On my odyssey through the New Zealand church my understanding grew about the issues the evangelicals were facing. As far as I see, the key concern the evangelicals (Bible believers) had with decriminalizing prostitution, granting civil unions to couples, and legalizing gay marriage was the message it sent to their children.
These conservative Christians intended on bringing their children up in the ways of the Lord God, which meant all of the social reforms the government of New Zealand were brining in could send the wrong message to their children, thus making prostitution and those others things open and acceptable. It could seduce their children into thinking that certain behaviors were okay and so send them off the path that leads to life, the way of the Lord. So, they fought against the reforms and I did a couple of articles on the issue, maybe more, although these issues weren’t my main focus at the time.
I may as well post these articles as I am writing about this. They should be posted over the next month or so. The first one is below. It features the most vocal opponents of the liberal reforms. Destiny Church organized a rally to protest the reforms and to oppose the government’s sending of a liberal message to the country and what it would do to their children.
These days, the Destiny head pastor is now fighting the Covid lockdown measures with protests aimed at restoring freedom.
Here’s the article about fighting the liberal reforms of New Zealand. I include comment from the other side as well. In terms of the writing of this article, it would have been better as two articles. One for comment on the issues, and the other on the actual rally. But I combined the two with focus on the issues and comment.
Enough is Enough
By Peter Veugelaers
The Rally for Human Rights preceded hundreds who marched Monday in the Enough is Enough rally taking a message to Parliament’s steps about the sanctity of marriage, proposed legalising of civil unions and the Care of Children Bill deemed to undermine the marriage institution.
Enough is Enough (EIE) was devised and led by senior pastor of Destiny Church Brian Tamaki. The management team are members of Destiny Church.
“We are disturbed by sobering statistics that tell us socially we are not in good heart,” Mr Tamaki said on a platform outside Parliament buildings to a roaring crowd.
“Who are disturbed by sobering statistics that tell us socially we are not in good heart,” Mr Tamaki said on a platform outside Parliament buildings to a large roaring crowd.
“Who would have ever imagined a few years ago we would have to stand at [parliament] en-masse like this to uphold and protect the institution of marriage for the future of our children and grandchildren.
“But here we are because of recent legislations that have come out from this place. I am talking about the Civil Unions Bill, the Relationships Bill, decriminalising of prostitution, 18,500 of our babies, our potential children and grandchildren, terminated last year. We have problems with drug and alcohol abuse.
“In this we are standing here today to say enough is enough.”
In response to EIE Christians for Civil Unions joined other groups before EIE gathered at Parliament.
Senior minister of St Andrews on the Terrace in Wellington Rev Dr Margaret Mayman is spokesperson for Christian for Civil Unions and spoke at the alternative rally.
The EIE march begun late morning from Civic Square winding its way into Willis Street and Lambton Quay before they grouped around Parliament grounds about noon for messages from church leaders.
Marchers from the Rally for Human Rights voiced their opposition to speakers from EIE who were cheered on by the EIE crowd.
Messages at the EIE rally featured Christian political party leaders Ewen McQueen (Christian Heritage NZ) and Richard Lewis (Destiny NZ).
“The crisis in our families cries out for leadership that will put its efforts into affirming marriage, not creating alternatives,” Mr McQueen said, while Mr Lewis said that Government need to be put resources into areas such as abstinence programmes and media censorship.
Parliament grounds were almost packed out. On one side stood those that supported civil unions legislation while the EIE rally at Parliament began with a 300-man strong Kapa Haka team. EIE organized their message by way of a staged platform with loudspeakers.
EIE’s media liaison Janine Cardno said that upholding New Zealand’s high moral standards would be consistent with biblical principles and should plumbline Government decisions, policies and legislation to maintain healthy societal standards of living.
Dr Mayman said before the Rally for Human Rights that Christians for Civil Unions will be at Parliament as a peaceful presence, “following in the footsteps of our founder Jesus Christ, and of Christian justice seekers who have gone before us like Rev Dr Martin Luther King.”
10,000 marchers were anticipated at the EIE event.
Mrs Cardno said that their prayer was that the message – the slogan “values matter” – would filter into policy making and that current political trends demonstrate a complete disregard for biblical principles.
EIE management team member Pastor Andrew Stock said in reply to questions put to him by email that trends in family breakdown and fatherlessness are at alarming rates and are predicted to get much worse.
Mr Stock said that the Government should be focused on restoring a marriage culture – “the tried and proven stable basis for raising children” – but they are endeavouring to implement legislation which undermines the institution of marriage.
Dr Mayman said that Christians for Civil Unions considered staying away from EIE’s march in what appears to be “aggressive and divisive.” They believed it was important to stand as a group of Christians who remember the basis of the Gospel which is love for all people.
“We want the New Zealand public to realise that Destiny is not a representative Christian voice.
“Civil Union legislation is an issue of social justice which should transcend theological differences.”
Destiny Churches felt compelled to act. They “poured huge time, energy, personnel and resource to make this event happen,” Mrs Cardno said.
In their press release Christians for Civil Unions said they wanted to present an alternative Christian voice in the public conversation about legal protection and recognition for same-sex and de-facto couples.
“It (civil unions) will provide legal protection for many New Zealand families that are currently vulnerable,” Dr Mayman said.
Christians for Civil Unions were concerned that while Destiny’s rhetoric is aimed at the Government it is hurtful and damaging to many New Zealanders who are gay or lesbian, or who have gay or lesbian family members.
The Rally for Human Rights was initiated by UniQ Victoria and Christians for Civil Unions is a nation-wide network of Christians from mainstream denominations including Presbyterians, Anglicans, Catholics, Baptists, and Methodists. Dr Mayman said that while other Christian churches hold a particular understanding of marriage between a man and a woman, there is still support for those people who view civil unions as a social justice issue for the legal protection of diverse families in New Zealand.
Lifeway Ministries Founder Trevor Yaxley contributed to the rally with a prayer and said in an email interview that the policies of the New Zealand government are morally bankrupt.
“It’s time for the Mums and Dads of New Zealand to declare with one loud voice that we have had enough,” he said.
“The rally will let the hundreds of thousands of Mums and Dads who are out there know that they are not alone in their concern for this country.
“It will tell this government that we’ve had enough of them deliberately eroding the very principles and institutions that have made this society strong.”
Senior pastor of City Impact Church in Auckland, Peter Mortlock, officially endorsed the mass gathering because it is good to support anybody who is making a stand for morality in the country.
“Government would tell us that education is the answer to teenage pregnancy or AIDS, but all these things are on the increase. We need to help our teenagers say no rather than just be able to have safe sex,” Mr Mortlock said.
He said New Zealand is in desperate need of a reformation.
“If the country is reformed then government is reformed too. We need to see some righteous politicians in Government. The more Christians in there, the better.”
Wellington Central Baptist minister Rev Dr Alan Jamieson was a speaker as part of a guest panel at the launching of Christians for Civil Unions in June and explained he supported the Civil Union Bill because of the Baptist tradition of the separation between church and state.
He said it is each person’s right and ability to read the Scriptures and form their own interpretation when choosing their morality.
Dr Jamieson said that in society there is a much more fluid understanding of family.
“The EIE campaign is trying to pull us back to the 1950s,” he said.
He said that most children in New Zealand are not brought up by both of their biological parents living together.
“That doesn’t exist now for most children in New Zealand. So, the Government has got to think about the wider question than just that particular (EIE) quota is trying to push for.
“What we consider family now in terms of like the nuclear family is quite short lived. Of course, the family is an integral part of society, but the way it is being portrayed by the EIE campaign is quite naïve.”
Challenge Weekly reported early August that some church leaders were concerned that the march was an exercise in gathering the Christian vote for political party Destiny New Zealand. Mrs Cardno replied that from the outset Destiny Church has sought to include the wider Christian community and those who have a passion for these issues.
Mr Mortlock responded to speculation EIE was a Destiny New Zealand vote gathering attempt saying it can be short sighted. In an interview before the gathering Mr Mortlock hoped to see a display of church strength and unity at Parliament.
Support and endorsements for EIE came from businesses, the Sensible Sentencing Trust and Right to Life. Mr Stock said that support has been received from Apostolic, Elim, Baptist and independent churches.
Christian leaders and pastors from around the country endorsed EIE including David Vaka (Breakthrough Church), Norm McLeod (Church of Breakthrough), Dale Meacheam (Palmerston North Apostolic), and Rev Mike Weitenberg (Metro Global Church Community in Wellington).
Mr Yaxley says EIE asked him to stand with them and he considered it a privilege. He supports the rally because “as a grandfather, a father, a husband and a leader of my community I have had enough.
“Tens of thousands of people saying ‘our kids deserve better than this’ and ‘marriage matters’ is exactly the sort of stand that needs to be made right now if we are to stem the erosion of what we know to be good, right and true.” Mr Mortlock was hopeful that politicians would not vote for proposed legislation opposed by EIE. Mrs Cardno explained that all MPs received a personal invitation to the EIE rally seven weeks ago and they have been “largely dismissive”.