you specialise in dumb questions?

    • Ardern has no particular faith. Any way the wind blows on any given day. Cover your butt from all angles. Sit on the fence at all times. The hallmark of the professional politician. So she can’t be questioned and doesn’t have to answer personal questions.

    • @ Andrew … Ardern was raised a Morman as a child, but left when she found the religion was incompatible with her personal beliefs eg gay friends etc.

      Muslims don’t deny, or fudge around their religion.

      As a leader of a political party, Luxon needs to open up about his faith, because the electorate has a right to know where he is coming from. He used to be Catholic.

    • “And why didn’t anyone question Ardern’s Mormon faith?”

      They’ve been there, done that, and they’ve got the T-shirt, do keep up.

    • In my opinion, anyone who has even slightly extreme religious views of any denomination, shouldn’t be permitted to enter politics because of the possible of those people behaving badly when in a position of having power over others.

  5. He is two-faced like so many of his kind. It’s obviously that declaring one is an evangelical christian is not going to be popular with the middle voters. Right from the getgo we are seeing hypocrisy.

  6. I regard his response to Ferguson as a lie. He had all this clearly worked out in advance.

    So those who worshipped in the fields in Scotland didn’t go to church, yeah right.

  7. “Theocracies are not comfortable places in which to live.”

    Chris, when the Royal Society of NZ is putting two of its members on trial for the heresy of not being woke, we already live in a theocracy: https://pointofordernz.wordpress.com/2021/11/29/royal-society-of-nz-is-split-by-disciplinary-action-taken-against-prominent-professors-who-signed-letter-in-defence-of-science/

    As for Luxon, it’s a shame the left is obsessing over his religion. It’s his neoliberalism that’s the problem.

    • The problem I see with combining evangelism with political leadership is that those who can organise their mind to believe implicitly in the “faith” they evangelise have subjugated their reasoning powers to an unprovable .unknowable belief. And where decisions of major importance present a conflict between rationality and that faith, the faith must always prevail whatever the consequences. If neoliberalism can be fit into that faith there can never be any other philosophy.
      I don’t think anyone who’s faith directs their personal lives can ever be expected to act against it in public life. And the absolute self confidence that evangelical faith can endow someone with can eliminate pragmatism.
      D J S

      • “those who can organise their mind to believe implicitly in the “faith” they evangelise have subjugated their reasoning powers to an unprovable .unknowable belief”

        Do you not see you’ve just described the woke who have overrun so many of our institutions? Evidence and reason are irrelevant when you “know” the answer is “systemic racism”, “misogyny” or “transphobia”.

        I’m not religious and I don’t like the smell of Luxon one little bit. But the possible influence of Luxon’s religion is trivial compared with the wholesale ongoing undermining of our institutions by woke dogma.

      • DS.
        I believe people like CL belong to their church for political reasons. It gives them a network of nudge-nudge, wink-wink cronies of ultimate entitlement. This is how they get into high places. They will get support from true believers but their main aim is to maintain the rich elite. The religious stuff is just a vehicle.

    • Really? Is that the best you could come up with…Blah blah Skeletor blah blah Taxinda blah blah Horse face blah blah fucking blah.

        • I grew up in the HC community, and know many Straight Edge “kids”. Our XstraightXedgeX strikes me as someone who doesn’t realise the entire straight edge movement is more than not doing drugs and drinking, but is also political. The Antifa movement grew from HC extremists.

          XstraightXedgeX is just some sad man who lost his shit in real life, needed to go to rehab, and now thinks he is straight edge. You are probably right about him being an incel though…

  8. “…linkages between evangelical Christian fellowships and ambitious right-wing politicians.”

    What is it that links these two? One of course, Tory, Socialist or adherents to The Third Way, is allowed one’s Christian faith but there something definitely an odd relationship between evangelical Christian fellowships and the Natz. I am not sure if the exclusive Brethren qualify as evangelical but they are certainly extreme in their views. And it wasn’t so long ago they were exerting influence in the political arena. I suspect nothing has changed there other than more diligence given to political donations. Perhaps it is just good old social conservativism. Euthanasia, same sex marriage, abortion … for sure these and other social issues are endorsed or denounced by members of both sides and reflected in the views of the wider electorate. But do right-wing politicians with evangelical views endorse something more? Stir up a greater sentiment in the electorate? In philosophical terms, the link between evangelical Christians and right wing politicians, quoting from Wikipedia on ‘natural order’, implies that only under conditions of ‘freedom’, can we can enjoy the maximum happiness and derive maximum advantage in economic matters. That must appeal to a great many. But it simply sounds like an endorsement of neoliberalism to me. But of course no surprises there.

    When it comes to the big issues of our time – widening disparity, growing poverty, the erosion of social cohesion, not to mention how to reconcile the ideals of increased productivity and continued economic growth with the realities of planetary heating – Luxton and his team of Tories will do considerably worse than our current team of Third Wayers. And given that not a great deal is happening in these spaces at present the future looks grim if the electorate swings blue.

  9. While Luton might be a slight improvement over Collins (with a swamp Kauri ashtray in a dead orang-utan hand), I’m less interested in his religious beliefs than the conflict of interest with Air NZ (corporate welfare recipient of the year with 1.5 billion government loan, not having to refund any passenger fees for Covid etc) and globalist beliefs that have shown to be detrimental to society with predatory capitalist, environmental destruction and now the Covid pandemic around the world.

    Time for a re-think – there can be global collaboration to make better world decisions, not worse ones.

    Current globalism seem to be hell bent on destroying the environment, Increasing the world’s eight richest people who have same wealth as poorest 50% and expanding the billionaire and poverty class, removing the working and middle class, forcing or encouraging migration to cut worker costs and drive gross levels of consumption and wealth into hot spots while overloading and destroying the few remaining government welfare and free health systems in the world, and so forth.

    Jacinda has lost her shine mostly due to bad policy decisions from her party around neoliberal and woke policies, that have made many situations worse such as emergency housing, lack of professionals skills that are real (aka we need doctors not hundreds of thousands of chefs, retail and supermarket workers, who if the profitable businesses paid more could attract their staff and also stop more workers deciding not to work, as it’s not worth it anymore).

    Furthermore, those who have professional expertise are constantly undermined by management who know nothing or clients that call all the shots.

    Was talking to a doctor who has reduced their shifts downwards, as tired of Covid patients who don’t believe they have Covid.

    Professionals and experts across the board in NZ are increasingly getting tired of carrying the can, large risks, patients/clients/colleagues who don’t follow advice and spend all their time on social media and pretending to work or non core, busy work projects, more government enquiries of the complaints of people who spend all their time on social media and high needs people when things go wrong, more taxes, less respect and increasingly surrounded by people in the workforce and government departments who don’t know what they are doing, both above and below them. What is worse is that they don’t know they don’t know what they are doing, and thus become mentally ill or bullies, if there is any pressure, causing more non core ‘professionals’ to be called in.

    NZ has had a few decades now where we give out participation certificates for degrees, bums on seats, undermined expert lecturers and professors in universities and tech, created unsustainable amounts of lawyers and business people coming out of universities and tech, and now across the board in NZ, society seems be be running out of professional skills. People have either left NZ, cut down their work load, or are choosing not to work in key skilled fields.

    NZ is full of people in the wokeforce who actually don’t produce anything tangible from their labour, but suck money out of the labour force instead.

    NZ has led with, having a skill in NZ, is something to be exploited by someone more ruthless.

    Will Labours popular Covid policy keep Labour in power? Hard to know at this point or will all the other bad decisions (and dirty politics) come home to roost?

  10. Another problem for Labour, they have ignored the ‘cash economy’ with illegal labour and drugs everywhere and enabled those groups as being exploited and vulnerable (instead of their victims) to increase their numbers and thrive in NZ.

    Gang member numbers almost double around the country in five years
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/gang-member-numbers-almost-double-around-the-country-in-five-years/MDXZ4BWDVO3P4I7CWWW6Y6UAPA/

    While the Natz led the immigration Ponzi, Labour have expanded it into a high needs direction, with foreign teenagers coming to NZ and knifing people while the woke fund the system, more gangs who get 2.7 million in subsidies and Covid exemptions, illegal workers dying on the job, and ACC giving the widow in China payouts, while zero prosecution from woke safe and police to the people who were involved in this. Making special efforts to bring in the ISIS bride and her kids and (apparently her family) during Covid while others were locked out.

    Not a good look for Labour!! Now apparently more taxes with the ‘redundancy tax’ for the dwindling workers in NZ and their employers who pay tax (the sense is, that paying tax in NZ as a business is not obligatory, just like paying PAYE for workers, pay cash, like the gangs, or get wage subsidies instead, the taxpayers pay you, for your useless business while taxing more the viable businesses!)

    Then they wonder why professionals can’t stand it any longer and working less hours, making the skills situation even worse. They are replaced by more people with little qualifications in the new ‘equity’ model.

    Hopefully the message of exploiting and undermining real skills that take decades to acquire, in NZ, is realised before even more damage occurs.

    • I see you have given a great deal of consideration to the apparent anomalies raised in this thread, and added your own thoughtful contribution to the debate.

  11. After I read your excellent Post above I was mindful of the words of William S. Burroughs.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_S._Burroughs
    ” Never do business with a religious son of a bitch. But if you do? Get.It.In.Writing. ! Never trust a ‘man’ with God on his side to tell him how to fuck you on the deal. ”
    Let me be frank. Luxon is merely full of shit. Is there anyone in national who isn’t? Or labour, for that matter?
    We AO/NZ’ers would be better advised to trust in ourselves and to be secure enough within ourselves to ask searching questions of ourselves.
    Is AO/NZ as we could reasonably expect it to be? ( No) Are we comfortable and secure? ( No. ) Are we happy and content? ( No.) Are our most at risk safe and protected? ( No.) Is our agrarian primary industry functioning regeneratively and organically to supply us with world class foods etc while exporting surpluses to fund our public infrastructure? ( No.)
    The natzo’s are a cartel of banksters and money lenders dating back to the late 1930’s.
    Labour tried to hang on to its socialist democracy ( Vote for women. The forty hour week.The pension. The unemployment benefit etc…) but all that got done in by roger douglas and his cadre of all bought and paid for crooks.
    And since then? We’ve been abandoned and left rudderless in a dangerous and heaving ocean.
    Is Luxon the man to return us to times prior to douglas ? Fuck no ! Any vote for luxon will be a vote for treachery.

  12. There are three issues here: 1. The political leader who is a Christian 2. The kind of church he/she attends 3. The way how the leader communicate about his/her Christianity.
    1. There should be no problem with a Christian leader, after all in the past most of the leaders in the Western world were Christians.
    2. People seem to connect Evangelical Christians predominantly with a group of American believers who are Trump supporters while they actually represent a very wide stream of Christian believers. Here in New Zealand it is an accepted practice not to talk about politics in the most of the churches.
    3. This seems to be a stumbling block for Christopher Luxon. As a Christian I would prefer him to be more open and free. There is nothing to be ashamed for in Christianity, on contrary the best principles of our culture have their roots in the Bible. Scott Morrison gives us a bit differents example.
    What is quite interesting and disappointing is the fact that media try hard to investigate Luxon’s Christianity and how it will or will not influence his decisions while they accept as a norm Maori animisitic tikanga (e.g. that nearly all the public events are introduced by Maori incantations that most of the present can’t understand) and even condone them as a warrant of special Maori expertise in various matters like environment.

    • Most karakia are actually invocations to the God of the Bible, as prior to the Land Wars there was a massive embrace of Christianity across Maori culture, giving voice to prophets like Ratana, Ringatu, and Te Whiti.

      The greedy Pakeha settlers soon snuffed that out.

      • There were several King Herods, Alexandra. Are you sure you mean the right one?
        I might add that Roman historians make more mention of Herods than they do of – who was that Jesus guy?

        • Herod the Great, Herod II, Herod Antipas, Herod Agrippa I, Herod Agrippa II, Archelaus, Philipp….
          6 of them are mentioned in the Bible and that way they got into “popular” knowledge. The historian who wrote about Herod the Great and his family was the Jew Josephus Flavius and the Jews Matthew, Mark and John plus the Greek Luke wrote about Jesus.
          In Josephus’ Antiquities there are two places referring to Jesus as well. The so called Testimonium Flavianum with some doubts but generally accepted James Passage. Suetonius and Tacitus wrote about Christians and we have the testimony of Plinius’ letter to emperor Trajan and Trajan’s reply.
          Who today knows anything about e.g. Hyrcanus II and Aristobulos II who are mentioned by Josephus as well?
          It was a fashionable thing in the 19th century to doubt the historicity of Jesus, to attack the reliability of the Biblical text transmission and to treat the Bible as a myth. But today most historians and researchers do not deny historicity of Jesus, the text criticism proved the reliability of the text and Biblical archeology has showed that the picture of everyday life we find in the NT was true.
          “The traditional view sees Christianity as the creation of a single man, Jesus Christ. This view persists even today. It is true that Jesus, at least in “enlightened” and “educated” circles, is no longer considered a deity, but he is still held to have been an extraordinary personality, who came to the fore with the intention of founding a new religion, and did so, with tremendous success. Liberal theologians hold this view, and so do radical free-thinkers; and the latter differ from the theologians only with respect to the criticism they make of Christ as a person, whom they seek to deprive of all the sublimity they can.”
          This is from the Marxist Karl Kautsky’s Foundation of Christianity.

        • Herod the Great, Herod II, Herod Antipas, Herod Agrippa I, Herod Agrippa II, Archelaus, Phillip…
          6 of them are mentioned in the Bible which made them famous. The historian that wrote about Herodian family was a Jew, Josephus Flavius and Jews Matthew, Mark, John and a Greek Luke wrote about Jesus.
          Who today knows Hyrcanus II or Aristobulus II who are equally mentioned in Josephus?
          Josephus in his Antiquities made two mentions of Jesus as well, one Testimonium Flavianum is not without doubts but the second one James Passage is generally accepted. Suetonius and Tacitus mention Christians and, of course, Plinius Minor’s letters to emperor Trajan and Trajan’s reply.
          Today the most historians, scholars, researchers do not deny historicity of Jesus.
          “The traditional view sees Christianity as the creation of a single man, Jesus Christ. This view persists even today. It is true that Jesus, at least in “enlightened” and “educated” circles, is no longer considered a deity, but he is still held to have been an extraordinary personality, who came to the fore with the intention of founding a new religion, and did so, with tremendous success. Liberal theologians hold this view, and so do radical free-thinkers; and the latter differ from the theologians only with respect to the criticism they make of Christ as a person, whom they seek to deprive of all the sublimity they can.”
          This is from Karl Kautsky (Marxist) Foundation of Christianity.
          You can substitute Anno Domini with Common Era, but the fact behind the names is the same: we do not mark a certain moment in history of mankind according to the birth of any of king Herods but of Jesus.

  13. so we have one groups of lefties who want to abscond with everyone’s wealth, and one group of righties who want to abscond with everyone’s wealth
    okay I get it

    • FYI: the righties have already stolen all the wealth – – the left merely suggests that this state of affairs should be moderated

  14. And so the media hunt for Luxon’s vulnerabilities begins and will continue without end. Journalists should be locked in a room with Jack Tame’s interview with Jim Bolger playing on an endless loop – then they might know what meaningful questions to ask of Luxon. What does he stand for? What would he want to do to reduce/remove the current inequalities in society. Focusing on the man’s religion (personal), number of houses he owns (what other options have previous governments created?) and other bootlace issues will do nothing to inform us of what we might expect from this man – and his party. Journalists – get on with it!

    • Media hunt for Luxon’s vulnerabilities? Have you just landed in NZ? Which media are you referring to? Certainly not the mainstream media, surely? To them he will be ‘the messiah’, which is probably what Luxor believes himself. John Key 2- watch the eyes.

  15. Thanks you Chris for the clear delineation between the disgusting Trumpian performative religion of the “Christian” right, and the actual teachings of Jesus.

    Jesus told his disciples to love one another. When the Roman soldiers came to arrest him, Jesus told Peter to put away his sword. Jesus was a homeless nomad. “Foxes have dens. Birds have nests. But the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Matt 8:20).

    When tempted by the Devil Jesus showed no concern for material wealth:
    “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
    Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’
    (Matt 4:8-10)

  16. As Einstein said: “I have found no better expression than ‘religious’ for confidence in the rational nature of reality as it is accessible to human reason.”

    In other words a belief in the ‘reason’ of nature as science attempts to understand it.

    This is the opposite of the ‘religion’ of ruling classes throughout history to impose superstition of the unknown to justify the masses subordination to class rule.

    Marx described this religious practice the ‘opiate of the masses, it is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of a soul-less conditions.”

    Luxon is in the latter category. He is a member of the international capitalist ruling class, of the NZ landed gentry, an exploiter of labour and of nature, a profiteer and extractor of monopoly rent.

    His evangelical Christianity devolves out of the Protestantism of the Reformation which broke from the Catholic church to re-set religion as the belief in the personal salvation of the individual bourgeois who by making money in this world would guarantee their place in the next world.

    It justified their class rule, but also the ‘hope flows eternal’ of their followers to aspire to this class rule.

    In this age of of global capitalist decline and decomposition, pandemics and climate collapse, we do not need the ‘religion’ of the self-aggrandizement of the post-modern, irrational and degenerate global bourgeoisie, bent on destruction of nature and humanity.

    We need the Einstein concept of ‘religion’ as the belief in the capacity of reason and science to understand how we can find a way back to nature.

  17. Your quote attributed to Jesus is actually from what Christians call The Old Testament way way before Jesus was born. Check your sources!

  18. Wow, Dave, “opiate of the masses”! The last time I heard it was in a compulsory communist political course in Czechoslovakia. Your opinion on Reformation is from the same pot.
    Belief in the capacity of reason and science omits the whole sphere of morality and the actual purpose of being. Wish you luck on your way back to nature (hunters and gatherers?).

    • What is wrong with Marx’s quote about the “opiate of the masses”?… organized religion quickly became an effective social control mechanism serving the elites… entry to heaven for a life of hard work and obeyance of said elite… what a great deal! nevertheless you should understand as an immigrant to NZ that more than 50% of our population have no religious belief… this has not led to the breakdown of our society however as the basic religious tenets are really just based on humanist common sense… you should also know that this majority of non believers hold very suspicious views of those who claim belief or access to these (man-made) Sky Faeries… this makes evangelical individuals like Luxon who speaketh in tongues etc. a very hard sell to the political middle ground which must be conquered… we have all looked on in horror at the Evangelical right in the US with their twisted neo-liberal capitalist version of Christianity… if you are rich its because Jesus wants you to be rich etc. their counterparts in NZ e.g. the Upper Room are just as greedy and just as extreme… allied to the batshit crazy conspiracies they purport to believe in we see them as very dangerous people that cannot ever be trusted due to their Messianic zeal… Luxon’s back-pedaling, playing things down and just straight out lies in only his 3rd day as leader will continue to count against him no matter what higher power he professes to favour

      • Thank you, Elrae,
        The “opiate of the masses” looks at the religion as a tool to hold the working people in the bondage of slavery. Marx and Lenin predicted that the religion would perish once the woking class overthrows capitalism. It had not happened, in spite of the fact that they created another “opiate of the masses” with compulsory indoctrination of the masses with Marxism, Leninism (Hitler then imitated the Soviets with his indoctrination of National Socialism). Religion is certainly much deeper and wider phenomenon than just the tool of oppression and the booze for the oppressed. Christianity deals with the basic human moral problem, the sin and to omit it from our focus leads to moral relativism when everything is acceptable. People are absolutely free to adopt the Christian faith or to reject it, which is not the case with opium as many addicts can testify.

        Evangelican Christianity has its roots cca in the 18th century bringing about the teachings about being born again, the Bible as the source of authority for theological disputes, cross as the centre – Jesus died for sins of the mankind and activism, Christians have to share their faith by words and good deeds. The “healthy wealthy” type of churches especially in the US you have in mind is just one stream, and a rotten one, for me and for many others it is a haeresy.

        As I have already written, I personally was not impressed by Christopher Luxon answers about his faith because of his lack of openness. But the Upper Room Church has a public web site and everybody can go there, read the sermons and discern for themselves if its teachings are dangerous.

        • The upper room scrubbed their website when Luxon entered parliament… so no, everyone can’t discern what their about because they’ve hidden or removed the truely revealing content

  19. Chris I’ve heard “separation of politics and faith” before, and it was in relation to how Mussolini saw he’s dealings with the Roman Catholic Church.

    Bad choice of words from Luxton or maybe it wasn’t.

  20. Chris
    “Indeed, his embarrassment is evident in the way he attempts to dissuade journalists from examining his Christian beliefs too closely.” As you say, yhink about that for a moment: It’s none of the journo’s or the public’s fucking business or yours or mine!

    • Sauer if he wants to be the PM then it is definitely the public’s business… you can ignore his beliefs if you like… I need to know about them!

    • except when he seeks public office whilst playing down his membership of a foreign inspired cabal dedicated to the destruction of NZ democracy….y’know kraut bit like him being a KGB/MVD ‘agent of influence’ I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase before, haven’t you…the rightards used to love that one.

  21. Absolutely beats me how any committed Christian could lead a right wing party. Love one another, love they neighbour as thyself, suffer the little children unto me, the meek shall inherit the earth. If that doesnt spell Labour (or what Labour used to stand for), I dont know what does?

    Christians voting for Trump, what an abomination.

    As for Luxon, I remember a bible teaching or two that tells us everything there is to know about his Christianity. ‘Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh’ and “By their action, you shall know them’ so all in all, I would have to say Luxton is no more of a committed Christian than most of NZ, more likely ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’.

  22. his pious religious followers should consider that if he does regard abortion as murder but is prepared to countenance murder(in his eyes) merely to further his political career what kind of evangelical is he? and can they trust him.

    the rest of us should be worried that he’s lying through his teeth and if he had the chance he’d pass some nutbar anti abortion bill.

  23. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

  24. I don’t see Chris Luxon as an enemy of the working class. This newly elected National leader, along with his Deputy Nicola Willis, claim to want to lower the high cost of residential property by around 50 percent over a period of time.

    Moreover, when I look back, I see that the times when I have paid the highest rate of personal income taxation have been under Labour governments. I was paying a flat rate of twenty percent on a minimum wage income under one of the Helen Clark led governments.

    • “claim to want to lower the high cost of residential property by around 50 percent over a period of time.” pffft and how will they do that champ?

  25. To me Luxon has the foul stench of John Key in his aura. And so I get the feeling John Key is pulling the strings somewhere within the NZ National Party in order for firstly an inexperienced person like Luxon getting to be leader of a dysfunctional political party within say 14 months of entering politics. Luxon and Key both have the ego and arrogance to be greedy for power and control over others. And like Key and Bolger before Key was even a politician I am sure Luxon will make ‘promises’ that he will quickly and without remorse break if by some misfortune he became prime minister of New Zilland(as Key called this country).

  26. “[I]t is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
    Jesus’ hearers had the cultural understanding that rich people were more blessed by God, therefore must be better people. Jesus’ statement highlights the impossibility of _anyone_ entering the Kingdom of God (this understanding is confirmed by the disciples’ follow-up question). Indeed, it is impossible for anyone to enter the Kingdom of God, except through Jesus.

    BTW, I also just read an old post you’d written about Christopher Luxon (/2019/11/08/chosen-to-rule-what-sort-of-christian-is-chris-luxon/); it in you confuse “evangelical” with “evangelistic”.

  27. Christian non Christians all the MPs take care of themselves. None seemed worried about the inequalities which get bigger each decade in New Zealand except that Green guy Ricardo.

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