I’ve never quite understood the reason why politicians of all descriptions flock to Ratana every year. But most politicians aren’t mugs, so I figure they must see some benefit in abasing themselves before the Ratana leadership.
But some within Ratana are now sounding like attention-seeking children.
Radio New Zealand has reported that a senior Ratana leader, Kereama Pene, is upset because none of the people with Ratana connections on the Labour list have a show of getting into parliament, based on current polling. He is calling upon Ratana followers to vote for another party.
Quite why Ratana followers shouldn’t make up their own minds about who to vote for, rather than be told by church leaders, isn’t clear.
The fact that Louisa Wall, the new Labour MP, has ties with Ratana also appears to have been ignored in all of this.
I profess relative ignorance about Ratana, and I don’t know much about the religion beyond what I can find in Wikipedia. I’m sure Ratana’s version of the imaginary friend in the sky is just as benevolent, all-powerful and all-knowing as everyone else’s. So this is not a dig at the religious beliefs of Ratana specifically.What I take offence at is a religious leader demanding more power for his church, on the back of a threat to take his people elsewhere.
What would the reaction be if Pope Benedict demanded high list rankings for Catholic Labour Party members? Okay, so that might not be a good example, because for all I know there might already be a good number of Catholics high on the Labour list. But we'd still be mortified if such a demand were ever to be made. The fact that it's Ratana making the demands doesn't make it any less wrong.
We should not tolerate interference in our political system by any religion. That is all.