Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Flag it!

The Change the Flag debate is fascinating. With many others, I am outraged at the $27m budget for the cost of discussing the flag. The flag may well be outdated and inappropriate but I suspect the allocation of that kind of money - not to mention the manipulative structure of the process - is just part of a ploy to exhaust us all with the possibilities so that nothing is eventually changed.

And I am whimsically touched that a throw-away remark from the Leader of the Opposition that we might just as well replace the NZ national anthem has launched a public discussion that has no budget but is already consuming more oxygen than the official flag debate.

I am absolutely with those who say that the anthem reflects a Victorian understanding of God and nation. But I am appalled that those critics seem to assume that all of today's Christians still promote that kind of thinking. Several times in this blog I have advocated junking the ridiculous anachronisms around the daily prayer in Parliament, saying grace on public occasions, a lot of Anzac Day liturgy, and, yes, absolutely, the national anthem.

Besides these real issues of our understanding of ourselves, and our capacity to express that understanding in appropriate and creative rituals, the flag debate is a bit of a sideshow.

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