I was busy today, but here's a few quick comments in passing:
- Following the departure of Georgina Beyer, the Chief Electoral Officer has declared Lesley Soper elected off the list. She will presumably be sworn in tomorrow. For those wondering, if anyone else retires, the next on the list is Louisa Wall, and after that Manukau City Councillor Su'a William Sio.
- The Saudi wahabis have a new human rights violation to add to their list: forced divorce. If you family changes its mind about your marriage, they can order it dissolved; if you continue to live together, they can have you imprisoned for cohabitation. "Monstrous" only begins to describe such interference in some of the most personal and precious choices a person can make. But this is what happens in a theocracy, where people think everyone should live according to the dictates of their imaginary friend.
- And speaking of imaginary friends, Brian Tamaki thinks that stating the simple fact that New Zealand does not have state religion is "treason". Such pre-Enlightenment ideas which conflate belief in a particular god (pr particular ways of believing in that god) with loyalty to the state led to atrocities across Europe - and they're one of the primary reasons why we adopted the liberal consensus in the first place.
- Finally, I'm not sure that "tolerance" is the right word to be using in a National Statement on Religious Diversity. It carries with it some nasty implications of contingency and patronage - that the majority tolerates the minority, but could change its mind. That people have different faiths is a fact, and one that is not going to go away, no matter how hard bigots like Tamaki wish it. Our challenge is to live with that fact without killing one another. The way we do this is to accept that on such issues, individuals are free to do as they please, and that their beliefs are between them and their consciences, rather than any business of the state. We don't "tolerate" this - we accept it, and then we get on with our lives.
I should add that the tour of Parliament is well worth taking if you haven't already done it.