Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Big News: PM Out Of Touch With God

“Please Prime Minister – keep reading your bible, keep saying your prayers, keep listening to God” – Anglican clergyman.

Big News With Dave Crampton

Well its official, sort of. The Prime Minister is out of touch with God. The leader of the nation has been publicly accused by a prominent Anglican clergyman as being “out of touch with God” and was told to “spend more time with the Bible looking for guidance from Jesus”. Ha! The clergyman who made the accusation was told by the PM he should not presume to interpret God’s will too narrowly. The clergyman’s response: “ Hey, it was meant to be an encouragement.”

Now before you decide to question Helen Clark’s relationship with Jesus, (or lack of one) you need to know it was Aussie PM John Howard who was the subject of the accusation. The comments were made by Anglican Archbishop-elect Peter Jensen just 48 hours after his election - made as a result of Howard’s constant refusal to apologise to the Aboriginal “stolen generation”. He didn’t muck around. Told Howard he should apologise for the stolen generation and to stop calling asylum seekers “illegal immigrants”. Said he’d tell him to his face later on, too.

The whole Jensen, the Howard and God scenario made the front pages of Aussie papers for a week. Now when was the last religion made the front pages of an Australasian newspaper for a week? In NZ- never! Well, maybe a sex scandal may do it. Mind you, what right has the Anglican leader telling the PM what to do, politicians ask? Why can’t he keep Church separate from state?

Well, for a start Howard is part of the flock. He, too, is an Anglican. So is Jensen’s brother who stood down from election. Howard has been one of his parishoners. Secondly, if politicians don’t want the church to stick their nose into their own political affairs, they should keep their nose out of church affairs – like the unsuccessful attempt in stopping the Uniting Church in opening a heroin injecting room for Kings Cross addicts.

When Jensen was asked by reporters if Howard was out of step with the community in refusing to apologise to the aboriginal people, he replied “ it doesn’t concern me whether Mr Howard is out of step with the community, the question is, is he out of step with God?”

But Jensen may well be out of step with his Primate Peter Carnley. Like most Anglican leaders Carnley is dead against against laity administering holy communion. He is against gay marriage, women bishops, and anything else the Archbishop of Canterbury says he should be against. Jensen seems to have the line that any male can administer communion, so can any woman as long as they’re not a priest. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay and celibate or straight and sexual, as long as you’re not a woman you can be a priest. In fact Sydney, the richest, most conservative, and one of the biggest dioceses of the Anglican Church almost got kicked out of the Anglican Communion a while back on the issue laity administering communion. Gee, if that happened the priests wouldn’t be able to do it either! Jensen says the issue is being treated with more seriousness than women bishops. “There is nothing whatever in the Bible about who should preside over Holy Communion,” he says.

At least he appears to be leading the Prime Minister by example in reading his Bible.

Jensen is not the only Anglican leader to have been in the news lately. The Archbishop of Brisbane is to become the next Governor General. The Archbishop of Adelaide led cricketer Don Bradman’s funeral service, the Archbishop of Sydney retires, and the Archbishop of Perth wrote for The Bulletin about Easter. Only Melbourne’s Archbishop misses out.

Sydney -sin city to some – has now two new conservative Archbishops. Catholic Archbishop George Pell transferred from Melbourne to Sydney earlier this year, and all the gays chanted “go to hell, George Pell” outside one large Christian rally recently to welcome him to his position. He’s so conservative he’d have to get assistance to change a light bulb.

Mind you, at least Jensen is not smoothing the pillow of a dying church without the intellectual guts to publicly stand up and speak what he believes to be the truth in a way which people can respond favourably to. Which is more than I can say for NZ priests and church leaders.

God, the Bible and Christ have been on every front page in Sydney. Meanwhile in New Zealand God, the Devil and Bob are on afternoon TV, and the BBC’s Son of God claims Jesus was born in a cave. Well, as long as it was a “stable” cave. It’s as close to religion as it gets down here – apart from Samoans in Auckland being locked out of their church and going to court over it. But that’s politics, not religion. Seeya.

- Dave Crampton is a Wellington-based freelance journalist, in addition to writing for Scoop he is the Australasian correspondent for He can be contacted at

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news