The fall from grace of United States evangelists Ted Haggard and George Rekers, are well known around the globe and bring a smirk to the face of any self-respecting secularist.
In 2005, New Zealand experienced a similar case of the Christian moral guardian ‘life of lies’ being exposed, and in this case his plummet from the moral high-ground, resulted in a ‘crash’ more spectacular than both Haggard and Rekers put-together.
'He' was Graham Capill, and for twelve years prior to his imprisonment for 12 years he led the fundamentalist Christian Heritage Party. At its peak, his Christian Heritage Party fell short of getting into Parliament by only a fraction of a decimal point at the 1996 general-election.
Four years later the parties support had dropped to 1.4 per cent – a decline Capill put down to a plot within Television New Zealand to deny him adequate coverage.
Frustrated at their lack of political success Christian Heritage/Christian Coalition had for some time sought for the threshold of 5 per cent (of party vote) to be reduced.
Over the years Capill has railed against erotic art, prostitution, the size of penises on Maori carvings, homosexuality, gay parenting, a mock crucifixion on Kiwi soap-opera ‘Shortland Street, pornography, The Toyota “bugger” adverts, South Park (both the series and the film), Hero Parade, Marilyn Manson’s tour, the child-smacking ban, liberalised prostitution, Dr Nitschke's visit to New Zealand, the paintings of Keith Haring, Virgin in a Condom sculpture, Family Planning distribution of condoms, award winning children’s book featuring two lesbian characters, the chief film censor, Ministry of Women, a workshop organised by The Post Primary Teachers Association for homosexual members, The United Nations, Repubilcanism, de-facto marriages, free birth control etc etc.
In December 1999 when asked to comment at the number of cabinet members who refused to swear on the Bible at their inauguration, he said it was "ominous (sign) for the country's future".
The month before, he warned New Zealanders of the "terrifying social crisis" – abortion, crime and single parents.
Capill was a staunch supporters of a ban on Easter shopping pointing to New Zealand’s Christian principles (1997) as the basis for continuing with the archaic tradition to deny business’s the right to open when they so choose. He also was the chief supporter of the right for parents to smack on the same-basis of Christian traditions and stated (29th January 1997) “God had given the power and responsibility to parents to train their children and sometimes smacking and strapping was called for”.
Capill, the man who was at one time in The Police Prosecutions Section in his capacity as a lawyer and is on record calling child-molesters “evil” – plead guilty (July 2005) to rape, unlawful sexual connection and three counts of indecent assault charges against two girls under 12.
Like Haggard and Rekers, Capill believed that gay people were inherently evil and could be ‘cured’ through Christian re-education.
At the same time Capill was calling for the introduction of Christian chastity programme for secondary school pupils, in which boys and girls would pledge to abstain from sex until they found a life partner, he was abusing an eight year old girl. One of his three victims (the oldest was 12) was a pupil at the Christian college at which the church minister-turned lawyer was preaching and ironically counselling as well.
“Anyone who uses children as a pawn in a game is playing for high stakes and needs to be careful," is what he told New Zealanders in 1999 in criticism of a radio competition run to ‘create a baby’.
In his trail summing-up, the judge highlighted the warped mind-set of Capill in respect to this victim, and his inability to distingush the boundaries between adult and child "You told the probation officer you were feeling lust and excitement when you were with (the victim). You had a high level of sexual arousal and your purpose was to get her to the point where she wanted sexual intercourse.”
Further evidence of Capills dangerous mental condition came out in an email to friends, in which the father of 10 said that sex with one of his young victims was consensual. In the same email he asked his friends to pray for a lenient judge and prison term before his sentencing.
As a boy he played violin with the National Youth Orchestra and also played the organ in Christchurch Cathedral.
In the court the day of his sentencing was spokeswoman for Lesbian Action For Visibility in Aotearoa, Ann Charlotte, a Christchurch woman who for years was dubbed "sexually perverted" by Graham Capill who made sure she was on hand to witness the fall of the now-disgraced moral crusader.
When I last heard Capill comes up for parole shortly.
Justifiably prior applications for parole have been refused.
Footnote: This song seemed strangely fitting...can’t think why?