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Covid, the US President and the Evangelical churches

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, September 10th, 2020 - 123 comments
Categories: covid-19, Donald Trump, religion, uncategorized - Tags:

Some interesting news both locally and internationally over the past few days.

Bob Woodward has written a book that suggests that for political reasons associated with his re-election chances Donald Trump downplayed the severity of the Covid threat, even though he was well aware of what the risks were.  From CNN:

President Donald Trump admitted he knew weeks before the first confirmed US coronavirus death that the virus was dangerous, airborne, highly contagious and “more deadly than even your strenuous flus,” and that he repeatedly played it down publicly, according to legendary journalist Bob Woodward in his new book “Rage.”

“This is deadly stuff,” Trump told Woodward on February 7.

In a series of interviews with Woodward, Trump revealed that he had a surprising level of detail about the threat of the virus earlier than previously known. “Pretty amazing,” Trump told Woodward, adding that the coronavirus was maybe five times “more deadly” than the flu.

Trump’s admissions are in stark contrast to his frequent public comments at the time insisting that the virus was “going to disappear” and “all work out fine.”

The book, using Trump’s own words, depicts a President who has betrayed the public trust and the most fundamental responsibilities of his office. In “Rage,” Trump says the job of a president is “to keep our country safe.” But in early February, Trump told Woodward he knew how deadly the virus was, and in March, admitted he kept that knowledge hidden from the public.

“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward on March 19, even as he had declared a national emergency over the virus days earlier. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

Panics caused by the spread of a crippling pandemic that causes multiple fatalities are obviously bad for re-election chances.

And the United States influence has been shown recently with news that a New Zealand church with links to the US evangelical movement being blamed for the continued spread of the virus locally.  From Anusha Bradley at Radio New Zealand:

Health Minister Chris Hipkins has said some of the 43 people linked to the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship church cluster in Auckland were sceptical about the seriousness of the pandemic, as church and community leaders say they face a battle to check the spread of false information.

Pakilau Manase Lua grew up in the Seventh Day Adventist church and said his own friends and family were guilty of spreading conspiracies and false information about Covid-19.

“I’ve personally received lots of private messages regarding information that people think is useful but is purely disinformation, either about the virus itself or fear around the vaccine,” he said.

Lua, who is the chairman of the Pacific Leadership Forum’s Pacific Response Coordination Team, said this spread was especially rife among those with links to conservative evangelical or pentecostal churches in the United States.

“It’s been spreading like wildfire through social media.”

There is a report that the police shut down a gathering at the church which was in breach of Covid restrictions and leaders were warned they could face prosecution if they gathered again.

The leaders of the church need to get this under control.  Covid is clearly is not part of a conspiracy.  It is a deadly virus that has caused the deaths of at least 900,000 people world wide.  Locally we can beat it.  But everyone needs to follow the advice of people who know what they are talking about.

Social media, especially Facebook has a lot to answer to and has been central in the spread of anti science information that is threatening to undermine .  Kathy Errington in Stuff explains why:

Conspiracy theories are highly engaging content online. It can be politically useful to get them behind your cause because they will relentlessly push your key messages out again and again. Yet they are leading people all over the world to ignore the necessary public health measures in place to protect their lives.

In a crisis this severe humans are hard-wired to be drawn towards conspiracy theories – we like big problems to have equally big causes, a term psychologists call proportionality bias. Surely something as catastrophic as COVID 19 must have an equally large, dark and complex origin story? Can it really be just a bat that likely caused all of this?

Well, yes, that’s it. There is no sinister world government involving Bill Gates and the United Nations getting together with governments globally to invent a pandemic. I worked in government long enough to say with certainty no government could ever pull this off. Even in the ‘before times’ it took months of planning for the Prime Minister to simply leave the country for a day and go to a rugby match.

This puts Gerry Brownlee’s just asking questions episode into perspective and shows how damaging to collective action it was.

For a local example of a political movement attempting to take advantage look no further than Jami Lee Ross’s and Billy Te Kahika’s Advance NZ Party.  The party has recently had a complaint concerning donations sent to the Serious Fraud Office then forwarded to the Electoral Commission. No doubt this will be regarded by some of further evidence of deep state action to suppress dissenting voices.

We can hold the virus at bay.  But we need to not follow the leadership or example provided by the United States.  Especially its current President.

123 comments on “Covid, the US President and the Evangelical churches ”

  1. Ad 1

    It amazes me that the Ministry of Health hasn't cottoned on to the ways in which Pacifika communities prefer to communicate.

    The Ministry of Pacific Peoples appear to be doing a better job, but it is not yet effective.

    The nodes for engaging with Pacifika peoples are not that hard to find and are incredibly influential.

    We have been expected to be calm and rational for far too long – when we know it's the Pacifica peoples who have the most to be afraid of.

    – The South Auckland Pacifika family who were infected a few weeks ago were utterly vilified by New Zealanders on social media, which makes the rest of them afraid

    – Pacifika in South Auckland are among the poorest and least healthy of peoples in New Zealand, so they are highly at risk personally from infection

    – Pacifika people are afraid of being targeted as overstayers, when those whose permits have stopped are not able to actually get back to the island homes they came from – no matter the assurances from government about this

    – Pacifika peoples are now unable to re-contact their relatives in the islands, or even conduct ceremonies in other than virtual form, or otherwise keep their communities and cultures cohesive

    – Pacifika people are poorly represented in the higher levels of the Ministry of Health

    – Pacifika people are one of the most highly vulnerable groups to unemployment at this time, and the jobs they have are mostly manual or poorly paid

    So Pacifika peoples have every reason to be afraid. New Zealand's entire society is not working for them and in many senses works against them.

    No one should expect people to be rational all the time in that context.

    This is exactly the wrong time to vilify Pacifika people or the churches to whom they belong. Everyone needs to keep just talking to each other, as softly and kindly and patiently as possible.

    • Muttonbird 1.1

      Nope. Lock these rule-breakers up.

      • Sabine 1.1.1

        start by closing the churches down that tell the congregation that 'god' is above 'government'.

        at the very least revoke the tax free status they so enjoy.

    • mickysavage 1.2

      Agree entirely about the Pacifika community and I have very carefully avoided any mention of ethnic background and concentrated solely on the source of the belief. This post is not an attempt to vilify anyone but is urging the church leaders to be more cooperative.

    • peterh 1.3

      Check out the trustees of the church, not a Pacifika name mybe blame in wrong quarters

      • Ad 1.3.1

        The spirit of race-based doxxing is alive in this one.

        • Muttonbird 1.3.1.1

          First post on the thread and you mentioned Pacifica about 20 times.

          frown

          • Ad 1.3.1.1.1

            Pacific leaders were mentioned in the post, you moron.

            And it didn't stop you attacking Pacifika churches either.

            At least I had the guts to stand up for them you fucking coward.

            • Muttonbird 1.3.1.1.1.1

              Enough with the abuse. Go have a cup of tea and look at the lake.

              • Ad

                When you stop attacking belief systems that people have a human right to have, I will.

                • Muttonbird

                  They are entitled to those beliefs but when those beliefs endanger the lives and wellbeing of others, that is when they should be managed.

                  • Ad

                    That is not your job. Nor the job of political parties.

                    Nor is it the job of the mob to join in.

                    Stop being part of the mob.

    • Shanreagh 1.4

      Pasifika is the usual spelling. Please can we use this. Nothing worse than having one's name etc spelt incorrectly – (from one who knows whose surname has been incorrectly spelt by others for generations) .

      'There has been some dispute over the correct spelling of Pasifika, sometimes spelt Pasefika, Pacifica, Pacifika. TAGATA PASIFIKA is generally accepted as correct and publicly reinforced by the Television New Zealand programme now also known by the same name but was previously spelt TANGATA PASIFIKA'. Wiki

      • Draco T Bastard 1.4.1

        Pasifika is the usual spelling.

        No, really, it isn't.

        pacific (adj.)
        1540s, "tending to make peace, concillatory," from Middle French pacifique, from Latin pacificus "peaceful, peace-making,"

        The Pacific Ocean (1660 in English) was famously so called in 1519 by Magellan when he sailed into it and found it calmer than the stormy Atlantic, or at least calmer than he expected it to be.

        The spelling you suggest seems to be cultural misappropriation by the People's of the Pacific to make them seem more important than they are.

        • Shanreagh 1.4.1.1

          Just pointing out the usual name for the people of the Pacific, as they are known in NZ. I was not speaking of the adjective pacific or Magellan.

          I am not sure just what you are talking of in the last sentence but it sounds pretty awful to me. Hopefully you were kidding?

          We in NZ have much to be thankful for our Tagata Pasifika neighbours and our fellow NZ citizens who are of Pasifika origin. All races and cultures in NZ are important to me. Is there a list somewhere that has ratings of the relative importance of the various races on it?

          • Draco T Bastard 1.4.1.1.1

            Just pointing out the usual name for the people of the Pacific, as they are known in NZ.

            That's just it – its NOT the usual name.

            Hopefully you were kidding?

            No, I wasn't. Māori and others get upset when other peoples misappropriate their culture. Am I not allowed to get upset when they misappropriate mine?

            We in NZ have much to be thankful for our Tagata Pasifika neighbours and our fellow NZ citizens who are of Pasifika origin.

            Repeating the misspelling still doesn't make it right.

            • Shanreagh 1.4.1.1.1.1

              Not sure what the relevance of the Whanganui debate is. Our family with its the years of people spelling our name incorrectly welcomed the correction to Whanganui. Sure if you want to keep calling our Pasifika peoples, Pacific or Magellan people whatever you want to call them, that is fine. Just don't try to tell me that correcting spelling from Wanganui to Whanganui is cultural appropriation.

              And what did you actually mean by this?

              …….People's of the Pacific to make them seem more important than they are.

              Don't you agree that Pasifika people have a place and importance in NZ? Just as Maori do & Ngati Vikitoria and all later arrivals.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Not sure what the relevance of the Whanganui debate is.

                The Wanganui debate was about the misspelling of Whanganui and how it was culturally bad.

                Well, now we have Pacific people's purposefully misspelling Pacifica in the same way. If the misspelling of Whanganui was bad then the misspelling of Pacifica is also bad.

                Don't you agree that Pasifika people have a place and importance in NZ?

                No more than anyone else which seems to be the problem as they seem to think that they're more important. As your misspelling of Pacifica is proof of your double standard.

                The word Pacifica is not part of any Polynesian language so stop misspelling it.

                • Shanreagh

                  Reading Stuff this morning I note that twice the reference was to Pasifika people, not Pacifica, Magellan, PI.

                  'Pasifika Medical Association chief executive Debbie Sorensen….'

                  'Auckland councillor and former police officer Alf Filipaina said authorities had to be careful not to create the perception that people who needed to be contacted were in trouble.

                  He would not want to see police knocking on doors or making calls.

                  He did not have a particular problem with an officer offering advice in the background, saying they could have good techniques for talking to people and getting information.

                  But they should be Pasifika – like many of those in the cluster – because they would know the best way to approach the community, he said.'

                  So looks like this part of the media does use this word in reporting people who does identify as Pasifika. '

                  https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/300104634/pacific-health-leaders-unimpressed-with-police-involvement-in-covid19-contact-tracing

                  Living in Wellington in a suburb I share with Pasifika people I wondered if Wellington was an aberration as I see the word Pasifika in many places. I then looked up Pasifika, without the Tagata and find this

                  Pasifika is a term that is unique to Aotearoa and is a term coined by government agencies to describe migrants from the Pacific region and their descendants, who now call Aotearoa home.2014

                  and this

                  Pasifika in British English

                  (pəˈsɪfɪkə) Australian and New Zealand

                  PLURAL NOUN

                  1. people from the islands of the South Pacific and their descendants

                  ADJECTIVE

                  1. of or relating to these people or their culture

                  Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers

                  Word origin

                  C21: from Niuean

                  So the word Pasifika comes from Niuean.

                  Our family, with its surname chronically spelled incorrectly, is sensitive to the words that people use to describe themselves. My dad used to say the biggest compliment is say people's names with a smile on meeting and to spell it correctly from thereon. I reject utterly and totally trying to describe people by names they do not use themselves or to criticise those names when they are used. I reject utterly that Pasifika people

                  seem to think that they're more important

                  The virus that started the second wave is one not seen in NZ before.

                  Notwithstanding the restrictions and levels and requests for testing we still rely on, as well, a hearts & minds/information sharing approach. Hopefully this has borne fruit with the majority of the church congregation having been tested by 8.00am yesterday.

                  This thread has made me uneasy, very squirmy, very sad with the assigning of attitudes to race or culture rather than belief systems and with an unwillingness to call Pacific people by a name that is used in NZ and that is used by them to identify themselves as a group.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    And just when did the Niuean have Pacific in their native tongue?

                    The answer, of course, is that they didn't.

                    Like Wanganui, it's a misspelling.

                    My dad used to say the biggest compliment is say people's names with a smile on meeting and to spell it correctly from thereon.

                    So did mine.

                    I reject utterly that Pasifika people

                    seem to think that they're more important

                    The problem, of course, is that they do. It was that self-importance that had them stopping the ocean sanctuary at the Kermadecs which they had no right to do.

                    But they should be Pasifika – like many of those in the cluster – because they would know the best way to approach the community, he said.’

                    Applied racism.

        • cathy-o 1.4.1.2

          if you’re so concerned with being pedantic why do you use the greengrocer’s apostrophe for a simple plural?

      • jimekus 1.4.2

        What's wrong with Pacificx to go with the newly invented term of Latinx?

  2. Red 2

    I agree to point but Pacifica people also need to take personal responsibility and accountability. They are not all children and I suggest many of them find it patronising how they get lumped into group all the time and treated like a kindergarten Cohort by so called do gooders

    • Andre 2.1

      In this instance, it's starting to look like some of them may have behaved like a kindergarten cohort.

      • Red 2.1.1

        True, hence treat them accordingly like any one else, dont lump every Pacific Islander as a child that needs special attention or kid gloves By the far the majority are bloody good citizens and pulling just as hard as every other kiwi

  3. EE 3

    Religious people believing conspiracy theories.
    Isn’t a belief in god the ultimate conspiracy theory?
    Some invisible supernatural being pulling all the strings.

    • Ad 3.1

      You don't recognise the fact-free conspiracies that pertain right across ordinary life. Conspiracy and fact-free behaviour change campaigns are all around us – they are certainly not specific to religious communities.

      But top work for attacking our human rights.

    • Dennis Frank 3.2

      Yeah, but facts can be ascertained. In this situation, investigators ought to find out if any religious leaders told the congregation to ignore the govt rules because that was god's will. Such people are traditionally inclined to declare the will of god so their followers will see them as authorities.

      When the public interest lies in adherence to govt rules, to maintain public health, disobedience authorised by a god is a significant problem.

      Fact-finding is therefore essential. I predict neither National or Labour will demand it. Postmodernism created a culture in which facts are a matter of opinion. They go with that flow…

  4. If fucking religion, whether Pacifica or otherwise, is responsible for the continuation/spread of the virus in NZ, I would metaphorically burn down every fucking church in the country.
    Note: metaphorically!

    • greywarshark 4.1

      TonyV You can't take this attitude, after reflection. It is a human response of behaviour showing anger to another human behaviour that is disagreed with. If the first behaviour is regarded as irrational, then a quick, reactive response to it is also irrational. We are an irrational species, inclined not to sit down and nut things out but to respond emotionally especially in large groups where the thinkers label the behaviour as a 'contagion'.

      Emotional Contagion in groups

      This study focuses on emotional contagion, "a process in which a person or group influences the emotions, or behavior of another person or group through the conscious or unconscious induction of emotion states and behavioral attitudes" (Schoenewolf , 1990: 50; emphasis added), in particular, the contagion of "everyday" … https://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1101&context=mgmt_papers

    • Ad 4.2

      This is the kind of attitude that shot and killed 50 people in Christchurch.

      Nice work for siding with terror.

      • Muttonbird 4.2.1

        You do know what metaphorical means, don't you?

      • I was at pains to state 'metaphorically.' Of course I over-reacted and, in the best traditions of parliament, I stand, withdraw and apologise,

        But take their tax free status off them, seize their property, close their places of worship.

        If they can't act in the best interests of our 'team of 5 million,' then make it clear to them that their behaviour will not be tolerated.

        • Muttonbird 4.2.2.1

          But take their tax free status off them, seize their property, close their places of worship.

          Yep. These guys sell god for profit and profit they do. $1.8million tithing in the collection bag last year and none of it goes to the health budget which has to clean up their mess.

          https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12363638

          • Adrian 4.2.2.1.1

            This is a shitload of money from the 321 adult and children that are required to test so tithing represents $5607 per person say 20k per family.

            Fuck me thats a lot, How can I start a church? thats right I can't do it, I've got christian values.

            • joe90 4.2.2.1.1.1

              • karol121

                "Once I receive your money, I will only take half, purely for "admin costs" such as a mansion or two, luxury transport, bible seminars at flash resorts, flash clobber, security staff with earpieces stuffed into their canals wearing very dark shades, and other incidental expenses so that I can keep spreading the good word for y'all.

                The other half, I will collect up in cash, which I will throw it into the air in the good lord's direction. If he rejects the offer by not catching the cash, I will keep it as an indication that he does not need it immediately, and that he is entrusting me with his portion"

                I see that one commentator (Hugh Yonn) posting on this video clip reckons he was in booby with a guy who milked one enterprising evangelist loot gatherer for about 8 mil over a 4 year period.

                He, he, he! Talk about swimming with sharks.wink

        • weka 4.2.2.2

          I can't really see a good reason to use covid to advance anti-religion positions. All that will happen is religious alt people will radicalise away from progressives even further. This is a key in what is happening with the BTK crowd, and the left ignoring, ridiculing and ostracising those communities is a massive mistake.

          The point's been made that the state overreacting will cement anti-state ideology. This doesn't mean not acting, it means acting in ways that actually work for the people involved. eg my first response to this news was that the police should be used. But this is a poor stand alone response. I've been thinking already that we need a covid warden system, of trusted people in communities who can step in and deal with situations in context.

          Police are always there as a back up and obv should be used in situations like people absconding from Q. But we need to get more nuanced in how we call people into the need to work together. Imo you can't force communities to do this, you have to work with them.

        • Ad 4.2.2.3

          Why the tax status of a church is relevant to preventing the spread of Covid-19 is something you will have to explain to us.

          • greywarshark 4.2.2.3.1

            It's part of selling religion being a business, yet still being tax-free even when they are a force to be reckoned with! That means that many new churches or church movements are operating for a buck, and there may be little actual moral suasion available to appeal to. This is part of the religious matrix that capitalism has thrown up in these days of money worship.

            (I looked up suasion to see if it is different to persuasion and I thought the example that came up was relevant:
            persuasion as opposed to force or compulsion.
            "the clearing banks found the use of both moral suasion and direct controls particularly irksome")

        • RedLogix 4.2.2.4

          And some people come all over anxious when I use the phrase 'the authoritarian left' … devil

          Yes a pandemic requires temporary measures that are more restrictive than usual, but it's not an excuse to go full metal Jacobin on us.

          • AB 4.2.2.4.1

            "some people come all over anxious when I use the phrase 'the authoritarian left'"

            I think the anxiety (or bemusement?) comes from your extrapolation of a few intemperate blurts from a handful of individuals on The Standard, into the existence of a whole political movement that is poised to impose 'Marxism' on us by force.

            • RedLogix 4.2.2.4.1.1

              And when challenged on these ‘intemperate outbursts’ the individuals involved are doubling down, strongly arguing for their authoritarian vision.

              And given how there are no Marxists I find it quite astonishing how much push back I get when I suggest maybe, given it's appalling track record, that it's time the left drew a line under marxist thinking and moved on.

              And I’m stopping here, lest we go further OT again.

        • JohnSelway 4.2.2.5

          " But take their tax free status off them, seize their property, close their places of worship."

          The tax free bit bothers me the most. Fucking Sanitarum foods don't pay any income taxes.

          • RedBaronCV 4.2.2.5.1

            I too have a problem with some of the "tax free" religion. When a religion provides community or welfare services that are generally available to all according to their need for the service that feels okay but when the service is only provided based on the adherence of the recipient to the service provider's views then it feels not okay. I'd suggest tax free status based on an internal/external test of recipients.

            But didn't the charities commission chase Greenpeace instead?

            Also some of the tithing undertaken can affect families financially.

            Not that any of this has much to do with covid unless long term decreasing of resources means less money to spend on disinformation.

  5. greywarshark 5

    I wrote the other day about reading a 'faction' novel on the effect of the bubonic plague on Eyam in England in the 16th century. There was a political changeover at the time from Cromwell's Puritanism back to one of their kings, could have been Charles Second.

    The Puritan minister was very into finding it a retribution or punishment that came to those who had not kept to the rules or outright sinned. And they had so many rules. People felt helpless and examined themselves to see what they might have been guilty of in thought, word or deed.

    That minister called on Psalm 91 according to the author. It is a sort of prayer of promise of what goodness will come to people who live right. It is really one of hope that life will be good to them. But it was interpreted as a statement from God and people who hadn't understanding of how this terrible plague spread, were mystified and terrified. It is bad when this style of preaching is adopted in the 21st century when we know so much and have had to adjust our Christian beliefs to incorporate these understandings.

    https://www.kingjamesbible.me/Psalms-Chapter-91/

    These are lovely words – from the King James Version, poetic and uplifting. But really a prayer, a desire for good, which no-one can be sure will be granted.

    6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
    7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
    8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

    9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
    10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
    11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
    12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

  6. joe90 6

    Arseholes deliberately flouted alerts, met illegally, played silly-buggars over testing and failed to cooperate with contact tracing efforts. Little wonder abuse thrives in these fundie outfits. Fuck ém.

    • weka 6.1

      "Fuck ém."

      Nek minit, another outbreak. People who don't trust the state won't trust it more if they're ostracised.

      • Sabine 6.1.1

        so what to do then?

        And why don't they trust the government? Maybe because preachers in these churches are given talking points from the US to use here? Women to be stay at home daughters until married, then to be stay at home wifes? God above government? Etc?

        If one were to care one could follow the talking points all the way back to a rightwing 'evangelic' think tank somehwere in the States.

        honestly i agree, fuck em. The whole world is currently suffering and we will charge people a 300NZD instant fine if they dare to sit on a bus without a mask of sort, but there…..lets be kind n gentle lest there is another outbreak?

        • woodart 6.1.1.1

          if they dont trust the state, obviously they dont wont ANY help from the state when the shit hits the fan, be we know that isnt true. its just another bunch of selfish buggers taking advantage of a team of five million. if they dont want to be part of a team of five million, they should be honest enough to bugger off and start their own team, in their own sandpit.

  7. tc 7

    We have a usa problem mickey. The zuck is effectively backing this on stalkbook, his recent wibbling comedians will devour.
    He should just front in the bathrobe like in the movie to add some flair.

  8. Muttonbird 8

    The ironing is strong with these ultra right-wing god-botherers. Nearly super-spreader and defender of all things conservative, Duncan Garner, says the Mt Roskill Evangelical Church and the Bay Roskill Rugby League Club are so closely related they are the same organisation.

    The deliberate rule-breaking and lying to health authorities is the very thing stopping community and kids' sport from resuming in Auckland. They have essentially destroyed the remainder of the winter season across all codes not only for themselves and their own kids but for everyone else and their kids too.

    So, so community minded, aren’t they?

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2020/09/duncan-garner-mt-roskill-evangelical-church-not-secret-sect-of-wealthy-elites.html

    • Ad 8.1

      And those Jews right?

      And those Muslims! Forming groups. Doing engagement.

      We should actively root out all communities because of their superspreader risk.

      Let's scorch the earth with blame.

      • Muttonbird 8.1.1

        False equivalence. Try again, hotshot.

        • Ad 8.1.1.1

          Unchecked rage from the masses comes to them all.

          Check it building on ZB and on Facebook right now.

          The same untrammelled rise of hate.

          • Muttonbird 8.1.1.1.1

            Another nice try. People do get angry without being right wing. You do it yourself about some pretty esoteric, meaningless shit.

            • Ad 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Getting angry at people for getting infected with Covid 19 is wrong.

              Doesn't matter their social or political affiliation.

              Completely and utterly the wrong approach.

              • Muttonbird

                Heard this idea from the DG. People aren't the problem, the virus is the problem.

                That much is true until people also become the problem…

                • Ad

                  Both the Director General and the Prime Minister.

                  We've listened so far and they've been right every time.

                  They have earned our trust on this one as well.

        • RedLogix 8.1.1.2

          False equivalence. Try again, hotshot.

          The second wave outbreak in North Melbourne substantially originated in the Muslim community there, some of whom expressed skeptical, dismissive or casual attitudes towards the virus.

          But Dan Andrews state govt was at pains not to make the community the problem, rather it focused on communicating better with them and sorting through the multiple issues in front of them. The govt and most of the media made a real effort to avoid vilification and scapegoating.

          The equivalence in this example is 100% valid.

          • Ad 8.1.1.2.1

            Dan Andrews is walking a principled line, without much Federal support.

            • Muttonbird 8.1.1.2.1.1

              Headed up the very worst Covid response in the Pacific region. We'll be like Melbourne too if communities are allowed to make up their own rules.

              • greywarshark

                So right Muttonbird – cool line of logic can't be faulted.

              • RedLogix

                So should we be 'metaphorically' burning down mosques as well?

                The root cause the failure to deal early and effectively with the outbreak in Victoria is widely recognised as being the more to do with the highly fragmented and commercialised nature of their health system … a legacy of previous liberal state govts.

                For instance when you go into a hospital in VIC, it's more like a building housing a collection of small businesses, than an integrated operation as kiwis would expect. Much the same applies across the whole state, and while it works OK at handling individual cases, it's a system that struggles to handle community wide pandemics.

                By contrast the health system here in QLD works a lot more like the one we have in NZ, and the relative outcomes reflect this.

                Plus I think we should also acknowledge the role of Vitamin D plays in protecting people becoming serious cases of COVID. That's a factor that needs to be understood before we start blaming people for becoming ill.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  For instance when you go into a hospital in VIC, it's more like a building housing a collection of small businesses, than an integrated operation as kiwis would expect.

                  Went to a physiotherapist a while back and the building was most definitely a collection of small businesses than an integrated operation which, as you imply, is another failure of capitalism.

                  Health should be a state monopolly.

                  Plus I think we should also acknowledge the role of Vitamin D plays in protecting people becoming serious cases of COVID.

                  I recall a news item from last century. A young couple had their first born who was constantly sick. Turns out the problem was that they'd followed all advice on covering from the sun to prevent skin cancer and thus the child just was getting enough sunlight to generate the vitamin D that she needed.

                  Yes, people, to actually be healthy you need sunlight.

                  • JohnSelway

                    "Health should be a state monopolly."

                    If there is a public option available but people want to pay money to have private healthcare why not let them?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Because it results in a misallocation of resources and thus leads to long queues and avoidable harm being caused all for the selfishness of those few.

                    • JohnSelway

                      How does it result in misallocation of resources? As far as I am aware the private hospitals have to source their own resources and are not government provided.

                      How does a private hospital cause long queues at a public hospital?

                      How is it selfish to pay for your own healthcare instead of going through the public hospitals?

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      JS, even during times of teacher shortages, private schools never seem to have too much trouble sourcing the teachers they need. I suspect it's much the same with medical specialists and the proportion of time some choose to allocate to public vs private practice. Never mind that in NZ most doctors and nurses receive their initial training in publically-funded institutions; private practices remove some of that indispensible health service 'resource' (clinicians, nurses, etc.) from the 'pool' available to public hospitals.

                      If NZ resourced our public health services adequately, and put more $$$ into university medical schools, then maybe more wealthy individuals would choose to be treated in our (still) excellent but congested public health system. But where do the $$$ come from?

                      I'd prefer to live in a society where an individual's financial wherewithal didn't determine the quality and timeliness of the health services and treatments they could access, but that's just me.

                    • RedLogix

                      @DMK

                      The socialist left has very successfully used universal access to both education and health as an indirect and effective means of mitigating inequality. So when we see wealthy individuals bypassing the system to purchase more than the usual share we quite understandably get anxious about it. It feels like they're cheating.

                      The problem we run up against is that providing 100% coverage (in other words the very best health or education services) to 100% of the people 100% of the time is beyond our resources. It's partly a law of diminishing returns; a decently developed nation can provide say 80% coverage at a cost of around 5 – 10% of GDP. But as we approach 100% the costs accelerate in a non-linear fashion that no nation has been able to afford or politically sustain.

                      This creates an intractable gap between what can be universally provided, and the potential demand. It forces the system into some form of rationing at the margins; the public sector does it by often arcane and non-transparent waiting list rules, the private sector by a market mechanism. Which of these mechanisms is morally preferable isn't obvious to me and would make for a good debate. Although I can probably safely say that from the perspective of the person suffering and needing urgent medical treatment, if they can afford to pay for it the choice would be a lot more clear cut in the moment.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      RL, I understand it's not realistic to eliminate all unmet health needs in any society. I'm ideologically opposed to healthcare 'services' in which access to timely critical healthcare is determined even in part by a market mechanism, and that's the system we have in NZ – a system where those that can afford it may purchase private healthcare services and live longer with a better quality of life (on average) as a result.

                      I believe that ideally preventable gaps of this type should be minimised, and as such that any and all proposed changes to the public health service (at least) should be analysed for the possibilty that they might exacerbate inequality of access and health outcomes. I'll leave it to those of a more pragmatic persuasion to scrap over the acceptable sizes of the many and varied gaps that exist in our society, but IMHO those gaps are plenty wide enough already – please let’s try to close them, or at the very least not let them get any worse.

                      In her essay below, Liang describes poverty as a “heritable condition” that perpetuates and amplifies through generations: “It is also not hard to see how individual poverty flows into communities and society, with downstream effects on economics, crime and health, as well as many other systems. Loosen one strand and everything else unravels.

                      A Kete Half Empty

                      Poverty is your problem, it is everyone’s problem, not just those who are in poverty. – Rebecca, a child from Te Puru

                      https://www.noted.co.nz/currently/currently-currently/poverty-new-zealand-kete-half-empty

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      How does it result in misallocation of resources? As far as I am aware the private hospitals have to source their own resources and are not government provided.

                      Except that they don't. They grab public hospital doctors and use them thus taking them away from the public queues.

          • Muttonbird 8.1.1.2.2

            All the more reason to manage those communities properly! Govern, ffs.

            • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.2.2.1

              Not so much manage those communities but ensure that they're properly communicated with.

              Something that we seem to have forgotten in this age of the Information Super-highway. People still need to be informed from reputable sources and the community needs to ensure that people have that information.

  9. Andre 9

    The superspreading event for this latest outbreak may be religion-related. But what were they earlier this year?

    A wedding leer-up. An industry conference. An ordinary everyday function at an ordinary everyday pub in an ordinary everyday town. A school. Aged-care community homes.

    What all of these have in common (except the rest-homes) is large numbers of people gathering close together making loud mouth-noises at each other for long periods of times.

    Let's keep the attention on the actual behaviour that's risky. The motivations and demographics of those that tend towards those behaviours is very much a secondary thing, to be considered when figuring out new ways to meet their needs in ways that remove or reduce the transmission risk.

    • weka 9.1

      I agree, although we're not in March now. We know what works, and we have communities and groups of people deliberately working against that. In addition to the behaviours around covid we're going to have to address what to do about the conspiracy, low science literacy, anti-govt stuff.

      • Sabine 9.1.1

        Anti government types – Better and more honest government that actually works for the people – and the current options are not doing a stellar job here – considering that the poor and very poor and soon to be really poor working class are getting nothing but lipservice from the no – mates party, the labour party and all others. One can't even call it crumps what falls of these tables.

        Low science literacy – maybe provide the same funds to the seriously underfunded schools where these people live, rather then just shoveling money into the schools for the children of the very rich and politically connected?

        Conspiracy – in absence of a better narrative from government conspiracies are growing, besides its only a conspiracy until its proven correct.

        • Peter 9.1.1.1

          The current options are not doing a stellar job all right. People being told to social distance, not be in close quarters big gatherings, wearing masks, hand-washing and so on aren't working at stellar levels.

          It's a blame society so who to blame for the Mt Roskill outbreak? Ardern? Hipkins? Bloomfield? They didn't do a stellar job.

          Do you expect them to do stellar jobs for every individual everywhere including all churches.

          Ardern cannot beat the Bible. Ardern cannot beat the power of the daily dependence some people have on their bible and their pastor. Ardern cannot harness or change the ignorance which has been captured by others.

          • Sabine 9.1.1.1.1

            i have not said a word about hte actions of the government in regards to Covid. Firstly.

            Secondly my remarks are in regards to Wekas comment, which also has nothing to do with the actions of the Government in regards to Covid.

            Ardern can't beat the bible, but she could have put enough money in the pockets of the poor to not be so poor as to be reliant on churches not only for the souls but also for the physical aspect of living. Many of these churches are the first places people go to when they come into issues with money, housing, food insecurity etc. And on this the government has done a job that is less then stellar.

            Ardern cannot harness or change the ingnorance captured by others, true, but she can fund low decile schools, build classrooms where kids now sit in prota coms without heating or cooling, can fund a lunch programm for every kid every where and not just a wee program here and there, she can fund literacy classes for adults, she can fund free tampons and other female hygiene products to be dispensed in low decile schools so that girls can go to school without fear of running around with blood patches on their nether regions, but we only get a little trial in the Waikato (thanks to the Greens btw) and so on and so on and so on, and all of that is part of the Government not doing a stellar job, and the void is filled by Churches, Temples and Qanon.

            And last but least, yes i expect the Government to do a stellar job for all and not just a few. And if we can charge people on a bus a instant 300 NZD fine for not wearing a mask, then the government can charge a fine to churches who don't obey the rules, or even revoke their tax exempt status. Its not as if the government does not have tools to use.

            • Peter 9.1.1.1.1.1

              She should change history but she can't. She should have pushed through all sorts of social-economic policies to dramatically change the face of the country which sees it as it is. You can't do that when you get 38% of the votes.

              Don't worry the Collins led Government will be more stellar the Ardern's. And don't worry about kids in unheated portacom classrooms. With Act's education policy the woes will be a thing of the past:

              • "Provide every child with a Student Education Account. A child will receive $250,000 of taxpayer-funded education over their life, but parents have little choice in how it’s spent. ACT will empower parents by placing this money in a Student Education Account. Parents will be able to use it at any registered educational institution that will accept their child’s enrolment, public or private."
    • Draco T Bastard 9.2

      The motivations and demographics of those that tend towards those behaviours is very much a secondary thing,

      I'd consider those things to be a primary consideration. Its those motives that's driving the faulty behaviour.

  10. Treetop 10

    Trump was probably hoping that Covid – 19 would taper off like SARS did or a treatment or a vaccine to be found.

    The message needs to be safety first when the actions of others can have a deadly impact or cause long term harm to health.

    Strength to face uncertainty, percieved unfairness, be willing to do what needs to be done to be safe and keep others safe is required and more…

    • mauī 10.1

      It appears Covid does taper off as Sweden has found (unless it comes back in winter). Also the US and the UK are quickly returning to their baseline death rates.

      • Treetop 10.1.1

        Good news re the tapering off. You raise the winter period, government leaders would be bracing for this.

        Do you know what the factors involved for the tapering off are?

        I am interested in whether or not a strain of Covid – 19 is weakening. There are people out there who will have both flu and Covid – 19 at the same time. The out look for the latter part of 2020 is a worry for northern hemisphere countries.

  11. Muttonbird 11

    This is why funerals should never, ever be exempted from gathering limits. Breeding grounds for Coronavirus.

    People die. In a pandemic, deal with it.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/300103658/why-new-subcluster-has-officials-on-orange-alert

    • Treetop 11.1

      Managing to track and trace community cases at level 2 or 2.5 is bullshit.

      I cannot name a country where community spread has extinguished under a level 2 or 2.5.

  12. Anne 12

    Pacific leaders – and I mean the real leaders not the fundamentalist upstarts – should be taking the lead here. They probably are behind the scenes, but there is an element of urgency now. These individuals (and they're not all of Pacific origin) are effectively holding the rest of NZ to ransom. They need re-education but that takes time.

    In the meantime a bit of stick to bring them into line is essential. I hope the police together with community leaders can achieve something very soon.

    Fury over their behaviour is building fast – as evidenced by Lisa Owen's comment that Checkpoint had received many texts and emails from around the country expressing anger at what has transpired.

    • Muttonbird 12.1

      Fury is building fast and it could impact the election if the government doesn’t get it right. Perhaps this is what the right wing fundamentalist christians want – deliberate spread…

      When this Americold outbreak began were told a community health response was the right one, rather than a one-size-fits-all health response, which was racist apparently.

      Well, turns out the community health response doesn't work, and the Auckland region is paying a heavy price.

    • Ad 12.2

      I know it's counterintuitive, but the left need to defend the poor not attack them right now.

      • Muttonbird 12.2.1

        The left need to get the country moving again, not pander to right-wing fundy nut jobs.

        • Ad 12.2.1.1

          The government is managing this just fine without the help of you or any other part of the raging mob.

          • Muttonbird 12.2.1.1.1

            No it's not. The dangers of spread by people who flout the rules, lie to health authorities, don't isolate when told to, are well known by now.

            This cluster wasn't watched closely enough and Auckland is paying dearly.

          • Sabine 12.2.1.1.2

            ;hahahahah, no the government is not managing this fine. The poor are poorer now then they were three years ago, and while one can blame Covid for it, it is the current government that is not doing a single thing to help the poor. Specifically it is not giving the poor the money they need to not be poor.

          • Treetop 12.2.1.1.3

            How would you decrease the infections stemming from the main cluster?

            Covid – 19 is a serious issue and the majority of people are making Covid the issue and would not berate people for their beliefs.

            There needs to be consequences for breaking the law even if people think this is unfair.

            What should the consequences be for transmitting a terrible virus by not naming contacts or isolating?

        • Gabby 12.2.1.2

          The Fellowship doesn't seem to be particularly poor.

          • Muttonbird 12.2.1.2.1

            They are not. They can afford $183 per parishioner per week in tithing. This is probably why Ad is so attracted to them.

      • Anne 12.2.2

        I'm not attacking the poor Ad. To the contrary. The majority are doing their best to abide by the rules. I think that when we come out of this time they should be specifically rewarded for their efforts. I believe they will be – provided this govt. stays in power.

        My gripe is with the stupid and naive who (as I said @ 12) are not confined to South Pacifica. In the short term they need the long arm of the law to bring them into line. In the long term they need re-educating.

        • Ad 12.2.2.1

          Agree.

          Ardern has done pretty well to stand up to the disquiet so far: she is a true leader on this one.

          The longer the leaders stay rational and don't start on a witch hunt, the more society will be protected.

      • Peter 12.2.3

        Inferring you comment is about the church people in Mt Roskill. I don't know if they are poor, but your comment has me thinking and trying to see things from a different angle.

        Defend the poor's right to spread Covid-19?

        Defend the poor's right to religion?

        Defend the poor's right to be educated?

        Defend the poor's right to do whatever they like regardless of everyone else.

        Defend the poor's right to accept that while they are entitled to 'different views' so are others?

        • Ad 12.2.3.1

          Definitely defend their human rights.

          Which you can read about in our Bill of Rights Act.

          Definitely defend the right of the poor to be educated. Dialogue tends to work, even if it's more complex than enforcement.

          Defend the right of all of us to be free from disease.

          Defend the right of people to hold irrational views – definitely this is a free and open society the last time I looked.

          I'll just get you to imagine for a moment they were a group of anarchists, holding equally irrational views about state intervention.

          I'd defend them, as well as defending us, as well.

          • greywarshark 12.2.3.1.1

            You are so noble Ad.

          • RedLogix 12.2.3.1.2

            This is a good example of what I mean when I say 'give a person a bit of moral authority and it's instructive to see what they do with it'.

            Sure there is every reason to be angry and disappointed when this kind of misinformation and wrong-headed thinking puts everyone, and everything NZ has sacrificed so much for, at risk. It certainly feels like there is a bit of moral high ground over there just begging to be stood on. Fair enough.

            Now having gotten everyone's attention, what are you going to do with it? That's the question which reveals whether or not a person can be entrusted with real power.

  13. Tricledrown 13

    Fundamentalist religious cults breed ignorance to keep followers inline.Brian Tamaki,Bert Potter etc etc.Trump is feeding them to create division.

  14. Tricledrown 14

    Ad fundamentalist evangelicals vote right wing anti abortion, union, science,antivax ,state education etc.

  15. Whispering Kate 15

    It is unfortunate that Pacifica people are involved with this Evangelical Church. These fundamentalist churches attract people of all races, and all kinds of levels of our society. I know well educated white folk who are life long followers of the Pentecostal religion and they sure do have some whacky beliefs and once you are suckered in its a lifetime for some. Head shaking really but then we all have some funny ideas about things in life. Who are we to judge.

    This doesn't however give them carte blanche to ignore the Government's effort to tackle a serious public health situation. The police going in and "gently reminding them" of their responsibilities hopefully will defuse the situation. Their tendency within the church to look up to a dominant entity/leader may just be enough for them to heed the seriousness of the situation. The police saying if they transgress again "they may" be fined though wasn't enough. The police should have said they "would be" fined imo.

    • Muttonbird 15.1

      One of the best comments on the thread, Kate.

      I’d one occasion to be close to a church like this kind of recently and there was a very broad range of ethnicities. The groom was white and the bride was Tongan. The minister made an explicit point that marriage was between a man and a woman. Edgy, but whatever. Ministers don't make these pointed comments by accident…

      The groupings were a fraught but healthy mix of both lively young and dour old Kiwis. They had fringe beliefs and that is fine. But in this environment they need to control and educate their looser units. They have not done that and Auckland is fed up. I can say this because I am one.

      If they can’t communicate, the government must. Neither happened this time and it has affected a million people plus.

      • Whispering Kate 15.1.1

        Thank you Muttonbird. No matter what your beliefs are nobody is above the law. Public Health safeguards are a serious matter for everybody. Why these fundamental churches/conspiracy theorists big so deep into the dark web I have no idea. They become so consumed that everything in the end is a conspiracy. I have a niece bless her heart who has such seriously out of whack beliefs that I just cannot comprehend it. Being cynical is one thing but the ludicrous conspiracies she believes in I cannot fathom.

        Hopefully the church elders and pastors will talk sense into their congregations. At least they are getting them all tested. Worrying times indeed.

        • Muttonbird 15.1.1.1

          It's not good news from Auckland though with Pacific health leaders pushing back against Police involvement.

          They claim their way is best. Well, they had their go and fucked it up. Time for some proper oversight.

  16. Andre 16

    This may be better in Open Mike, but since the topic here is religious loons and covid …

    A prominent Ukrainian church leader who previously said the Covid-19 pandemic was "God's punishment" for same-sex marriage has tested positive for the virus.

    The 91-year-old made headlines in March when he told a Ukrainian TV channel that the coronavirus crisis was "God's punishment for the sins of men, the sinfulness of humanity."

    "First of all, I mean same-sex marriage," he added.

    https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/09/europe/ukrainian-leader-covid-same-sex-marriage-trnd/index.html

  17. karol121 17

    "In the gull icon corner we had; Muttonbird weighing in, and in the primrose icon corner; Ad"

    And an interesting wrestle it was indeed. There were no holds barred.

    And well done to both champs!

    At a basic level though, reason might prevail in relation to any one individual's post life beliefs.

    I would hope that in a progressive society, the common ground would be that you can believe what you like, but if you then take such a belief (or concept) and attempt to weaponize it, you pretty much make a statement that your own imagination (or faith) has precedence over anyone else's in relation to their expression or position on such topics.

    Is this healthy?

    Taking this one step further, in relation to compliance during a crisis (such as when temporary emergency powers/measures are introduced-whether loved or hated), there would be many left with the impression that a blatant breaking of assembly restrictions by various, simply based on "faith", would be likened to such congregations asserting that their concept takes precedence over mandated restriction and requirement requirements because a preacher or pastor says that a god tells him or her that it’s OK.

    While I personally might congratulate certain groups of individuals engaging in non-compliant activities (such as) if or when they believe such measures are representative of deep rooted concerns culminating in episodic civil unrest, I get the impression that most New Zealanders probably balk when it comes to public health concerns relating to a pandemic being challenged by a congregation insisting that their beliefs and actions are more important than the (widely presumed) health of the public generally.

    Sure. "You gotta have faith" (in something), so how about having faith in common sense when it is seriously needed, and leave the religious concept actions to a time and a place where it is tolerated and supported in New Zealand.

    Personally, those who have faith in one concept or another, culminating in the ignoring emergency measures, please don’t stop expressing what you feel simply because you feel outnumbered in this regard, which you are. But please, in the meantime, comply with disliked, but reasonable enough, temporary legislation.

  18. gsays 19

    Be miffed, disappointed, upset, angry even. But keep it to yourself.

    As the PM has said a few times, be kind. While it was in a different context, she also said "They are us". This applies to church folk and NZers returning to these shores who don't look like me/us.

    As has been pointed out already, if we ostracise or persecute folk, a'la the Americold/Tokoroa family, they will be driven away to where they can't be helped.

    • Shanreagh 19.1

      Good points gsays and that was why I was heartened to read that the majority (213 of 332) of those in the church at Mt Roskill have been tested as at 8.00am today. Perhaps a mix of carrot, stick and information has done the trick. No matter what religion or race or culture these are OUR people. PI people have had a heap of denigration over the years, they are poor in many cases and we do not want to drive them away.

    • karol121 19.2

      Well put, gsays and Shanreagh.

      Correct. If they get driven away or go underground, many will feel that they are in a physical world of their own as well, and will likely feel as if it is the rest of society as de facto non believers of their version of reality against them, both individually and collectively.

      Definitely a thumbs up from me and probably many others for your posts here.

    • mary_a 19.3

      @ gsays (19) … well said.

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