Domestic violence charity White Ribbon has threatened to withdraw its support from an anti-violence event after Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki was booked to speak.
We Stand Because We Care was supposedly a community event, but White Ribbon campaign manager Rob McCann says it appears to have been "taken over" by Destiny Church group Man Up New Zealand.
"We thought it was organised by the community," Mr McCann told Newshub. "They're using the White Ribbon name for purposes we don't approve of."
White Ribbon says Mr Tamaki's "homophobic remarks" and the church's messages don't fit in with White Ribbon's kaupapa.
"I am writing to say that we are extremely concerned about the We Stand Because We Care Event and the association with White Ribbon," reads a letter he sent to Man Up, and supplied to Newshub.
"As you are aware, White Ribbon has only been informed of the details in the last few days, and this has given us very little time to ensure that the event fits the kaupapa of White Ribbon."
White Ribbon's concerns include that:
- the event has been organised without the proper involvement of White Ribbon and without their full knowledge
- many of Brian Tamaki's views are not compatible with White Ribbon values
- the publicity for the event fails to highlight violence by men towards women - in fact, women are not mentioned at all.
- the impression from the publicity material is that men are the leaders of their families, and this fails to recognise the diversity of families in New Zealand and the need to challenge gender roles and focus on women's equality, which is a protection against violence
- the wide range of issues being raised by the event are important, but risk overshadowing the main message of White Ribbon
- the inclusion of suicide awareness in the event is incompatible with the homophobic attitudes of Destiny's Church, and the statistical evidence that the LGBTQ community is over-represented in suicide statistics.
"In light of these concerns, it is not possible for White Ribbon to support an event that aligns us with Man Up, Destiny's Church and Brian Tamaki," Mr McCann said.
"We respectfully request that Brian Tamaki withdraw from the list of speakers, that all messaging be realigned to match White Ribbon's 2017 campaign focus."
If Man Up doesn't agree, White Ribbon will withdraw its White Ribbon ambassador, Richie Hardcore, and insist that the White Ribbon name be removed from this event.
"We can't have the kind of messages they say. It has have very little to do with our kaupapa."
Destiny Church has declined to comment on the issue when contacted by Newshub.