Sunday, March 14, 2021

Terry Bellamak, The Spinoff and the anti-abortion terrorists

The online news and comment site The Spinoff published an opinion piece a few days ago by Terry Bellamak, the president of Abortion Rights Aotearoa, entitled Why we need safe areas outside abortion clinics.

It was written in support of a Bill that would create 150-metre “safe zones” (that word “safe” again, implying that people’s physical wellbeing might be at risk when the only life imperilled is that of an unborn child) around premises where abortions are provided.

The introductory blurb above Bellamak’s piece said these zones would ensure pregnant women wanting abortions don’t have to be confronted by “angry mobs” (really??) outside clinics.

The Bill, introduced by Labour MP Louisa Wall – no doubt with the approval, if not the active encouragement, of prime minister Jacinda Ardern and health minister Andrew Little – would make it illegal to “intimidate or obstruct” women attending abortion clinics. It would also outlaw attempts to communicate with patients “in a manner … likely to cause emotional distress”.

The Bill is a mopping-up exercise aimed at taking care of business that was left unfinished when Parliament abolished restrictions on abortion last year. Abortion activists wanted "safe zones" included in that legislation, but were thwarted by what Bellamak calls a “procedural misstep”.

On a conscience vote, Wall’s Bill passed its first reading on Wednesday night by a margin of 100 to 15, with two abstentions. But that’s not necessarily an indication of its level of support, because some MPs probably want the Bill to proceed to a select committee so they can then propose changes.

ACT, whose nine MPs voted for the Bill on its first reading, is said to oppose (as it should) the provision barring attempts to communicate with abortion patients, on the grounds that it’s an infringement of free speech rights. Rather embarrassingly, Attorney-General David Parker has found himself forced to agree. In the report that he was required to provide on the implications of the Bill, Parker said it appeared inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression guaranteed in Section 14 of the Bill of Rights Act. But don’t expect that minor technicality to impede its progress.

Now, back to The Spinoff. The hysterical reference in the introductory blurb to “angry mobs” was a clue to the tone of Bellamak’s piece, in which she talks of abortion patients fearing “escalation to violence”.

But if you take the trouble to follow the links that supposedly substantiate Bellamak’s fears of incipient violence from anti-abortion fanatics, they all refer to situations that have occurred in America – in other words, utterly irrelevant to the New Zealand experience.

If there was evidence that women attending New Zealand abortion clinics had been threatened or menaced, you’d expect Bellamak to cite them. The fact that she has to refer to American examples is telling. The one New Zealand instance of violence relating to abortion that she cites was the act of a plainly disturbed man who assaulted Greens co-leader James Shaw – an offence unrelated to vigils outside clinics.

Bellamak, of course, is herself American, and has introduced a strident American element to the abortion debate in New Zealand. This is probably not helpful, since the issue is strained enough without the introduction of American-style extremism and hyperbole.

Unfortunately, being passive people, New Zealanders tend to let the loud and assertive take over, which is what appears to have happened to Abortion Rights Aoteroa. But as long as we’re stuck with Bellamak, surely the least she could do is deal with the situation as it applies here, not in Colorado or Arizona.

So what’s the reality in New Zealand? As it happens, I have a sister and niece who regularly maintain a vigil outside a provincial abortion clinic. As my sister describes it to me, their presence is essentially passive. “Generally we say ‘hello’ to passers-by but get into further conversation only if they respond,” she tells me. “We follow their lead.”

If the girl or woman is receptive, she says, they offer information on alternatives to abortion, such as adoption, and practical or emotional support through the pregnancy. They also pray and display posters (of the most inoffensive kind, in my sister’s words, although of course others may decide they’re “unsafe”). But most women attending the clinic are in cars anyway, so the protesters’ presence (although my sister doesn’t think of herself as a protester) is purely visual.

“Any ‘harassing’ or bullying’,” she adds. “is done not by us, but to us, by people passing in cars, on foot, on bikes.”

No one attending the clinic is obstructed, confronted or shouted at, then? “Never, never, never.”

So the Bill before Parliament, quite apart from the issues it raises in relation to free speech, may be based on a wildly distorted and exaggerated version of what actually happens “on the ground”.

Though I’m strongly opposed to abortion, as readers of this blog will know, I’ve never stood outside a clinic and probably wouldn’t. But I respect those who do, and I understand why they put themselves “out there” (literally). One reason is that many women and girls referred for abortion have been given the impression there’s no alternative. No one has offered them support if they want to continue the pregnancy. The protesters (I’m sorry, but I can’t think of another word) are letting them know they have options that “the system” doesn’t tell them about.

As an aside, it’s funny how the Left, which has always vigorously asserted the right to protest – sometimes violently, and often without regard for the rights of others, such as freedom of movement – wants to deny that right to others now that it’s in a position of power. Same old same old, as they say.

But don’t expect The Spinoff to acknowledge there are two sides to this story. The last time Bernard Moran, former president of Voice for Life, wrote to The Spinoff rebutting something Bellamak had written, Spinoff editor Toby Manhire replied that he preferred to believe Bellamak.

There’s an open mind for you, fearlessly committed to the pursuit of truth and the contest of ideas.

I can probably do no better here than quote from an email Moran sent to Manhire last Tuesday.

“I see Terry Bellamak is at it again unchallenged in yesterday’s Spinoff,” Moran wrote.

“Again I make the point: if our people behaved as she alleges, they would be creating a public nuisance and disorder.

“That would justify the clinics calling the police. It doesn’t happen.

“What she wrote is a series of fantasies. She presumably gets away with it because people at The Spinoff appear to believe that’s the way 'anti-abortionists' would behave.”

And this, from Moran’s previous letter to Manhire on March 6, 2019:

“You have run another oped by ALRANZ’s Terry Bellamak today and she makes serious and very damaging allegations without mentioning Voice for Life.

“But your outraged readers will naturally think our members are responsible.

“She says pro-lifers stand outside clinics and shout ‘whore!’, ‘murderer!’ and throw plastic foetuses at the women entering.

“We have had to put up with this damaging smear tactic for decades and like the Himalayan Yeti, we never ever get credible evidence of who is doing it, when and where.

“I’ll give you an example. Back in 2014, the Abortion Supervisory Committee, without checking with us, went public with similar accusations which were reported in the media.

“As the national president of Voice for Life, I immediately phoned the secretary and asked for evidence, which was refused.

“I then wrote to the committee saying that we took this very seriously and would expel any member who behaved as alleged – and asked for any evidence. They refused to provide any.

“Faced with this Kafka-like obduracy, Right to Life and Voice for Life requested the Ombudsman to investigate.

“The Ombudsman reported back that the committee couldn’t provide them with any evidence apart, from vague ‘verbal complaints’ from abortion clinic staff.

“I carried out an audit of our branches in 2014 and questioned those involved in prayer vigils outside clinics. They were adamant that such allegations were baseless.

“OK, so I carried out another survey in November, 2018. This was just after four Wellington High School students lodged a petition with Parliament calling for ‘exclusion zones’ to prevent anti-abortion protesters ‘harassing’ women seeking legal abortions.

“I discovered that Pro-Life Action operates in Wellington and they have one member, MH, who also is in Voice for Life. [Full name deleted by me – KduF.]

 “I contacted MH and she emailed back: ‘I take a sign which says ‘Pregnant? Anxious? Confused? Unsure?’ and sit on the concrete wall on the left side of the hospital driveway. I only speak if someone approaches me and wants to talk.”

“Christchurch – nothing going on.

“Dunedin used to have a Friday prayer vigil with a few pensioners.

“Invercargill: ‘We have a group of 8-10 people who meet each week near our hospital for one hour on a street corner. We have a banner and simple pro-life placards. We do not harass anyone.’

“That report is from Norman Maclean, a former head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Southland Hospital.

“Thames has a small group of pensioners who meet on a street corner every Friday morning when abortions are performed. They pray and in their seven years there, three babies have been saved when their mothers stopped to talk and changed their minds.

“Hastings has a group of two young women and one guy who meet outside the hospital. So far 33 babies have been confirmed saved (their mothers sent photos or brought them along as toddlers).

“Now if pro-lifers were behaving in the way Terry Bellamak claims in The Spinoff, that would be real harassment (public disorder) and the clinic staff would be justified in calling the police. We are not aware of that happening.

“Once again we are playing catch up to baseless allegations. Bellamak is never challenged to provide chapter-and-verse evidence.”

Moran has now followed up with a stronger letter to Duncan Greive, founder and managing editor of The Spinoff, in which he wrote:

“I was the national president of Voice for Life from 2011 to 2017, so I had a ring-side seat to judge the veracity of Terry Bellamak’s allegations.

“She wrote about mobs of protesters shouting abuse and throwing plastic foetuses at vulnerable women – surely assault and a police matter.

 “I imagine your readers would have been appalled at the antics of these anti-choice Brown Shirts – that’s us. But was it true?

“Well, as true as me writing that Duncan Greive and Toby Manhire wear MAGA caps at home, secretly attend Brian Tamaki’s Destiny Church, beat their wives and are cruel to animals.”

Moran continued: “I’ve had many years experiencing Terry Bellamak’s tactics.

“She’s a very smart operator, ran her own technology company in New York contracting to Goldman Sachs and now a lawyer in Wellington.

“Terry appears to be from the ‘whatever it takes’ school and she plays to win.

“She obviously recognises that the editorial staff at The Spinoff are sympatico with her cause and ready to assist.

“That’s why as a real New Yorker she sold you the Brooklyn Bridge of tales about anti-abortion protesters, knowing you would buy it without checking or questioning.

“In March 2019, she did the same thing and I responded to Toby Manhire with a two-page rebuttal. He replied dismissively that he preferred to believe Terry Bellamak.

“I re-sent the rebuttal to him last Tuesday as a reminder. You can ask him for it.

“It’s galling for us to be subjected to such awful falsehoods, knowing that you two guys accepted them at face value – that you both wanted to believe them. Otherwise you would have done some basic checking with us and the police.

“I’m sorry to have to say this, but the historical example for what you have perpetrated on us are the editorial and journalistic values of Der Stürmer*.”

I leave it to readers of this blog to decide who’s the more credible.

*Der Stürmer: a rabble-rousing pro-Nazi paper in Hitler’s Germany.

Footnote: I have corrected a reference to Norman Maclean. The original version of this post said he had been head of O and G at Southland Hospital for 40 years. He was with the department for 40 years, but in charge for 10.


Brendan McNeill said...


King Herod’s ‘slaughter of the innocents’ pales by comparison to what takes place daily in our abortion clinics. It ought to be a cause of national shame, but instead is celebrated mainly by women to who carry the gift of nurturing new life into the world. The bill of rights ought to protect those who peacefully protest the destruction of the unborn, but we shall see what happens.

There is now an abortion industry supported by big pharmaceutical companies who ‘harvest’ aborted foetal tissue for commercial gain. I have been researching the status of the four Covid-19 vaccines purchased by our Government - details here:

And their status with respect to the use of aborted foetal tissue in the various stages of development production and testing - you can find all the details here:

For those not wanting to sift through the websites for the data, they suggest two of the four vaccines purchased by the NZ government use HEK293 foetal tissue for testing only. Two of the vaccines use foetal tissue through all phases, as noted below:

What Are HEK293 Cells?

HEK293 cells are Human Embryonic Kidney cells, originally isolated and grown by Dutch biologist Alex Van der Eb in the early 1970s.

1) Pfizer/BioNTech HEK293 cells (testing only - not in development or production)

2) Janssen Pharmaceutica (Johnson & Johnson (Foetal tissue used in all phases)

3) Novavax HEK293 cells (testing only - not in development or production)

4) AstraZeneca (Foetal tissue used in all phases)

While two of the four vaccines are higher on the ethical scale than the other two, it appears that none are entirely free from using foetal tissue in any stage of their process. I have queried the Ministry of Health on their intentions with respect to the purchase of ethically produced vaccines, that is to say vaccines that don’t use foetal tissue in any part of their supply chain and await their response.

Unsurprisingly, this issue appears to be unimportant to the mainstream media.

Russell Parkinson said...

A very good post. I am pleased to see how well these anti abortionists are doing. I didn't realise they had this level of success. It must take great courage to get out there every day.

The rest of the article is unfortunately of no surprise.

I find it quite bizarre that the whole world is ripping itself apart over Covid which has killed around 2.5M people yet according the the WHO 40-50 million unborn children are killed each year.

I also find it bizarre that the left promote abortion and Euthanasia, effectively the killing of our most vulnerable members of society, yet are opposed to capital punishment, killing our worst. Not that I support any of them but the hypocrisy is bewildering.

I wonder if in a few hundred years time society will look back on this age like we do the slave traders of a couple of hundred years ago.

The other big question is, is this another sign that the left are winning easily?

Handsome B. Wonderful said...

The extent of my personal involvement in pro-life activisim is giving prepared speeches and orations at high school on the extreme immorality of aborting disabled pre-born babies (e.g. Down syndrome), and then later writing submissions to select committees stating the same. I have a disabled brother, so this is an issue close to my heart. My wife's family has been more involved in marches and vigils over the years, and the only vigils I've ever seen are candlelit, quiet and prayerful. I donate monthly to The John Paul II Centre for Life in Christchurch—they try to get in contact with women who are contemplating abortion, and surround them with practical help to choose life; the support for those women and children doesn't stop at birth.

I wonder if Bellamak has ever spoken to a child or adult who benefitted from its mother changing her mind on abortion. I know of no more powerful witness.

I further hope Bellamak notes her hypocrisy: enforcing a "safe-zone" is an act of violence by proxy. To disobey it would invite police intervention, which includes the option of arrest. To arrest a non-violent protestor is itself an act of violence, one that is properly justified only in response to violence. As Right to Life points out, there is precisely zero evidence of any violence at pro-life vigils in New Zealand. Bellamak is therefore trying to legislate for the introduction of violence, in the cause of defending the ultimate violence of abortion.

Hilary Taylor said...

I steer clear of The Spinoff. Trial & error, Grieve & Manhire can teach me nothing except what fine wokesters they are. But...pretty sure our 20-somethings receive their 'wisdom' from there. When their mother isn't putting them straight, lol.
Interesting about Bellamak here. The older I get the more nuanced my views about abortion. Doubt my 63 yr -old-self would consider one, whereas my 20-something self may've. Hindsight, can't really tell. Wasn't faced with it, thanking my lucky stars & good sense about contraception, something that stuns me is still so imperfectly grasped in the new C.
Nothing for those brave souls acting on their consciences in NZ to be ashamed of or activities need curbing by the might of the state.

Phil said...

The one that really got me was that our MPs envisaged situations where a baby could survive an abortion and be born alive. They then decided to pass a law that these babies should be left to starve to death. I assume this is to avoid a situation where a doctor is forced to directly murder a living baby. Of course the NZ media suppressed this little gem of evil.

CXH said...

The subject of abortion is a personal judgement that in likelihood changes year to year, circumstance to circumstance.

The real subject is surely how modern media twist truth, opinion and fact to suit their own agenda. The concept of fake news is only of use when it is those that have different ideas. Trump being the most obvious bringer of fake news was continuously called on it, which I have no problem with. The problem is people like Grieve and Manhire are happy to accept Fakenews as long as it supports their view on how the world should be. They are content to promote fakenews when it works in their favour, yet are still happy to unleash the outrage on anything anti, even if it is not fake.

A sad indictment of what has become acceptable behaviour. Lying and cheating is okay as long as it is for your side.

Andy Espersen said...

I am glad to hear you are “pro-life”, Karl - no, I never knew. Looking back on a long life I note that the only protest march I have ever been on was an anti-abortion march here in Nelson many years ago.

This actually adds to my respect for you – your attitude to life is one of sereneness, humility and ethics. A thought comes to my mind : you are, most likely, also “pro-death” – in as much as in this age of panic and fear about death (e.g. Covid, Climate change, tsunamis), you humbly will accept your death when it comes. You are the sort of grandfather who will resent being locked up in a rest home and banned from seeing your children and grandchildren – just to protect you from possibly dying now, rather than later. You are the sort of ethical person who thinks it is basically wrong to ruin a country’s economy and cause untold misery and pain to so many by forcing you to stay at home and to cease working gainfully on your chosen legal occupation – just to avoid some people dying natural deaths.

Am I right?

Odysseus said...

@ Phil. Yes, Parliament's vote against providing assistance to a child aborted alive illuminated the evil at the heart of Woke politics. Infanticide is now legal in New Zealand, in the cruelest way possible. But remember always to "Be Kind".

hughvane said...

The Wildlife Act (1953) protects most native species from hunting. The penalty for killing protected wildlife is up to 2 years in prison or a fine up to $100,000.

I try not to be involved in the pro-life and anti-abortion debate and activities, I am not a parent, but I bridle at the obscene hypocrisy of our lawmakers (see above).

By some bizarre rationale - and it can only come from the 'woke' (I HATE that word), an unborn child is separated from 'protects' or 'protected' (as applied to NZ wildlife).

Could someone please explain.

Unknown said...

I find your disdain for Bellamak's "American-style extremism and hyperbole" to be rather cute. Had the names of people and places been changed, I would have no trouble believing that this was penned by any run of the mill middle aged white conservative columnist in the good ol' US of A. *Almost* as cute as your sister not thinking of herself as a protestor, as she actively protests the decisions of others. It's only a vigil if you're mourning. It's a protest if you're hoping to stop something.

Karl du Fresne said...

If I'm going to engage in debate on this blog I want to know who I'm engaging with. I've published this anonymous comment but won't necessarily do the same for others.

Andy Espersen said...

As I understand it, Karl’s article just sets out to defend the right to protest openly against the “normalisation” of abortions – i.e. blithely to look at the killing of a baby as were it similar to pulling out a rotten tooth. Some women claim that embryos belong to them – like rotten teeth. Karl’s sister and niece just want the freedom to argue openly that there is a qualitative difference between a rotten tooth and a living baby - and that the consequences for a young (usually teenage) woman killing her baby may be terribly damaging to her as a person later.

To be generally pro-life does not imply the opinion that abortions are wrong in every case. Each case is really a case of personal judgement (as stated by CXH above). But it must be judged, I think, using an ethical yardstick.

Annette Arundel said...

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS - THE Solution to fix our broken down world?


Worldometer Abortions worldwide today so far this year 8,822,073 and climbing by the second -

An estimated 56 million women seek abortions each year; nurses and midwives are commonly involved in their care - that’s approximately the population of Italy -

A total of 12,857 abortions were performed in New Zealand in 2019 according to NZ Gov Stats. Stats after 2019 seem to not be readily available.

Dr Anthony Levatino - Abortion Procedures 1,2 & 3 Trimester

If it's not a baby, how then can a woman be pregnant?
And to be ripped out of the safest place on earth - SURELY THIS IS THE WORST HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE OF OUR TIMES.

Andy Espersen said...

You are so right, Annette Arundel. If all of us, including our legislators, followed a moral compass in all our actions, our “broken world” would indeed be healed - and cynical, immoral amendments to our abortion laws would never stand a chance.

Just recently (under a woke government) NZ parliament scrapped its customary prayer at the beginning of each session. This serene, humble acceptance of the need of spiritual, ethical guidance in all our actions was unquestioned right from the outset. Indeed, the decision to have a prayer before each session was the very first decision made by NZ parliament in its very first sitting so many years ago.

Kimbo said...

I note Annette Arundel’s version of the 10 commandments is the Roman Catholic reworking that omits the original biblical prohibition on idolatry found in the Second Commandment:

“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of heaven above or on the earth beneath or the waters below.

You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
(Exodus 20: 4-6, Deuteronomy 5: 8-10).

Leaving aside the grievous presumption of altering Holy Scripture because one’s worship tradition is in obvious contraction, might I suggest: be careful what you wish for. If a Decalogue-inspired theocracy was instituted, it won’t just be abortions that will stop, or rather driven underground. Instead, the outlawing of Papist worship and the destruction and iconoclasm of the English Reformation c. 1536-41 would be also be on the cards. There is one particular statue of Mary outside the Roman Catholic Church I pass each day on the way to work that on occasion, and when I’m not exercising sufficient self-control especially arouses my Protestant Calvinist ire. Indeed, I’ve often fantasised that it is a perfect match for my sledge hammer...or at least a picketing campaign...sorry, silent vigil against the sin of idolatry.

Then again, maybe best to respect and allow (ir)religious diversity and freedom (which was Karl’s original point), and steer clear of the presumption one’s personal views concerning morality and special revelation, abortion included, should have any purchase in the hearts and minds of those who do not share them. Much less engender any response other than scorn. But then I guess you weren’t looking to persuade those whose politics, ideology, morality and/or conscience dictates otherwise concerning abortion. So carry on preaching to the choir, rather than engaging in a meaningful way to shape public policy.

CXH said...

Andy, you appear to think that there is only one moral compass to follow. In reality each person has their own, none is the perfect one. I believe this is what Karl is talking about. We should each be allowed to put forward our own ideas on what is right without being silenced or shouted down.

There is no single way to create a perfect world, it is doubtful there is even such a thing. One person's perfection would be another person's hell.

Acceptance of differences and a willingness to compromise is the best we can hope for.

Karl du Fresne said...

I've published Kimbo's comment above in the interests of freedom of expression, but I should advise actual and prospective commenters that I don't intend to allow this site to become a forum for the airing of religious differences. Such debates can carry on interminably and are invariably futile.
To another commenter who wanted to pose a link to an abortion petition: I sympathise with your cause, as I'm sure you realise, but I don't want this site to be used to solicit support for specific undertakings. The one exception I make is for free speech.

Kimbo said...

Thanks for publishing my comment, Karl. And no, I wasn’t looking as such to spark a debate over religious differences. Instead, make the point that in issues of complex and hotly-debated public policy in a pluralistic country, including those concerning abortion, any claim to simplify and solve the issue by appeals to authority persuade no one “outside the tent”. Be it Papal law, a Protestant interpretation of Scripture, Marxist ideology, Maori spirituality, Woke Progressives-Liberal “kindness”, whatever...

And for the record I’m glad I live in a nation where my Roman Catholic friends and neighbours get to freely worship according to the dictates of their church and personal conscience. Or protest, including against a practice that troubles and grieves them. And despite my serious misgivings about abortion, including the numbers, on occasion and when I consider data in addition to the religious stridency that is part of my own Protestant tradition, I sometimes find myself preferring a nation where women are free to choose the option of terminating their pregnancy in a relatively safe manner compared to the “back street” practices of the past.

Andy Espersen said...

CXH – “Each person has their (sic) own [moral compass}” say you. The reality is rather that we all divide into a few groups, each holding on to a few easily identifiable “compasses”. Almost all our original settlers used the Christian compass – so stuck to that. The huge majority of Maori, by the way, almost immediately converted to Christanity – so when the Maori seats in parliament appeared, they joyfully joined in our customary parliamentary prayer (discarding their Karakia!).

Kimbo said...

@ Andy Espersen

The reality is rather that we all divide into a few groups, each holding on to a few easily identifiable “compasses”.

Fair enough, Andy. And might I suggest as per your accurate thumbnail sketch of the initial European settlement of New Zealand (although you omitted the original rough and ready whalers and sealers of the early 19th Century who helped turn Kororareka/Russell into the "hellhole of the South Pacific", rampant prostitution, drunkenness and bacchanalian orgies on the beach included), along with radical change wrought by the mass-conversion of Maori to Christianity in the 1830s, that your compass is derived, not so much from Christianity but rather...Christendom. The two are not the same, indeed the latter has been in likely terminal decline since at least 1789.

As a result, the various vestiges of Christendom such as Parliamentary prayer are being discarded largely without a whimper...other than from Christian religious conservatives. Who are, if voting for the risible supposed Christian political options that have arisen since Graham Capill in the mid-1990s, comprise much less than 5% of the populace, such that they would be prepared to put their vote where their mouth is on the issue of abortion.

And recalling the likes of Capill, or other prospective champions of a neo-Christendom such as Colin Craig or Brian and Hannah Tamaki raises the other concern if you have a Decalogue-inspired abortion-prohibiting theocracy: is there anyone sufficiently competent and ethical, including in extending sufficient tolerance to dissenters, who can run the sought-after theocracy? if they were given the option of telling us, I suspect the people of Iran and Saudi Arabia would choose otherwise. And when given the option of Capill, Craig and the Tamakis, most sensible voters have emphatically!

As per Martin Luther, "better to be ruled by a competent Turk than an incompetent Christian Prince". Or worse, as the original Christians were even prepared to consider Nero the servant of God (Roams 13:1-7).

Andy Espersen said...

Kimbo – You write well – but I am not quite sure I agree with your statement that the “[Maori conversion] was derived ......not so much from Christianity but rather ...Christendom”. Maori were an unusually warlike, physically courageous and fearless race – with a highly developed culture and with a language fully able to convey complex, abstract ideas. I cannot help comparing them with the Vikings (born and brought up in Denmark, I know a bit about these). The Vikings most certainly were not converted by just mindlessly copying superior cultures – they came back from their brutal, overseas raids completely blown by the ideas of "a Creator God of Love” - and “Loving your Enemies”; and in the 12th century returned to build churches all over Denmark – radically changing Danish culture for ever. Christianity represented a completely opposite attitude to life to their previous one.

Likewise stone age Maori fully grasped this, I believe.

CXH said...

Andy, again we are each different, or I hope so. I identify with many different groups depending on the subject in question. On some topics several as no one group completely aligns with my own thoughts. Left, right, religist, atheist, libertarian etc. all have ideas that make sense yet I find none of them have all the answers as they profess.

It is also why freedom to express different thoughts is so important. It allows me to consider the validity of my opinions when faced with a well articulated counter argument.