One. Civil rights are not the same as human rights. Civil rights are the gift of citizenship; human rights are universal and exist from birth.
Two. Social justice is not the same as human rights. Social justice is broadly about advancing social and economic equity; human rights are about uncompromisingly protecting the autonomy of the individual and their enterprise.
Three. Anti-discrimination is not a human right. Anti-discrimination is about removing unjust prejudice; whereas, apart from equality before the law, human rights can actually be exercising discrimination, such as free association.
Four. Group rights cannot be human rights. Group rights cannot be universal to every person; human rights can only exist for individuals. “
As Brian Rudman points out in an opinion column in today’s Herald Devoy would do well to tackle a real problem instead of tackling an imaginary one like taking offence at the use of 'Christmas'. The example of a real problem he cites is the weird Christian custom of "karakia at dawn”.
I began by suggesting Dame Susan take on a real problem. Here's one I've raised in the past, one that her predecessors and politicians alike have studiously ignored.
It's the weird Christian custom of "karakia at dawn" that has been adopted by Auckland Council - and government departments - to precede the opening or launch of just about anything. Books, art galleries, wharf extensions, nothing is safe.
A couple of months ago, council worthies were traipsing around Wynyard Quarter development sites at 6am, while Maori kaumatua intoned Christian blessings for an hour and a half.
Message to Dame Susan. I feel excluded. I felt excluded when the Auckland Council was inaugurated with great ceremony in the Town Hall five years ago, standing out of politeness while the interminable praying went on. Since then it's only got worse.
We live in a secular society, proudly supporting the right for everyone to follow their own religion - or have none. At the last census, the majority religion was "No Religion". But instead of standing up for our secularism, government officials are busy thrusting religion down our throats.
They wrap it in a Maori cloak, and if anyone complains, they mutter biculturalism and Treaty of Waitangi. Yet in reality, they're just imposing one religion on the rest of us by stealth. Forget the Christmas straw man, Dame Susan, and tackle a real problem.
Like Rudman I too ‘stood out of politeness’ five years ago at the Town Hall at the start of the new Auckland Council. As I attended more Council events I eventually stopped kow-towing to ‘kaumatua’. I refused to stand up during one of the interminable Christian prayers, cloaked by maori language, when ordered to do so by one of these dictatorial nobodys with too much sense of their own importance.
Sometimes you just have to sit down for your human rights.