Friday, October 30, 2009

Tens of thousands of dollars!

Here I go again, faced with the choice between Herald sensationalism and Destiny fundamentalism. Fortunately for Bishop, this blog is called 'Editing the Herald' and not 'Editing General Irrationalism'. You may think that a crazy church is more worrisome than a rubbish newspaper - but then you probably haven't read the awful article on page 3 today. Honestly, it makes you yearn for Page 3 of the Sun.
Destiny Church supporters parted with tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of watching 700 worshippers swear an oath of allegiance to leader Bishop Brian Tamaki.
First, nice use of sarcasm in supposedly factual reporting - "the privilege". Evidently, a lot of people did find it a privilege. But still - tens of thousands of dollars? That's incredible! How on earth did the church members afford to go? I mean, tens of thousands of dollars gets you... a meeting with Barack Obama!
Church officials have confirmed "several thousand" people paid $30 each to attend the ceremony, with a $60 concession for family groups.
Oh. Well that's slightly misleading, isn't it. It would be more accurate to say, "Destiny Church supporters parted with thirty dollars for the privilege...". But then it wouldn't sound as much like Armageddon, would it?

Though the church could not give exact numbers yesterday, some who watched the oath ceremony estimated that about 3000 people were present - an audience which alone would have raised at least $90,000.

The church said there was a subsidy for "those who couldn't afford it", but it is not clear what the amount was.

Not clear what the amount was? Well, let's be charitable - perhaps they paid what they could afford? That's why it would be unclear, yeah? Either that or they pledged their souls in eternal servitude to Bishop. Anyway, let's look more closely at the Herald's calculations. 3000 people would have raised "at least" $90,000, it says. I'm not sure where the "at least" comes from, given that there's no suggestion that anyone in the audience paid more than $30. In fact, it's implied that a lot of people paid less. Destiny Church claims to be very family-oriented, so I would imagine there were a lot of family groups there. If a modest family group of four people attended, they would 'only' have paid $60, straight away taking our total down to $89,940. Then there's the issue of the subsidy. Although the Herald seems skeptical of its very existence, and ignoring the eternal servitude option, any monetary subsidy would have reduced this total further. Perhaps budget cuts at the Herald mean that all the calculators were put on Trademe.
Members were also asked for $10 to fund the Destiny School building extension, and a gold-coin donation to Destiny Television Ministries.
Yeah, well that just sounds like any church - or school - to me.

My point is, of course it's a rort. Of course Brian Tamaki likes the high life, and has to fund it. But you don't need to make stuff up, for a start. And you don't need to bang on about it like you're trying to justify an invasion of Iraq.

Tight poll
Destiny Church supporters last night flooded an poll which asked: How would you describe Brian Tamaki's Destiny Church? Of 10,579 readers who voted by 7.50pm, 49 per cent said it was a "valid church", while 51 per cent said Destiny Church was "a cult". Those results reflected a remarkable change from three hours earlier, when just 4 per cent of 4733 readers had voted for the "valid church" option.
Now look whose prediction was vaguely right. I just love the sense of mock outrage - after all that hard work, Destiny Church ruined the Herald's carefully designed, scientific poll!


  1. "Have you had experiences with the Destiny Church?
    Tell the Herald your stories"

    Could be a good opportunity to test their fact-checking capacity.

  2. Destiny Church kicked my dog.

  3. I think Destiny and the Herald are almost on an even par when it comes to mobilising redneck ignoramuses...almost. A few more Garths or articles on pseudo-history or poorly designed pseudo 'psychological' studies (not actually conducted by psychologists) into "males are equally victims of domestic violence" and they'll be pretty much on par in my book. The Herald seems more like a quasi-secular, free-economy worshiping, make up statistics kind of cult. People in glass houses and all that.

  4. their fact-checking capacity

    Ha! The Herald is a "forum for public ideas", not some kind of "news" organisation.

    Hating on Destiny seems to be this week's media-driven water-cooler conversation.

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