Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Exclusive Manipulation

This week's edition of Four Corners dealt with the cult of the Exclusive Brethren. While their political machinations were mentioned in passing (even though they falsely profess to be forbidden from such worldly things) it was mainly about the controlling, manipulative nature of the sect and their successive leaders (including a recording of one leader giving an extremely drunken and incoherent "sermon"), as well as the terrible (and, one might say, unchristian) psychological damage they have done to families.

As evidence of the god-fearing, devout, wellspoken, holy christian people these cleancut demure souls are, take the example of a couple of devotees who noticed the camera crew filming in the street (as they had a perfect right to do):

QUENTIN MCDERMOTT: As the Brethren have become politically more visible, Four Corners has been approached by former members, concerned that the real story of the sect's family values isn't being told.

YOUTH 1: Get out of here, or I'll boot the whole thing over.

QUENTIN MCDERMOTT: Four Corners set out to uncover that story - but it wasn't easy. The Brethren wouldn't be interviewed, and their attitude to being filmed is hostile, as we discovered when we were quietly filming in a public Perth street.

YOUTH 2: We just realised that you're a camera crew, so we're just giving you crap.

YOUTH 1: So, who called you up here, who called you up here - opposers?

QUENTIN MCDERMOTT: Are you supporters?

YOUTH 1: Supporters of what?

YOUTH 2: Mate, just by the way, I'll just warn you, in five minutes, if you don't get off, you'll be very, you'll be...

YOUTH 1: Have you got a fear of the government of God?

YOUTH 2: Are you believers?

QUENTIN MCDERMOTT: You're threatening us?

YOUTH 2: No, we're not threatening you.

YOUTH 1: Are you believers?

YOUTH 2: We are not threatening you - you are threatening us.

QUENTIN MCDERMOTT: No, we're not threatening you.

YOUTH 2: Yes, you are.

YOUTH 1: What are you doing here?


YOUTH 2: Yes, you are.

QUENTIN MCDERMOTT: In what way are we threatening you?

YOUTH 2: Do you believe in God?

QUENTIN MCDERMOTT: Do you believe in God?

YOUTH 1: Get a real job, earn a wage, mate.

YOUTH 2: Yes, I do. I do believe in God.

YOUTH 1: Waste your film, mate. Poor cunts.

If you're in any doubt that some of the most evil acts in this world have been perpetrated by those professing the highest motives, you only need to watch this program.

Of course, the EB haven't neglected their duties to meddle in worldly things. They recently hired a private investigator to "dig up dirt" on the New Zealand Prime Minister, and rumours that her husband might be gay were bandied about. Now, while it might be smallscale political manipulation to suggest that the Australian Greens do obscene things with native animals (or whatever ungodly, un-christian-family thing it was they were suggesting had upset their holier-than-thou cherry-picked bibble wisdom), it isn't wise to go after the leader of a country.

Initially reluctant to distance himself from the EB (and their cash - another example of how uninvolved the EB are in the world and politics), the leader of the NZ opposition has now caved into pressure:

The New Zealand Opposition has cut its ties with the Exclusive Brethren. The Exclusive Brethren's fall from grace has been swift and dramatic. Just two days ago Opposition Leader Don Brash said he was not about to sever ties with the secretive sect, which helped bankroll the National Party's last election campaign. "Quite often I bump into those people... they normally simply say 'we're praying for you'," he said. Mr Brash says he now wants nothing to do with the Brethren or the underhand tactics he says they have used to influence the New Zealand political process. His colleagues say they have done more harm than help to the conservative cause. It is also likely they will also lose their exempt status under the labour laws, which has kept trade union officials locked out of Brethren businesses.

Since the Australian government is a conservative, god-fearing lot, the EB are probably in no danger in this country.

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