Sunday, May 11, 2008

Family First: For God & Country

Family First are currently fronting a massive media campaign in an attempt to achieve the 300,000 threshold necessary to initiate a referendum. The petition needed 280,275 signatures to force a referendum, but recently fell short after 13% were excluded because they were either illegible, the signatory's date of birth could not be confirmed, or involved people who signed multiple times (perhaps the liberal application of the wooden spoon is needed to remind signatories to be honest?)

Family Firsts latest ‘beef’: the new smacking law.

All this effort, expense and melodrama for a non-binding referendum, seems wasted to most neutrals. A recent N.Z Police report stated they receive on average, just one complaint per week in relation to smacking. Scaremongering ‘the courts would be full of cases of good parents being treated as criminals’ have come to nought. In fact based on these statistics, and the disinterest by N.Z Police to change the new law, you’d have to wonder what all the fuss is all about?

To background this, Family First are a thinly veiled Christian Political pressure group. Their leader Bob McCoskie (pictured below) says his organisation is “the voice of the family, it’s not the voice for Christianity”. Then in the next breath goes on to say “but you’re right, people involved in it have a Christian background”. That’s like Martin Bormann stating “Hey, we are not Nazi’s, we’re National Socialists”.

To give Family First their dues, they are very media savy and have made headlines with some regularity & some what laboriously in the same vein as past self-styled moral guardians. The Media know where to go to ‘get a bite’ and I guess it’s a bit hard these days getting interviews with Graham Capill (incarcerated) & Patricia Bartlett (r.i.p). Family First fill this ‘chicken little’ vacuum nicely.

F.F is the group which wanted the public to boycott Hells Pizza chain after their ‘Condom’ promotion. Personally I would have thought the name alone would have been enough to scare-off Bob and his righteous bunch.

F.F wanted ‘Californication’ taken from our T.V screens and the way to do this was to rally support, in the form from a boycott on advertisers who dared showed their wares during breaks in the programme.

F.F protested against ‘The Boobs on Bikes’ and tried to ruin the titillation (pun intended) for bunking schools-boys.

F.F successfully had an Aid’s Foundation magazine advert banned. Those naughty guys at the Foundation had a picture of a penis of all things. And god forbid, to make thing worse – it was regaling in a bright coloured condom!

F.F warned parents of teenagers of the evils of the internet by targeting . Never heard of it? Well neither had I. But after a quick preview, it didn’t make my muster in terms of porn content so it won’t be going on my ‘favourites’. F.F didn’t outright ask to ban the site, rather ‘filter’ it.

Bob himself, complained to The Broadcasting Standards Authority in 2005 about the use of the words “ass” & “wanker” in an episode of the cartoon The Simpsons. BSA dismissed the complaint ruling the words we used in a satirical rather than abusive manner. This is the view most balanced New Zealanders would take to comedy.

So you’ll see from their track record, F.F are right into bans, boycotts and censorship.

The exception being: smacking. On the subject of belting ones own child in the privacy of ones home, F.F have the audacity to trot-out the line “this is Nanny State telling us what to do”.

Parents have a god given right to smack their brats, but not to settle down in their lounges and watch some crappy melodrama, staring the guy out of the X-Files, who’s got ‘a thing’ for nuns.

There’s of course a grand reason why F.F carry on in this contradictory & duplicitous fashion. It’s called ‘The Bible’. Biblical texts are F.F’s sole compass and where it points F.F tear off like a rabid pack of hounds chasing a fox.

‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ sound familiar to anyone?

F.F camouflage their agenda behind warm fuzzy terms like - ‘traditional values’.

They want us to return to those romantic by-gone days (re-runs of The Walton’s anyone?) and get families eating dinner together. Never mind if dad takes his belt to the kids for not eating their brussel-sprouts.

One thing that get’s any Christian Pressure group frothing at the mouth, is homosexuality, and F.F is no different.

“If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” [Leviticus 20:13]

Now F.F are politically astute enough not to come straight out and ‘doom those evil gays & lesbians to hells eternal flames’. Instead they veil their agenda under headings like ‘Children Deserve Better’. in which they outline principals in flowery terms like ‘the natural family is the union of a man or a woman’.

Loving Parents can only be ones that are married. End of story.

And don’t dare mention ‘Civil Unions’. Dear oh dear. Unmarried couples will never do.

They also take delight telling the heathen secular community what to do with their reproductive organs. Putting them into condoms isn’t one of them.

F.F rallied against teens being vaccinated for cervical cancer - because it could be unsafe for the woman’s ‘moral character’. A comforting thought to cling to for the victims & their families struck down by this killer.

Effectively if Family First can’t get you to accept the word of Jesus - they’ll pressure politicians legislate accordingly.

One can only hope (praying is naturally a waste of time) Family First will go the way of The Christian Heritage Party.

Oblivion or behind bars.

Footnote; More evidence of the ineptitude of ecclesiastical politicians came with parliamentary vote to make the smacking an offence. Let’s not forget Gordon Copeland gave his reason for leaving United Future, as a difference of opinion on the yet to be passed smacking bill. But where was the freshly independent MP Copeland, when the bill was being passed and the vote was being taken? He wasn’t even in the house! That’s right he missed the final vote.

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