Understanding Islam

How we as a society respond to Islam highlights principles of religious freedom and respecting those of different beliefs, as we struggle with the issues of tolerating the intolerant and understanding extremism, be it religious, political or social.

“Everything you think is wrong” day…

A reflection on the Christchurch massacre

with Rev. Clay Nelson

“Everything you think is wrong” day… A reflection on the Christchurch massacre
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Clay Nelson © 15 March 2020

I’m sure that not long ago I thought there was no such day as “Everything you think is wrong” day to celebrate. I was wrong. I have no idea who comes up with these days, and no one knows who came up with this one or why on this date, March 15. My guess is the Ides of March was chosen because Julius Cæsar thought Brutus was his friend right up to the moment the knife entered his back.

So how does one celebrate this faux holiday? According to the anonymous founder this is a day to avoid making decisions, and by all means avoid saying “I think”. It is also a good day to spend time contemplating everything we don’t know or think we do, but don’t. We can take time to laugh at ourselves for things people used to think were true but aren’t.

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Letter to Andrew Little, Minister of Justice, & Reply from the Ministry

Go straight to the reply.

Auckland Unitarian Church
1a Ponsonby Road
Grey Lynn
AUCKLAND 1011
www.aucklandunitarian.org.nz

13 August 2019

The Rt Honourable Andrew Little
Minister of Justice
Freepost Parliament
Private Bag 18 888
Parliament Buildings
WELLINGTON 6160

Email copy sent to
a.little@ministers.govt.nz.

Email Copy sent to
The Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
Prime Minister
jacinda.ardern@parliament.govt.nz.

Dear Minister,

We are writing to express our deep concern after hearing of the distress experienced by many of the victims and their supporters at the first hearing of the alleged perpetrator of the March 15 2019 Mosque attacks.

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Revisiting Ramadan

with Rev. Clay Nelson

Revisiting Ramadan
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Clay Nelson © 5 May 2019

If you live in Aotearoa New Zealand there are a few positives that have resulted from the horror of March 15, which doesn’t mean the price wasn’t way too high. New gun laws passed nearly unanimously within a couple weeks that have banned automatic and semiautomatic weapons. National and international efforts are ongoing to reign in social media as platforms for hate speech. In depth debates to distinguish free speech from hate speech fill public discourse. And in my mind, a greater recognition by non-Muslims that Muslims are not the threat they have been painted to be since 9/11 and continue to be by Trump and other politicians. They are more often the victims of violence than its perpetrators. They need protection from every religion’s far right fundamentalists as much as anybody else. The outpouring of support for the victims and the Muslim community shown at vigils, burying the local mosques with flowers of condolence, the raising of money for the victims’ families, concerts in support of the Muslim community, the government’s paying for the funerals and fast-tracking visa applications, non-Muslim women wearing hijabs in solidarity with their sisters, and mosques opening their doors to their non-Muslim neighbours to share their faith to build bridges have been transforming acts. We are not who we used to be. From my perspective, we are better than we used to be before March 15.

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Liberal religion in the public square

with Rev. Clay Nelson

Liberal religion in the public square
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Clay Nelson © 24 March 2019

I see Brian Tamaki of Destiny Church is having a tantrum again about New Zealand being a Christian nation. He objected to Jacinda’s call to Muslim prayer before a two-minute silence to remember the victims of the massacre of worshipping Muslims in Christchurch. He called it an abuse of her Prime Ministerial powers.

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