Sunday, February 18, 2007

Treason and the ‘state religion’

Brian Tamaki is an Evangelical bishop of that far-flung outpost of the British Commonwealth - New Zealand. Christianity (the Protestant, Reformed variety) is the state religion there, just as it is wherever Her Majesty holds dominion. The New Zealand Herald is reporting that its prime minister, Helen Clark, has drafted an ‘aspirational’ national statement on religious diversity which says ‘New Zealand has no state religion’. This, apparently, is a necessary corollary of a nation which wishes to respect the ‘human rights’ of ‘religious freedom, tolerance and a national commitment to religious diversity’.

But Bishop Tamaki is having none of it. As a loyal royalist, he refers to the Coronation service during which the Queen was presented with a Bible and told, ‘This is the royal law’. Any deviation from this, for him, amounts to ‘religious treason’.

One might have expected other Christian leaders to flock to his side, appalled by the further erosion of the centrality of the Judeo-Christian foundations of the English-speaking world, but the Anglican Bishop, Richard Randerson, said the evangelicals were confusing ‘the significant role of Christianity in the life of the country with being the official state religion’, which, he asserts, it is not. It is noteworthy that this bishop recently declared himself an agnostic, and supports the removal of all mentions of Jesus from public prayers.

The less said about this ‘Anglican Bishop’, the better. He appears not only to misunderstand the mission of his religion, but also to ignore the political imperative of the Coronation Oath, which commits Her Majesty to govern her realms ‘according to their laws and customs’ and ‘to maintain the Protestant Reformed religion established by law’.

But Bishop Tamaki is wrong to speculate on the new crime of ‘religious treason’. There is no such misdemeanour on the Statute Books, and the nearest might be the crime of blasphemy. Treason is treason, and this does not need qualifying. Section Three of the Treason Felony Act of 1848 asserts that condemnation is incurred ‘If any person whatsoever shall, within the United Kingdom or without, compass, imagine, invent, devise or intend to deprive or depose our most gracious Lady the Queen...from the style, honour, or royal name of the imperial crown of the United Kingdom.

While Her Majesty’s ‘royal name’ endures, the consistent and concerted attacks upon the Protestant Christian faith – the religion she is sworn to uphold – may certainly be considered a deprivation of her ‘style’. The problem is that none dare call it treason.


Anonymous Ulster Man said...

In New Zealand, the Queen's official title is: "Elizabeth the Second, By the Grace of God, Queen of New Zealand and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith."

If she is Defender of the Faith, that presupposes there is a faith to defend! Still, like everywhere else in the Commonwealth, it's a virtual crime to defend Protestantism, and just leaves you with accusations of bigotry. Defending Catholicism though......well, that's an entirely different matter altogether.

18 February 2007 at 12:51  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Guess New Zealand will be leaving 'The Global South'......

In 2002 Clark stated at a State Banquet for the Queen that New Zealand is now a secular country" and no grace would be said at the meal

She introduced marital rights to any cohabiting relationship over 3years in 2001

She is often accused of being lesbian but whatever she is she hates religion

Fortunately New Zealand's long term future is as part of the Australian Federation and its flirtation with Labour lunacy should be a warning to all

18 February 2007 at 13:12  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Blog on Randerson

18 February 2007 at 13:16  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Ulster Man, why is defending Catholicism an entirely different matter? Catholics do not feel they have any a priori acceptance of their position over Protestantism. Certainly the recent controversy over Adoption and Schooling has demonstrated that. Catholics and Protestants have more that unites than divides and surely today we need each others support because it is Christianity that is under attack (even from the inside), are we not regiments in the same Army?

Your Grace,

Top comment on Auntie Joannas blog re libraries and education. Glad to see you are interested in other cerebral blogs, can I suggest Standing on My Head He will get your heckles up but he is undoubtedly intelligent and erudite.

18 February 2007 at 14:26  
Blogger Cranmer said...


4 responses, and 2 of those from Mr Voyager...

It would appear that His Grace's communicants have a negligible interest in the religio-political affairs of the wider British Commonwealth.

He shall inform Mr Croydonian, who alerted him to the matter.

19 February 2007 at 19:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I understand it (I live here), NZ is like the US in that no *denomination* has an official position; and, as in the US, this has been interpreted by politicians and controversialists to mean that no *religion* should be favoured over any other in any way whatever. As for Mr Tamaki, I fear he should not be taken too seriously. But Ms Clark does sneer at religious belief whenever she is not afraid of losing votes.

19 February 2007 at 22:47  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Well in New Zealand that might make sense if we assume it was colonised by Presbyterian Scots but it is still no reason for an Anglican primate in New Zealand to declare his agnosticism and expect to be seen as other than a practising hypocrite.

The simple fact is that when The Monarch, Head of The Commonwealth, and Supreme Governor of The Church of England and a devout Christian is insulted at a State Banquet where she is the Guest of Honour one has to question the sanity of the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

20 February 2007 at 11:04  
Blogger A. J. Chesswas said...

Yeah about that, please do accept our apologies! We, too, have been questioning the sanity of our PM for some time. There are likewise many Anglicans like myself who are appalled by Bishop Randerson's statements. We are trying to figure out what on Earth has happened to our realm that such people could hold positions of power for so long. I don’t think we managed that whole EEC thing back in ’73 too well. I do hope, though, that the future of our realms will be a shared one, as one commonwealth. But we will see.

22 February 2007 at 23:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. I believe in God but I do NOT believe Brian Tamaki is the one to help me get to know God better.

It seems to me that Tamaki goes under the guise of being a nice caring Christian man, a man of God. Well, Destiny Church has given more to Brian and his family than any of the down-trodden homeless people that Brian professes to care about.

Destiny Church takes in millions of tax-free bucks each year, through tithing, donations, book sales, tapes and CD sales, investments, etc, and what does it give back? Judging by the marches, the protests, it gives back pathetic narrow-minded views about the lifestyles that certain minorities choose to live.

In summing up, I believe that Brian Tamaki is not actually into Christianity. If he was, he's be walking the walking, instead of spouting his crap.

4 May 2007 at 13:56  

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