Brian Tamaki, bishop of New Zealand’s Destiny Church, often seems to be at the center of controversy. In recent years, he flaunted his wealth online (as pastors do), blamed earthquakes on homosexuals, lost his church’s tax exemption for failing to file tax returns, and was called a “hot preacher” in an ad purportedly sanctioned by his church.
Naturally, he’s looking for any way to get attention while the world’s eyes are on New Zealand, and he decided to make his mark by denouncing the Islamic Call to Prayer that took place before a national moment of silence for the victims of the recent terrorist attack.
“Today for at least a moment New Zealand will become an Islamic nation,” Mr Tamaki, who heads Destiny Church, says.
“It would be disingenuous for me as a Christian leader in this nation for near forty years to stay silent about what I believe is highly offensive to all Christians in this nation.”
Except that the Islamic call had nothing to do with Christians. It wasn’t a way to turn the nation to Islam; it was a way to allow Muslims to grieve in a way that would be appropriate for them. It was also a way for the government to show respect for a Muslim community that was ripped apart by unspeakable violence. If a church were attacked, I’m sure that a moment of silence for those victims would be preceded by a round of Amazing Grace. And probably a reading of the Kaddish for victims of a synagogue shooting.
If his argument was that religion and government needed to be kept separate, we could at least have that discussion, but this wasn’t about principle. This was about bigotry — as if reaching out to Muslims after aa terror attack against Muslims was somehow anti-Christian.
Tamaki said that his church offered victims’ families “food, prayer, and compassion” and insisted that he wasn’t being disrespectful. But that’s not his call to make.
Judging by the responses to this tweet, he may be alone in thinking his response was well-intentioned.
(Screenshot via YouTube)