Saturday, January 20, 2024

Caleb Anderson: Would this be kingitanga's "king hit"?

The words "separation of church and state" do not appear in the American constitution, but the first amendment to the constitution reads as follows.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion".

In 1644 Baptist Minister Roger Williams of Rhode Island called for a hedge of separation between things secular and things sacred. His argument was that a mixing of the two would lead to corruption, one of the other.

A good number of those who settled in the United States had experienced religious persecution in Europe and agreed with him.

In 1947 Supreme Court judge Justice Hugo Black made the following statement.

"The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state," which "must be kept high and impregnable."

Increasingly the New Zealand media are pleased to publish calls for the enshrinement of Te Ao Maori (the Maori worldview) in New Zealand. We have heard the same calls from organisers of this weekend's kingitanga hui.

From the Encyclopedia of New Zealand:

The traditional Māori world view

The cycle of the sun
The rising of the sun, the journey it makes across the sky, and its setting in the west is a cosmic mystery. Because this cycle is repeated every day, traditional Māori considered it the basic principle of the world. The sun represents the birth and growth of mana (power) in the world. The birth, rise and death of the sun came to be the primary model for all existence – all of life should in some way give expression to this pattern.

The orator’s role
When an orator rises to speak on a marae, he will often announce himself by saying:
Tihē mauriora
Ki te whaiao, ki Te Ao Mārama

The breath, the energy of life
To the dawnlight, to the world of light
The words refer to a world constantly emerging from darkness into light.

The orator’s speech is considered to be a re-enactment of Tāne separating earth and sky, the means by which light came into the world. Tāne was the father of humankind. When he separated his parents, Papatūānuku (the earth mother) and Ranginui (the sky father), the sun was able to shine into the world that was created. If the orator’s words offer guidance and wisdom, he brings his audience out of the ‘night’ of conflict and into the ‘day’ of peace and resolution. This occurs when mana (a spiritual force) enters the person – just as the sun illuminates and brings forth the new day.

Y0u will find similar material on the Ministry of Education website, where learners are encouraged to dive deep into their identities in order to connect their wairua (spirit) to the natural world.

Pantheism is one of the oldest of religions. Pantheism sees a God (or life force) present in all things. Thus the worship of God or gods is fundmantally indistinguishable from worship of the creation itself.

A friend was required to attend a Marae workshop. She was told by someone present that Maori were tired of "the white man's God" ... they have their own gods.

Our government has a duty to safeguard the rights of people to worship as conscience dictates, but equally to ensure that the worlds of the mystical and the known do not overlap.

The merging of state and religion always leads to the suppression of free speech, and weaponises those with agendas.

I believe that we should be very concerned about the creep of pantheistic religion into public life. References to things spiritual have been used to silence debate, or to fill the gaps when logic, reason, and facts are lacking.

As I have noted before "Not infrequent assertions that the Treaty is a spiritual taonga, vested with mystical power, in and of itself, is a clear effort to make the arguments of its most animated adherents uncontestable".

This would surely be the king hit for kingitanga, Te Ao Maori could be the gateway to shaping the very foundations of thought and belief itself.

If the line is not drawn here, where will it be drawn?

This would surely be kingitanga's "king hit".

Caleb Anderson, a graduate history, economics, psychotherapy and theology, has been an educator for over thirty years, twenty as a school principal.


Scott said...

I would suggest that the people will have a religion. It may be socialism? But they will have a religion.

With the nation deciding lately to downgrade their Christian heritage something will come in its place. The previous government bought in socialism. The Maori party and others want to bring back ancient pagan religion. So we will have a religion. The question is which one?

I put in a vote for Christianity. Bring back the name of Jesus into our Parliamentary prayer. Bring back Bible in schools. Teach Christianity which after all is the founding religion of our nation. Otherwise you will have socialism or you will have old-fashioned paganism. But the people will have a religion. Let's be Christian again.

Peter said...

Sadly Caleb, I fear you’re right.

People can, and are entitled to contemplate, their spiritual navels for as long as they like, but ignorance cannot and should not supplant civility, science, and democracy.

Here we have a race whose ancestors were not civilised and expended a good deal of effort (inter alia) in fighting, enslaving, killing, cannibalising, and body-part trafficking their own kind - not to mention raping and pillaging of both others and the more immediate transitory environment in which they EXISTED. Emphasis on the latter, for they hardly flourished.

Yet, we now have those who would have us embrace and revere the supposed ‘world view’ thinking and spirituality of that culture as some sort of guiding light, or form of enlightenment, as to how we should think and live our lives today. Worse, those embracing this ‘culture’ have inveigled themselves into positions where they can indoctrinate our young with it, and we’re now beginning to reap what we’ve been allowing to be sowed.

Anonymous said...

I agree with secularism. Let people have god/s and exercise their beliefs ( subject to modern sensibilities eg no sacrifices). There is always borderline beliefs eg cults, but we need to trust that law and social pressure will manage these ( albeit often imperfectly, ask any one who has escaped a cult or quasi cult).

Imho if people need the support/ come of religion there is no need to take it away.

But, as a tenet of the state (note small s not upper case) there needs to be separation of church/religion and state ( again small s). In the case of the latter democracy is unquestionably the best.

For the record I tick the atheist box when asked if I have a religion but I find the gentleness and courtesy of the Buddhist belief system to be very soothing. I also take great pleasure in the power of nature without attributing any deistic premiss to it. The old saying ‘stop and smell the roses’ has a lot of truth to it

Anonymous said...

They’re pushing karakia in primary schools referring to Maori sky and earth gods.

Tinman said...

The traditional Māori world view

The cycle of the sun
The rising of the sun, the journey it makes across the sky, and its setting in the west is a cosmic mystery.

Utter bullshit!

The Encyclopedia of New Zealand is obviously yet another work of fiction!

Maori never had a "world view", their only thought was "do I get eaten or get to eat today?".

As for a new(ish) religion look no further than that referred to as "green" or "carbon neutral" - a true religion for the non-thinkers of Godzone.

That religion spreading among the western half-wits, con-men and greedy dishonest scum (read Biden, Biden family, Democrats, communists and such)will out-perform any newly-invented racist shit no matter how fancy the latter's wording gets.

As an aside I'm all for promoting Christianity as long as we also bring back colosseums, hungry lions and gladiators.

Erica said...

Revisionist history has guaranteed we are presented with a very negative view of early European settlers in NZ.

Sure there were the greedy rapacious ones but there were also very many who wanted to escape the class system of their homelands,

My ancestors were determined to make a egalitarian state which for the first half the twentieth century was evident in NZ. They were strong Christians who believed everyone was made in the image of God and was to be treated with respect and dignity. They embraced Maori culture but did not pretend there were not aspects that needed to be changed as mentioned by other contributors. They did not believe the truth could be forced on people and in line with liberalism in education atheism was to be accepted alongside a tolerance for Christian beliefs, However no one branch of Christianity was to dominate over any other.
Looking at a 1940s school syllabus I see Bible stories were included along with Greek myths and legends and also Maori mythology. General universal principles of ethics like honesty, patience, generosity, courage and tolerance etc were promoted through reading of historical figures like Florence Nightingale, Grace Darling and William Wilberforce.

To ignore our Christian heritage is foolishness. Christianity has contributed considerably to making life more agreeable and as we become more secular to me our society has fallen apart and become less equitable and more brutal.

Anonymous said...

Agree Erica

We swim in Judeo Christian ethics but pretend, instead, that they fell out of the sky, and we dodge accountability in so doing. Tom Holland is worth watching on YouTube.

RAYMONDO said...

The author points out that the state was to avoid having a state religion because of the problems that had created in Britain from which many if not the great majority of new Americans had come. Certainly the Americas were first populated by traders, missionaries who had been pastors in the 'old country' and other business people keen to make good in a new land.
NZ was not different in the way it was populated just by a slightly different mix. NZ was not under a state religion at any time but the Christian religion had a huge impact on Maori and set new behavioural standards. Maori also practiced animism and indeed today blend within the mainline or older denominations, both sets of belief (syncretism).
What we do not want to do now is to continue to authorise and wait for a kaumatua to inaugurate every meeting, every new building or project and to basically continue the march toward cementing polytheistic, sycretistic, animism at our government and cultural heart.

Geoffrey said...

I suspect Tinman is correct. With a working vocabulary of just a few hundred words, there was no capacity for the esoteric extravagances now being promoted by New-Maori proselytisers.

GERRY said...

Previous empires which have conflated religion and state such as the Spanish under Ferdinand which gave them them the Inquisition, France under Charles the Crusades, Islam under Mohammed the Jihad as well as the Egyptian Pharaohs, Roman Caesars etc. were all based on tyranny to keep control. Religious fervour in Government has produced more killing, indeed genocide, than any other element and can be easily repeated if we do not guard against.

As the man said " the demise of Christianity does not mean that people do not believe but that they will believe anything "..

Don said...

Sadly, if you believe in fairy stories you will find, sooner or later, that there are no fairies at the bottom of your garden.
The stories are not the problem but the way in which they are used to brain-wash the young and delude the masses. Everything is promised but nothing is delivered. The fictional nonsense of religion MUST be kept separate from the factual business of the state.