Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Investigate Literary Supplement

My correspondent NZ Party Babe has drawn my attention to a remarkable piece of writing posted on The Briefing Room, "Investigate Magazine's breaking news forum." It is a polemic inspired by Nicky Hager's The Hollow Men, written by one Philip G Hayward. Unfortunately, Mr Hayward cannot keep to his subject and, affter a promising first paragraph, digresses into a lengthy bout of spluttering over the crimes of lefties that continues for many, many words with only glancing references to the book.

I appreciate that Fundy Post readers are busy people who are probably taking a well-earned rest from their work of subverting the institutions of this country to spend the Summer indulging in acts of debauchery and vile perversion. With this in mind, I have prepared a summary of Mr Hayward's polemic, using his own words in their original order. I hope readers will find what follows to be a useful service.

stooges, plants, and traitors -"Parliamentary Services"- Watergate-esque level of political espionage - Great Leader Helen Clark - sycophants who infest our media - our fine non-partisan Police - Chomsky/Pilger - Marxists - Trotskyites - tall poppy syndrome - media-dominating Left - "long march through the institutions" - leftist propaganda by our institutions - Hager and his ilk - average high school dropout career beneficiary - "proletariat" - neo-Stalinist conspiracy theorist - jobs provided - biased media - Al Gore - biggest confidence scam in history - providing for yourself and your family - paying taxes - valuable contributions to N.Z. society - private hospital - "compassionate Socialism" - Chris Trotter - massive scam - Socialist healthcare - decades of Communism - North Korea and Cuba - the Eric Hobsbawms and the Noam Chomsky's - victims of Socialism - Stalin - Mao - Pol Pot - Kim-Il Jong - control over the minds of ALL the school age youth - public education system - successfully subverted - unreformed featherbedding-ridden structures - teachers unions - Animal Farm - Marxist notions of "income redistribution" and "social justice" - "tear-down-the-rich" -Left-wing control through the media, education, bureaucracy, and other institutions - legislating against the principles of the freedom of speech - legions of full-time advocates - teachers, journalists, bureaucrats - beneficiaries with ample idle time - acolytes- beneficiaries, bureaucrats - vested interest - policies that provide them with their source of income - demographic crisis of unsustainability of Government spending - "liberal" causes - "fashionable" among many of the wealthier categories of people - George Soros, Bill Gates, Ted Turner, the Rockefeller foundation - some kind of "Great Satan" - "command economies" that have killed off millions - Richard Armitage -lefty polemic -American detainment camps for terrorists - murderers, rapists and assorted thugs - dysfunctional post-Christian liberal-socialist-experiment society - gulags for a minority group of religious dissidents - staunch Stalinist - breach of National's privacy - proprietors of modest small businesses - Goebbells tactic - shameful indication of the state of our democratic freedoms - sneaky little totalitarian - Michael Bassett - one real investigative journalist - Ian Wishart - death threats - Police Commissioner Peter Doone - upstanding New Zealander - "Chavismo" - throw the rule of law to the winds - hegemony over the loyalty of the masses. - Dominion ("Pravda") Post - real malfeasance

On the other hand, if you enjoyed Mr Hayward's work unabridged, let me direct you to his letters to the Capital Times, on such diverse topics as Christian Liberal-leftist Quisling revisionists, as well as muslims and not forgetting Atheists, moral relativists and secular humanists.

After all this, you may be wondering if Mr Hayward approves of anyone. He does: Haylee Westenra.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

More Brethren family values

Following yesterday's post about the activities of the Elect Vessel of the Exclusive Brethren, comes this gruesome story of attempts by Bruce Hales and other Brethren to cover up the sex crimes of one of their senior members.

It is not a pretty note on which to end the year.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Brethren Family Values

If Nicky Hager's The Hollow Men was your holiday reading, you may be wondering what might have happened had National won the General Election; having invested over a million dollars in their party of choice, what would the Exclusive Brethren have demanded in return?

An indication of what might have been comes from Australia. The Age has discovered that the Brethren met Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock last year, asking him to amend the Family Law Act to suit their purposes, so that a parent who left the Brethren would have no access rights to the children. The Brethren also wanted parenting plans, which normally are arranged after separation to ensure that parents have equal access, to become legally binding agreements that could be used to deny access in the event of a divorce. Fortunately, Mr Ruddock was not moved by the Brethren's pleas. Senator Bob Brown of the Green Party is demanding a Senate enquiry into the Brethren's activities. Watch this space.

The Age has also revealed that Bruce Hales, the Elect Vessel, threatened a 12 year-old girl that she would lose her mother if she saw her father. He also objected to the girl wearing jeans. Readers may remember the case of Vincent Field, the Nelson teenager who was removed from his parents by the Brethren. The Elect Vessel took a close interest in this matter as well, apparently promising that the Lord would arrange for the parents to be killed in a car accident.

Meanwhile The Age also reports that Brethren schools in Australia are reaping a harvest of Government money, as well as raising money through a chain of tyre stores.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Arrows of Desire

The guardians of moral decency often claim that we liberal leftie atheist types are fond of pervese practices such as swapping. It's true. For example, Philosophically Made is trying to arrange a book swap.

If you have a copy of The Hollow Men you can trade it for Bill O'Reilly's "Culture Warrior," which sounds like a good deal to me. As Philosophically Made notes, O'Reilly is a cultural warrior in defence of Christian values. As readers of The Smoking Gun will know, Bill's sword shall not sleep in his hand, so long as he has a loofah.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Fundy Post Newswire Christmas Special

Jingle Tills
We shall overcome.

KISS @ Christmas
Sound advice from Judith Tizard.

The 2006 Scoop Awards
It's that time of year again.

The real schismatics and bigots
Pat Buchanan froths about Anglican girl power.

Episcopalians Against Equality
What all the fuss is about.

Ordination of female priests and bishops in the worldwide Anglican Communion
The full story from Religious Tolerance.

The delicate balance between religion and politics
A Mormon thinks of running for President.

The rape of Europe
All the fault of us secularists, apparently.

Liberals never learn
More rightish rantings.

The Swedish, Norwegian and Scandinavian Branches of the Illuminati
As well as Zionist perverts and Jesuit parasites, to all of which the only solution is Nazism.

Alternative Three
The hoax that keeps on hoaxing.

Hell pizza, condoms and Christians.
Another blog on one of our favourite stories of the year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The return of the Durutti column

Back in the day, when I was Spokesman for the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists (Inc), I compiled the Fundy Post Newswire, which provided links to stories about the antics of our fundy friends. It was kinda fun, unlike most activities of the NZARH, which are kinda dull. For that reason it had to go, as did I.

Still, why should that stop us? We can put on the show right here in the barn!

Here are few headlines that might interest you. I can claim no credit, since Craig Young provided them all, but I will crank up the Google News Alerts and try to do this thing regularly. Comments and contributions from readers are welcome.

Brethren member guilty of indecently assaulting girl, 10 Why are we not surprised?

The Church vs the Mall: What Happens When Religion Faces Increased Secular Competition? Sin, that's what happens.

Fundamentalist churches in Fiji see links between coup makers and witchcraft That old black magic has Fiji in its spell

Don Brash Writes: Nicky Hager's book A Doctor writes

Court to decide on church-state split Democracy is not a faith-based initiative.

Soy to the World

Soy to the World: Craig Young, one of the Fundy Post's staunchest friends, has written for GayNZ about the revival of Soy madness. According to some Fundies, Soy milk makes your kids grow up peculiar: it is the natural source of queerness in boys and it will make a Lolita of your daughter. And what's more, the story starts with our own Ian Wishart. As Craig notes, it has resurfaced on World Net Daily, where author Jim Rutz makes a number of utterly untrue statements, including the claim that Soy Milk has been banned in New Zealand because it is carcinogenic and that Soy Sauce is perfectly healthy; close, but no cigar: various brands of Soy Sauce where banned in Godzone because they contained carcinogens while Soy helps prevent breast cancer, which, as all good fundies know, is caused by abortion.

Of course, there is lots more on GayNZ to scare the Fundies, such as Peer Sexuality Support at Rosehill College and a story called A whole new breed of Vampire lesbian is evolving: Lesbians, vampires and evolution, all in one bite-sized chunk.

Speaking of Ian Wishart, he too has a blog, The Briefing Room; unlike the Fundy Post, he has munchkins to help him run it. Wishart's latest little helper is Andrei, who writes: "Blogging is not as simple as it looks and is often a fairly time consuming process and Ian who is a busy man does not always have the time to update this blog on a regular  basis. Grammar and punctuation are not as simple as they look either; the wages of syntax is death. Andrei's first real contribution is to insist that The Benghazi Six need our prayers. Maybe they do, but lawyers, guns and money would be more useful.

Andrei comes from Sir Humphrey's where Adolf Finkelstein sees climate change as an economic and racial opportunity (by the way Adolf, it was Diderot, not Voltaire, who invented the phrase esprit de l'escalier) while Zen Tiger has more about Lesbians and Lucyna has proof of God's existence. You read it there first.

Meanwhile, if you really want a strange headline, you could not do much better than World's tallest man saves dolphin. I know it is off-topic but I could not pass it by. What more can I give you, other than bad poetry? With thanks to the magnificent Chase me, ladies, I'm in the cavalry (the Fundy Post does not make hat-tips, because gentlemen do not wear hats indoors) here is the Oxford Cheese Ode by James McIntyre, who wrote about cheese in Oxford, Ontario.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Crawling from the wreckage

I would like to apologise for my failure to produce updates to the Fundy Post recently. My only excuse is that I have had a lost week and a bit, which began two Fridays back with the splendid opening celebrations for the Grand Atrium at Auckland Museum and finished in the wee small hours of this morning at a far less reputable place. In between were numerous nights out and my birthday celebrations. I decided all this debauchery had to end this afternoon. The Fundy Post has crawled from the wreckage of its creator's life.

Today, I bring you a miscellany of stuff, since little is going on and so few readers are at work, wasting their employer's time reading this blog.

For your amusement, you may like to read this bollocks from the Apologetics Press. I include it merely as an example of the kind of pseudo-academic tosh that emanates from fundy circles. I didn't bother reading much of it: I have been on holiday.

Speaking of bollocks, here is the latest from Deborah Coddington. Best remembered for her in-depth study of the Yellow Peril for North and South, Coddington has recently read an article in The Spectator about a book called The Improving State of the World . The result of this exhaustive research is a diatribe for the Herald with the snappy title Against the tide of chic climate change gloom.

So, The Spectator saved The Coddington the trouble of reading the book and she saved us the trouble of reading The Spectator. I will keep this chain of indolence alive by saving you the trouble of reading her article. Here is her argument: everything in the world is getting better, so climate change does not matter. Can somebody tell me why this woman has a job?

Meanwhile, the NZ Catholic newspaper has demanded that Catholics abstain from eating Hell Pizza because of those rubber johnnies which Hell was distributing. This is hardly suprising, since the Holy Roman Church (the people who brought you Fascism) would prefer that people die rather than use contraceptives. However, a quick glance at NZ Catholic confirms that the paper and the church it represents are obsessed with sex. For all its glory and gravitas, the Catholic Church is little more than a bunch of creepy, weird old men in skirts who are scared of girls. In case you have any doubts, here is a story from the current issue of NZ Catholic about further attempts by Right To Life to prevent abortions.

Finally, my friend Jake sent me a story about the latest from Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, the fundies who made a fortune from the Left Behind series of Apocalyptic stories for cretins. Their new money-making wheeze is a game based on their deranged fantasies, in which fundy kids get to kill non-believers.

I could go on, as there is so much of this stuff out there. However, I shall wait until the War Against Christmas is declared; or was that outbreak of paranoia just for last year? Breaking news: hostilities have begun.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Would you like guilt with that?

So, you are asking yourself, "my fundy friends are coming round for dinner; what can I serve them? Hell Pizza is a no-no, since their pizzas are deep crust and ribbed for extra pleasure. Where can I go for conservative pizza?"

Unfortunately, Domino's is now in secular hands, but it was founded by one of the most conservative Catholics of them all. Thomas Monaghan doesn't own a crust of his old company, but he is using his life savings to save souls.

He funds the Thomas More Law Center, which crafted an anti-abortion law for South Dakota which would have challenged Roe v. Wade, had the state legislature accepted it. His money is also behind the Siena Group, whose founder, Father Paul Marx reportedly blamed 'the abortion holocaust' on the 'shoulders of the Jews.'

Monaghan's latest project is a Roman Catholic town in Florida. He has promised at least $US 250 million for Ave Maria, a community of 20,000 residents to be built around Ave Maria University, which he also founded. The town will have a central square, a huge and hideously ugly cathedral and the tallest crucifix in the United States.

Ave Maria will also be the No Fun capital of the Union. Monaghan is determined that stores will not sell porn, pharmacies will not provide condoms or birth control pills and X-rated cable channels will not be available to the viewing public. Monaghan outlined his plans at a meeting last year, saying "I believe all of history is just one big battle between good and evil. I don't want to be on the sidelines."

Monaghan founded Domino's with his brother in 1960, quickly building a nationwide franchise operation that has expanded overseas, including New Zealand. The success of the company was due to a number of innovations, including the introduction of the corrugated cardboard delivery box and the bag which keeps the pizza hot. Another first was the promise that pizzas would be delivered in 30 minutes or would be free of charge, a policy which led to numerous road accidents involving delivery drivers. After two years, the policy was changed to a price reduction. In 1993, Domino's was successfully sued for $US78 million in punitive damages, by a woman who suffered head and spinal injuries when a Domino's delivery driver ran a red light and hit her car. This action prompted Domino's to abandon the 30-minute promise entirely.

Before founding Domino's, Monaghan had intended to become a priest, but his ambition was thwarted when he was expelled for disciplinary offences, including a pillow fight. Despite this rejection, he has founded a number of Catholic educational and advocacy organisations. After reading CS Lewis' Mere Christianity, Monaghan decided that his life was filled with pride, so he sold many of the luxuries he had gathered and left unfinished a large mansion he was building. In 1998 he sold his controlling interest in Domino's and retired from the company to devote his life to good works. Most of these involve Catholic beliefs and conservative politics. For many years, he has been a financial supporter of Operation Rescue, a group which holds mass protests against abortion clinics and attempts to prevent staff and patients entering buildings. Such is Monaghan's commitment to the anti-abortion cause that he lists the date of his conception as his birthday (I am so glad my parents never told me the date of my conception).

The town of Ave Maria is Monaghan's most ambitious project. Civil libertarians are already expressing disquiet at the restrictive proposals for the town's management. However, at the site's groundbreaking, Governor Jeb Bush, himself a convert to Catholicism, said that it will be a new kind of town where faith and freedom will merge to create a community of like-minded citizens. The Governor's office however, is more circumspect, saying that, "the town, and any restrictions they may place on businesses choosing to locate there, must comply with the laws and constitution of the state and federal governments."

It is not yet known whether the citizens of Ave Maria will be allowed to eat pizza on Friday.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A short diversion into Art History

Here is a review of Tim Clark's latest book from the New Criterion. I include it merely because I like Clark and I like Poussin.

Comments are welcome but not if they are offering ways of making money on the interweb, several of which I have deleted recently.

Dancing with the blue guy

For a change, I am not going to talk about fundamentalist Christians or talk at all, for that matter. Here is a guest article from a friend who has had experience of a different kind of fundamentalism:

Hare Krishna!! 

I suppose it should have struck me as unusual for a bunch of people to call themselves each other’s servants. I also should have realised that it was a bit creepy to be encouraged to lie to my family and skip school to pay visits to a temple; all for the worship of none other than a five thousand year old blue guy that answers to the name of Krishna. 

A bit of background… 

The Hare Krishna movement was started in 1966 by Abhe Charan Bhaktivedanta Swami Praphupada. Just as Christian missionaries go to the East to preach The Word, he went to New York from India to spread the message of Bhakti Yoga, or devotional worship of Krishna/God. Although the movement describes itself as non-sectarian, its philosophical basis is primarily that of the Bhagavad Gita (which some have coined the Indian Bible) and other Puranic, or old Sanskrit scriptures. The movement has essentially come from the Vaishnavism denomination of Hinduism.  

Put more bluntly however, Hare Krishna devotees are mostly white, middle class westerners who like to dress up in a lot of orange. They are often pale in appearance and wear an excess of clothing garments, even in hot weather, possibly due to a lack of iron in their food. They spread their teachings through sankirtan, or the singing of holy prayers, which they believe will lead them to enlightenment. Part of the philosophy that they follow is that the soul is eternal, goes through a cycle of many births and deaths, and is doomed to return to earth on the basis of previous karma. To escape this cycle of reincarnation we must realise ourselves as a spirit soul, become detached from the temptations of the physical world and fully devote ourselves to worshipping Krishna. They also believe that if you eat meat you will be sent to a special type of hell where you will come back as a cow or a rabbit and experience what they went through to die and end up on your dinner plate. 

I am not going to explain all I know about the religion, as my perspective would probably offend a few well-meaning Hindus, and lord knows we don’t need any more fuzziness when it comes to deciphering religious texts. Find the facts out for yourself, if you are interested. 

However I do want to tell a story of my experience in what I have now realised is a religious cult, full to bursting with propaganda, mistruths, and an unhealthy obsession with feeling unworthy. Hare Krishnas may be a very peaceful bunch, but they are a cult nonetheless. 

For me, it all started when I was fourteen years old. I went with my family to a vegetarian restaurant in Newmarket called The Loft, run by Krishna devotees. With dinner, they also provided a seminar on their teachings and a chance to sing Hare Krishna with them at the end of the night. The food was great (it satisfied my vegetarianism) and the teachings intrigued me. Being a family that embraced different ideas and beliefs, we continued to go every week for a few months. The singing was the best bit, as it seemed to make me ecstatically happy. A psychologist could probably explain why this was, as would someone who regularly enjoys singing about Jesus in church.  

Devotees have a strange practice of offering their food to Krishna first before eating it, in order to purify the food from bringing you bad karma; that carrot felt pain, you know. Food that cannot be offered to Krishna (and most other Hindu gods) includes meat, fish, eggs, anything (including chocolate) with caffeine in it, anything that touches your feet or the ground and, strangely enough, onions, garlic and mushrooms, which are considered ‘dirty.’ Eating Prasadam, or food that has been first offered to Krishna, is a big part of being a devotee, and can count as points towards your spiritual purification. 

The devotees took a special interest in me – I was young, innocent, looking for ‘a reason’ and cringingly na├»ve. I was given presents for my birthday, and invitations to further Hare Krishna events. Eventually the women who ran the restaurant had to move to Wellington, which coincided with my mother becoming more and more reluctant to drive me to The Loft.   

I began to sneak around my family’s back to visit Hare Krishna friends. Being without a driver’s license and monetary income, the devotees would pick me up themselves from designated meeting spots and drive me to meetings and festivals. I kept in touch with them through secret phone calls and email, where I would delete all correspondence, as my mother became increasingly curious and intrusive as to what I was up to. 

I plastered my bedroom walls with pictures of Krishna (the blue guy) and made a type of ‘shrine’ to him. I woke at five every morning to chant sixteen rounds of the Maha Mantra on my string of Japa beads. There were 108 beads on the string, so that meant chanting, 
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
 1728 times each morning. 

Devotees stress the importance of constantly chanting Hare Krishna and being careful to only associate with other devotees. Reading Prabhupada’s texts all the time is also recommended. I think if I had chanted hamburgers all day long I would have developed an unhealthy obsession with hamburgers as well, to be honest. The word brainwashing comes to mind, but I’m sure devotees are well meaning.

Occasionally I would skip school (the first time I ever wagged) to be driven to the Hare Krishna temple out in Riverhead for the day. An Indian girl in my form class let me use her postal address to receive packages from Wellington. I was discouraged from spending time with ‘non devotees.’ 

Their plan was for me to move to the Ashram in Wellington when I turned 16, the legal age for leaving your parents. Hare Krishnas are very conservative – they are not allowed to drink alcohol, take drugs, smoke cigarettes, eat any of the ‘forbidden’ items, gamble or have sex unless for the propagation of children, and even then only once a month. I was given a set of Tulasi beads, which meant I was unable to engage in these things while wearing them - which I thought would be the rest of my life. When I reached the age of about eighteen I would be expected, (if desired) to consult an astrologer and have an arranged marriage with a male devotee. Tough luck if I happened to be a lesbian, of course. 

One of the founders and spiritual leaders of the movement, Devamrita Swami, took me under his wing. He was definitely an interesting man – as well as having written several books, he used to preach in Eastern Europe in the 1980s, until his identity was disclosed to the KGB; although Hare Krishnas probably like the social control of communism, they are against it because of its stance against religion. Devamrita Swami and I exchanged many emails and he proclaimed me to be his spiritual daughter, planning to initiate me formally in the future, name change and all.

In one email he told me: “As long as you actively associate with materialists your consciousness will be coloured by their pollutions.”  I replied:
Dear spiritual father,

I can’t express how much your words mean to me and how encouraging they are.

So I’m not associating with my school friends this weekend (mainly due to an overload of homework), but yes, I will reduce my association with them, especially the ones who are not supportive of me wanting to be a devotee!

When I went to Wellington to stay with a friend from school who had moved there, I ran away to the Ashram in Te Aro. My mum eventually found out and called the police. Apparently they couldn’t do anything. I was collected by my friend’s parents and taken home, where a much tighter reign was put on me.  

I even went to the street and tried to sell books to the public on the occasional weekend, and when I could get out of the house I partook in a bit of song and dance on the streets with them. 

One day I came across an article on the Hare Krishna website that referred to the inferior intelligence of women. The Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam also contain many references (at least, Prabhupada’s translations of them contain these references) to women being less intelligent, and not having the capacity to understand certain spiritual concepts. The article in question said that feminists were ‘polluting’ ISKCON (The International Society for Krishna Consciousness) and that the movement’s philosophy should not be changed to suit modern feminists, homosexuals and ‘new-agers,’ whatever that means.  

Devotees don’t often preach this particular aspect of their philosophy, but it is definitely there. Outraged, I replied to the post on this website and got a very interesting reply: 
This philosophy is perfect and does not need to be changed for anyone. It says in dozens of places in Prabhupada’s books that women are inferior to men.  

If you are disturbed by reading Prabhupada’s words then you either need to change your attitude or find another religion that suits your particular ideas. Srila Prabhupada is a liberated soul, and all his teachings are perfect. Therefore if we don’t accept his teachings as they are, we can’t claim to love him. 

Your servant, Sudama Das

My reply (and an example of what a completely different planet I was on at the time) was:
Dear Sudama, 

Thank you so much for your reply. Yes, you are right about Prabhupada’s teachings – they are perfect. And whether I agree with them or not is irrelevant – he is a holy Sadhu. I can’t say that I agree with the idea that women are inferior to men yet. It will probably take me some time to understand that particular part of the philosophy, but I do accept it.

Thank you very much for reminding me of my position. Although it’s hard to accept because it brings my material status down, it is actually quite humbling, and that is very good in devotional service.

Your servant,

Then I received this response:

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. 

As far as the women being inferior goes, it’s really not that big a deal. Nor is it even a bad thing – if you read the books carefully Prabhupada says a lot of other things too, such as the fact that women are MORE powerful than men. In one purport he mentions that Julius Caesar was controlled by Cleopatra.  

Srila Prabhupada didn’t hate women, he certainly saw everyone as a spirit soul. Real intelligent women (such as yourself) will see this and not take the comments about ladies being inferior seriously. My wife doesn’t care about it, she sees it as an advantage. Next time someone tells you you’re less intelligent you can just agree and let them think that – what difference does it make? 

It’s like a child – just because they are less emotionally developed doesn’t mean that we abuse them. Women are similarly unstable at times, no one can argue this point. 

We have talked about this a lot and I think that what it comes down to is whether the girl has a husband that she likes or not. Most of the women who complain the most have been hurt by men in the past so they don’t want to give up their independence and get hurt again. Makes sense doesn’t it? But deep down every girl wants to surrender to a man, that’s the female nature. So hang in there, keep your Krishna consciousness and when you’re 18 you can move into a temple or find a nice devotee husband and get married.

Good luck,  

Your servant 

Sudama Das
Soon after I discovered some of my correspondence on the website that Sudama administrated: 
I love Srila Prabhupada – but I don’t want to follow his instructions!

The following text is an email I received from a young lady. This person claims to love Srila Prabhupada and in the same breath rejects his instructions as ‘non-Vedic.’ No wonder there are so many problems in ISKCON these days…
And on it went. In fact, now that I think about it the whole philosophy of Krishna consciousness is sexist in the way it teaches that God is male, and all souls are female in nature, in the way they all eventually flock back to Krishna. This concept is actually mentioned quite a lot.   

I think I came to a realisation at that point – I agreed with the teachings but I couldn’t agree with that. I was also finding it hard to accept that the one true God is in fact a blue guy who is fond of jewellery and lotuses, none other, no less. And I had been brought up to think that God came in many shapes and sizes; and genders, for that matter. 

I surprised everyone by stopping my meditation, complicated mealtime prayers and temple attendance. My friends and family had begun to accept I was serious by then but I began to have a normal life again. I have since decided that the meaning of life is only what I make it to be, and that religion can be a good thing, but it should never make you compromise your family, your education or your fundamental beliefs of equality.  

And by God, those saris are uncomfortable! 

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Hell is other pizza

with apologies for the existentialist pun

The Advertising Standards Complaints Board has decided that Hell Pizza's distribution of condoms to the masses amounted to gross moral turpitude. The several groups who clamoured to be the most outraged about this campaign are delighted, of course, although Family First has announced that it will not be withdrawing its fatwa against Hell until an apology is received.

This is not the first time that Hell has been hauled before the Board. Concerned citizens have been complaining since the company was established. So, for your reading pleasure, I present excerpts from the Board's decisions.

Complaint 06/057

Complaint: The Hell Pizza advertisement, which was included in a Best Buys mail box catalogue, was headed: WHO SAID HELL IS ONLY FOR THE WICKED?

Below was an image of the reverse side of a 50 cent coin showing the head of Queen Elizabeth II with devil horns and fangs drawn on it.

Text below said:

Now there’s a Hell for everyone … Hell Pizza would like to thank customers whose lust for fine pizza has created an evil empire of 50 stores. And to show our appreciation, if you come in and tell us to ‘go to Hell’- you’ll get 50c off every item purchased; pizzas, chips, drinks – everything, with no limit.

A message at the foot of the advertisement said: 666% MADE, OWNED AND OPERATED IN AOTEAROA
0800 666 111

Complainant, C. Aston-Grieve, said:

“I write to inform you that I find the enclosed advertisement for Hell Pizza offensive.

Firstly, it denigrates the personage of Queen Elizabeth the Second, a well respected monarch. Secondly, it defaces the leader of the Anglican Church with a devil caricature. Thirdly, rewarding people with a price reduction for saying ‘go to Hell’ sends an improper message to youth culture. Fourth, as a Christian the number 666 is also offensive.
The advertisement gave an 0800 number which I rang. A shop assistant answered, who assured me she would get head office to ring me. I heard nothing, so on 24th January I rang best Buys whose brochure it was advertised in, I expressed my concern. They emailed Hell Pizza. I heard nothing. I rang again 7/2/06 to Best Buys who had heard nothing. Hence I write to you.

I would appreciate a prompt response.”

Complainant, M. Ransley, said:

“I’m sending you this cutting which came in my box today. I find this way of advertising very poor taste, my house-hold are shocked to think that anyone would dare deface our queen this way. I have been told that lots of young ones frequent this place, what is it doing to respect and loyalty, has it gone forever. I’m 78 years old and have never seen this sort of advertising before.Please help if you can, it would be nice to see the Queen’s head clear and not disfigured. In some country’s it could be treason.”

Complaint 06/050

Complainant, C. Lotriet, said: ““Hell" is a pizza business that in its slogans and advertisements refers to hell, which is fine because some one stated that hell is the place that every one talks about but nobody wants to go to. They seem to have branches in different places in New Zealand including Browns Bay where I live. I have written to them about their advertisements, not this particular one, with no response. In Auckland they have a billboard in Fanshaw Street at Farmer's car park with these words: How do you know He is listening, at least I deliver. It suggests that He may not be listening (or may be deaf) to your prayers and this is contrary to the Bible. God answers every prayer although some may be negative or delayed. It further suggests that this business is better than God because they deliver and God not. This advertisement in a Muslim country would lead to wholesale destruction and boycotts. It offends against the beliefs of all religions because of their faith in a god and the belief that he hears and answers prayers. Because Christians are peace living we do not react like that but we are very, very deeply offended by the suggestion contained in this advertisement. It is regarded as an insult against the Godhead and clearly directed at Him because of the use of a capital letter in "He". I am convinced that if it is brought to the attention of local Muslims it may release a reaction that will be damaging to this business and other innocents who may be caught in the crossfire. Perhaps it would be a good thing if it is brought to their attention. I await your decision before this is considered. I shall appreciate it if steps would be taken against them to force them to remove this insensitive and infuriating advertisement.”

Complaint 05/321

Complaint: One of the Hell Pizza advertisements on Radio Sport contained a woman saying the following: “Honey, I’ve been sleeping with your brother – and your mother. … Why don’t we get some dinner in and talk it through? … I’ll get some Hell Pizza.”

In another, where they were intending to have pizza for breakfast, several people appeared to have spent the night in the same bed.

Complainant, B. Carmine, said the advertisements were “offensive, containing explicit sexual references that mock serious relationships and promote adultery”.

Complaint 06/396

Complaint: The Hell Pizza website advertisements contained a number of images including a demon and fire, and statements including “Deliverance”, “Can you be saved?” and “Putting the vice in service.”

Complainant, S. Tyrrell, South City Baptist Church Tauranga, said: “…We feel that the whole concept is anti family values and makes fun and diminishes the seriousness of the bible teaching on hell…”

Complaint 06/355

Complaint: The Flyer advertisement distributed to letter boxes was headed up:


Beneath this was a cartoon image of a red ‘child-like’ devil character holding a sling-shot with pizza slices and pizza sauce splattered on and around him.

The Complainant C. Windsor said:

“Yesterday 12 September I received in my mail box a very upsetting advertisement for Hell Pizza, which I hereby enclose.

I don’t think I have seen such a blatantly offensive advertisement ever.

As a country are we not trying to make people aware that children are precious and to have it printed on an advertisement that quote KIDS ARE EVIL is very distressing to me. Haven’t we had enough of our children being mistreated and killed and to refer to them as EVIL is disgusting. …”

Duplicate Complainants shared similar views and also expressed concern at the promotion of a negative message about children and objected to the caricature that featured in the advertisement.

This complaint received a response from Hell's agency, Cinderella, which read in part:

Well, bugger me. I believe that prevailing community standards are such that this campaign has not caused serious or widespread offence. – unless you happen to be a member of the religious loony fringe, or have undergone a total humour bypass. Thankfully, I am reasonably certain that ‘prevailing community standards’ are not yet being set by this small group.-otherwise we most certainly wouldn’t be saying bugger on tellie, ever.

Not surprisingly, the complaint was upheld

You can read these and many more on the Advertising Standards Authority's database.