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Clarkson draws line between anti-PC and offence

So let me get this right: Bob Clarkson, insisting you’re tolerant of all religions, but “Muslims wearing burqas … should go back to Islam or Iraq”? Wait—I don’t get that—you mean, “I respect everyone, but those who I don’t respect should get lost.” I’m sure I don’t need to point out the contradiction too explicitly, but for those that didn’t spot it themselves, I just did.

I assume that he was referring to Muslim immigrants, because (most Muslims being immigrants aside) he went on to say that “they should fit into the country”. Either Clarkson has a very, very narrow-minded definition of “fitting in” or he’s still a teenager, because last time I checked, “fitting in” was more than what you wear.

Then, he openly voices a firm opposition to gays and lesbians. Oh wait—hang on—it wasn’t an opposition, it was only an opposition to them showing it in public. If you ask me, same thing. In his words, it’s okay “as long as they’re doing it in their own house, but if you try to ram it down my throat, look out”.

Now, I’m sure it doesn’t take a genius to recognise that his comments on Muslims and gays would have caused offence. Clarkson, though, seems to not understand his own comments, thinking that Javed Khan needs to “thicken his skin up a little bit”.

Maybe my skin needs thickening up too, because despite being neither Muslim nor gay, I’m offended (probably more disgusted) by both his comments. That said, it’s more that the guy actually believes not only that he has public support, but that he is “talking like a real New Zealander”.

Last time I checked, “the bedrock values [Don Brash sees] as fundamental to New Zealanders are an acceptance of democracy and the rule of law, religious and personal freedom, and legal equality of the sexes.” They weren’t oppression of Muslims. They weren’t oppression of gays. They weren’t—dare I say it—the personal beliefs of a non-practising Presbyterian.

He has, in effect, confronted what his own party sees as the bedrock values of New Zealand. “Fitting in” to New Zealand no longer means being a Christian (at least, not to most people), it means accepting the practise of other religions, and of other anything, whatever or however those about you go about it. Those who see New Zealand as a Christian-based country (reference to speaker on Newstalk ZB this morning) are either really outdated or really mistaken, because at last census, 30 per cent of New Zealanders didn’t practise any religion and a further 11 per cent practised a religion that was non-Christian, and while a good number of New Zealand’s practises are somewhat inherited from Christianity, the non-acceptance of burqas and gays is certainly not, or at least no longer, one of them.

There comes a line between anti-political correctness and plain, insensitive offence, and Clarkson has proceeded well beyond that line. To fight political correctness is to ensure that society does not turn inside out; Clarkson is simply targeting groups he doesn’t like without them having done anything to deserve it.

“It’s just purely got overheated. God, I can’t believe a little burqa could cause so much strife.” Dude, you’re a politician and you made offensive comments. Did you really expect it to not get overheated?

“I’ll put it this way: I’m very happy that I was born in 1939 in Gisborne as a male and I’ve stayed that way all my life.” That’s it, just dig yourself out of the hole. If he doesn’t take more care, then he is, like Helen Clark says, very much in danger of becoming a standing joke.

Related Links

  • NZ Herald: People are behind me on burqas, says Clarkson (29 August)
  • NZ Herald: National MP Clarkson targets Muslims and gays (27 August)
  • NZ Herald: Don Brash: Immigrants need to share our values (28 July)
  • Statistics New Zealand: Religious affiliation count for 1991, 1996 and 2001
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