Volume 2, Issue 2 - August 2007
Faith and ethnic communities
Table of contents
Editorial: Faith in a pluralist society
There’s nothing quite like birth, death, separation, cancer, and selling your home to make you think about the meaning of life and what you believe. The last few months have completely tested every thing I believed to be true and real about life. William Blake, the mystic and poet said that we are here to learn to endure the beams of love. I’ve had to be vulnerable and allow the cracks to show. In doing so, I’ve received love, support and unexpected kindnesses which have reminded me that we can touch each other through our vulnerability as well as our strength. The purpose of this journal issue is to explore the ways in which our deepest beliefs are manifested in the private and public sphere.
Statement on Religious Diversity
The Statement on Religious Diversity is a project of Te Ngira, the New Zealand Diversity Action Programme. It was prepared by the Victoria University Religious Studies Programme and was the subject of a national process of public consultation coordinated by the Human Rights Commission.
Human Rights and Religious Diversity
Joris de Bres
Some people have, over the past two years, asked why the secular New Zealand Human Rights Commission facilitates a national interfaith network, produces a monthly electronic interfaith newsletter, and has facilitated the development of a Statement on Religious Diversity. The answer is simple.
New Zealand as a multireligious society: Recent census figures and some relevant implications
Let’s face it, we are a religiously diverse nation. Over the years there’s been much talk and a lot written about our rising cultural diversity, but the significant increases in the horizontal growth of our faith-based communities are little mentioned. We embrace the multicultural dimensions of New Zealand as we sample the cuisine at ethnic restaurants, take yoga and tai chi classes, and attend cultural functions in our public places. We enjoy the fruits of our increasingly cosmopolitan country and, hopefully, become more tolerant of difference. But is tolerance really enough?
My Anglo-Armenian heritage has given me a personal connection to genocide and holocaust which came through in this work as I sought to subvert the pictures and question the numbing effect on the viewer of a visual diet of war provided by the mass media. For ‘Kill War’ my aim was not to reiterate such imagery but rather to provide an antidote to it, and to war itself. I wanted to cross the boundaries of “Christian”, “Buddhist” or “Hindu” arts and draw on a range of spiritual traditions. Together these images are of ‘collaborators’ against war, who act as a counterbalance to guns, blood and pain, and instead speak of compassion and love.
Immigration, integration and Islam
There is a tendency to simplify the issue of ethnic and religious minorities in the political and academic discourses in EU member states and broader debates in civil society. The use of terminology, such as immigration and migrants and connecting this exclusively with Islam and associating Islam with terrorism, is very wide spread. The political elite who want to win cheap votes use the term immigration to cover all sorts of groups who enter Europe. Is this a deliberate effort on the part of European rulers to mislead public opinion or can this be attributed to a simple case of ignorance and arrogance?
Not a Western story: the Christian faith and migrant communities in New Zealand
If Christianity could have ever been called a Western religion, it is certainly not one now. Christianity was born in the Middle East; it reached Africa before it reached England. The vast majority of the world’s Christians live in the two-thirds world, in Asia and Africa. When a Christian prays, she is most likely to speak in a language other than English.
The Concept of Faith: From the Perspective of a Practicing Sikh
Antoine Lavoisier, the French Chemist, is a rather unusual starting point for a write-up on Faith. What qualifies him to be part of a discussion on faith is that he is regarded as the founder of Chemistry. It does not mean that before Lavoisier there is no history of human experimentation with chemicals. On the contrary, chemicals have been used by humanity for thousands of years. From the miracles performed by priests and oracles to the perfumed unguents used by Egyptians 5000 years ago chemicals have played a role in making people happy or frightening them out of their wits.
Atheism and religious diversity
Efforts to develop understanding and cooperation in New Zealand are concentrating on ethnic and religious groups. The third of the population with non-religious beliefs are mostly ignored and this undermines true acceptance of diversity. We need to widen our horizons beyond the “Interfaith” approach if we are to address problems underlying suspicion and conflict between people of different beliefs.
Auckland City Interfaith Project - A case study of how a secular institution engages with faith
How does a city council engage with faith and interfaith groups? How does it build relationships with these groups and support relationships between faith communities?.
The Korean exorcist meets the New Zealand justice system
The trial and appeal of Korean exorcist Luke Lee began with a dead body and ended with a victory for religious freedom.
A Queer kind of faith: Religion and spirituality in Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual New Zealanders
Despite their fraught relationship with faith communities, however, some lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) persons have remained connected to their religious traditions which demonstrates their resilience and their unwillingness to abandon faith traditions that have in many instances abandoned them.
God's Men: The Red Mosque/Golden Temple
Fuad Khan Baloch
I was deeply saddened when I heard of the happenings in Pakistan as I followed the news- this poem was born out of that frustration.
Dancing with Others
Lance D. Laird
I stood tense on the dance floor, a straight guy in a gay bar in Seattle, trying to feel the beat of the country-western music. “It’s a two-step,” he said, “1-and-2, 1-and-2, 1-and-2; just follow me.” “I’m rhythmically challenged,” I laughed, to excuse my hesitation. As he hirled me around the room, with the muscular grace of a ballet dancer, it was both exhilarating and unnerving. “I bet this makes you feel uncomfortable,” he said. I was trying to get the steps right, to avoid tripping or stepping on his toes; more grateful for his amazing agility as the lead than uncomfortable in this formal embrace with another man.
Kiwis on the straight path:Muslim conversion in NZ
Muslims are everywhere these days, at least that’s the impression you might get from media reports which regularly seem to focus on the latest scandal, perceived injustice or apparently unreasonable demands of Muslim migrants, sparking calls from ‘mainstream’ Kiwi’s to ‘fit in, or go back home’. The stereotypical image of Muslims portrayed in these articles reflects a common perception that the majority hail from rigidly segregated, paternalistic, Middle Eastern countries whose burqa-clad women are treated as second class citizens. Add to this the ongoing rhetoric of the war against terror where, at least in the eyes of the general public, terrorists (read Muslim) are depicted as ‘hating those who love freedom’ and who are hell bent on imposing their own norms and behaviours onto others. Of course there may be some truth in this perception, but the vast majority of Muslims here are content to just get on with their lives and maintain cordial relations with their fellow New Zealanders.
I've tried to figure out just what is my religious, cultural, and ethnic identity for over 30years. I think it's a work in progress, so I'm going to present a set of episodes as an exploration of the complexities of identity. What it does show, I think that as a person matures, so does one's thinking. I don’t think that I have any right answers, but then I stand outside any notions of religious orthodoxy. Obvious stuff perhaps, but certainly not obvious at the time they are written.
'The 21st century spirituality revolution: Are there implications for migrants?
According to some pundits, the West is in the throes of a ‘spirituality revolution’. Certainly, over the past 40 years, there have been dramatic declines in attendances at places of worship, and also in those claiming any sort of religious affiliation.
Aotearoa Ethnic Network Journal
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