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Accusations of Satanism show nature of pro s59'ers

27 February 2006

Accusations of Satanism reveal nature of pro s59 campaign

An article by the pastor of a Wanganui church sent widely around New Zealand has alleged that Green MP Sue Bradford is "under the control of Satan" because she is advocating the repeal of section 59 of the Crimes Act.

"This reminds me of the campaign against the Prostitution Reform Bill when equally hysterical and medieval claims were made, for example by fundamentalist Catholics telling us we were going straight to hell," Ms Bradford says.

The article by Pastor Garnet Milne, 'Repealing section 59; or why is the Devil beating the New Zealand family with a Green stick?', suggests that Ms Bradford, and other politicians who support her Bill, are acting under the control of Satan because they wish to "attack the righteous ways of God across the board," "seek to remove discipline from the family", and "interfere with the biblical responsibility of a parent to discipline his children."

While obviously extreme, these comments are indicative of a misleading claim made by pro section 59 lobbyists that repealing section 59, which allows the use of "reasonable force" when disciplining children, removes all right of parents to effectively discipline their children.

"This is simply not the case. There are many safer and more effective methods of disciplining children than using force. There are numerous examples, such as the woman in Timaru whose use of a riding crop against her son was accepted by a jury as 'reasonable,' of children being seriously harmed and abused with the sanction of the law. This is what we are advocating the removal of, not the right, biblical or otherwise, of a parent to discipline their child," Ms Bradford says.

"Garnet Milne can call me a Satanist all he likes. All he achieves is to further discredit the lobby against this Bill which seeks to paint it as something it is not. Sadly, he also misrepresents the views of many Christians who do not hold such extreme and hysterical views", Ms Bradford says.

Submissions on Sue Bradford's bill to repeal section 59 of the Crimes Act close tomorrow Tuesday 28 February with the Justice and Electoral Select Committee at Parliament.

ENDS

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