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A Tennis Ball Can Bring A Man Down

Reformation Testimony
Garnet Milne PhD

A Tennis Ball Can Bring A Man Down

During the Civil Union debate, the then associate Justice Minister David Benson-Pope claimed that civil unions “do not undermine anyone’s rights” and that those opposed to the bill are really against the folk who would benefit from its provisions. It appears that he is someone very concerned for the rights of others.

Benson-Pope urged tolerance of those of us opposed to homosexual marriage. However this was hypocritical. We were exercising our God-given right to freedom of speech on this matter. Apparently we have to allow everyone else their opinion, but Christians are not allowed to disagree. Benson-Pope showed intolerance towards Christians and Christian ethics. No doubt he has in mind a definition of tolerance which would seek to silence the Christian voice. His government has bought into the definition of tolerance found in the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance, Proclaimed and signed by the Member States of UNESCO on 16 November 1995. New Zealand was one of the signatories. The UNESCO (an arm of the UN – an organisation that is no friend to Christianity) definition is unambiguous when it comes to excluding Christians:
1.3 Tolerance is the responsibility that upholds human rights, pluralism (including cultural pluralism), democracy and the rule of law. It involves the rejection of dogmatism and absolutism and affirms the standards set out in international human rights instruments.

Notice that this definition rejects dogmatism and absolutism. This means that it rejects any moral law that comes from God by way of fiat. This naturally outlaws the Ten Commandments found in the Holy Scriptures. Naturally, it argues for the exclusion from the public square those of us who want to see decent Christian values maintained - values which once underpinned and characterized our civil laws and social ethics.

However, the hypocrisy of this definition is obvious, because the UN and Benson-Pope and his Labour and Green colleagues do not exclude a certain type of absolutism and dogmatism at all. The form of absolutism they retain is the “absolute” value that Christians and others who hold to absolutes in morals are intolerant, and by implication should be silenced. One of the ways this new UN definition of “tolerance” underpins Benson-Pope’s thinking is the manner in which he individuates social ethics. He pleads: "I have asked, and will continue to ask, how removing discrimination against people who do not wish to marry, or who cannot marry, impacts on the daily lives of anyone else?" He was effectively proposing that we are not our brother’s keeper and that we should only be worried about our own immediate circumstances and not the spiritual damage legalising homosexual marriage might do to both the homosexual and society as a whole.

We might paraphrase Benson-Pope in this way: “How does eliminating corporal punishment from schools impact on the daily life of anyone else?” We would argue that eliminating corporal punishment from schools creates and nurtures a climate of disobedience and arrogance among the pupils attending school, an arrogance towards authority structures which continues into their adult life. Indeed the elimination of corporal punishment has gotten Mr Benson-Pope into a lot of trouble. This is what happens when you shift the moral goal posts. The use of corporal punishment must be kept in the bounds of commonsense, and not constitute cruelty, but it is very beneficial in training the ill-disciplined to have respect for others, and to make clear that certain behaviour is unacceptable in a civilised society.

Benson-Pope could have prevented his present predicament if he had admitted the allegations against him. Certainly, he seems to have gone too far with his punishment, but most New Zealanders would have more respect for him if he had admitted his excesses and better still affirmed the need for corporal punishment to be reintroduced. Of course, he could not make such a politically incorrect affirmation and so embarrass Helen Clark and the rest of his feminist and homosexual colleagues who do not want discipline but moral anarchy in New Zealand society.

This affair also shows how in God’s providence no matter how much atheistic men think they can control history, God can bring a proud man down with a small thing like a tennis ball.


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