Joshua Hitchcock

Anger over Destiny Support

In Te Ao Māori on June 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm

The decision by leading Maori politicians to attend the Destiny Church Conference over the weekend is coming under increasing attack by many in the LGBT community.  Various excuses are being made by the politicians involved, mainly along the lines that it is election year and attendance was not about agreeing with the Church but to use the platform that the Church provided.

What these politicians are saying, however, is that they value their re-election more than they value Maori who are the target of homophobic vitriol.  The following press release was issued by Dr. Leonie Pihama and highlights the strength of feeling surrounding this controversy.

Māori Politicians placate homophobia for votes.

The recent attendance of a group of Māori male politicians at the Destiny Church annual conference and their advocacy for the supposed benefits of that church to Māori people highlights the political purgatory that Māori find ourselves in leading up to the November election.

The scenes of Pita Sharples, Hone Harawira, Tau Henare and Shane Jones lining up to be ‘blessed’ and to hear their platitudes of thanks to a homophobic and misogynist institution is not merely disturbing it is sickening. We should never forget the ‘enough is enough’ hate marches instigated by Destiny Church. We should never forget the kinds of hate speeches that Māori gay and lesbian whānau were bombarded with during the Civil Union debate, and the ongoing homophobia that Destiny Church leaders and members continue to openly express with both fervor and hatred.

So, who benefits from a group of heterosexual Māori male politicians standing on such a stage? Not one of those Māori men challenged the underpinning homophobia and misogyny that is espoused by Brian Tamaki. Rather it was avoided like the plague. What does that say to the many Māori gay and lesbian people within our whānau? It says that yet again we are easily sacrificed for 0.5% of the vote.

Dr Leonie Pihama
Māori And Indigenous Analysis Ltd.
Fulbright Scholar, Indigenous Wellness Research Institute, University of Seattle.

It is never ok to spread hatred towards people on the basis of their sexual orientation, and those who do should never receive the support (either explicitly or implicitly) of Maori politicians.  The Destiny Church should not be supported by Maori politicians, it should be criticised and ostracised from the Maori political debate.  We, as Maori men, need to realise that just as it is not ok to hit our partners or our children, nor is it ok to hate others because of their sexual orientation.  Sadly, our political leaders did not live up to that ideal over the weekend.

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