Hidden prophets

01 Jul

A few days back Aluminium wrote about a job interview:

I went to the MET interview today and learned that MET stands for Meadowbank Educational … something. It’s not an exciting technology school like I hoped. It is quite the opposite: an Exclusive Brethren school. MET is a collection of small schools under the one Principal, distributed across the state. It stems from a main campus in Sydney. This campus has 80 students from Year 7 to 12…

…I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Especially when they told me the position was for next term onwards. I explained that I was committed at school until the end of this year – thinking that the direct approach might get me out of there quicker. Unfortunately, no.

So that was that. Forty minutes of interview. Not a total waste of time as I now know what MET schools are in a NSW context.

For those who don’t know, the Exclusive Brethren is a “secretive Christian cult” according to Wikipedia and a kind of Christian Taliban according to me. Aluminium must be reading today’s story by David Marr with interest.

WITH an iron hand, West Ryde businessman Bruce D. Hales rules his world church. To his 40,000 followers in the Exclusive Brethren, this prosperous supplier of office equipment in the Sydney suburbs is known as the Elect Vessel, the Lord’s Representative on Earth, the Great Man, the Paul of Our Day, Minister of the Lord in Recovery and Mr Bruce.

For 175 years the sect has counted among its strange proscriptions – no public entertainment, no novels, no eating with outsiders, no university, no membership of other organisations of any kind, no shorts (“God has no pleasure in the legs of a man”), no party walls shared with non-Brethren, no films, no radio, no television and no mobile phones – an absolute ban on worldly politics.

Brethren members have never voted. Since they came together in Dublin in 1829 to live their pure life, they have believed it is God’s prerogative and His alone to choose governments, as laid down in Romans chapter 13 verse 1: “The powers that be are ordained of God.” That rule held until the 2004 re-election campaign of John Howard where Brethren – never acknowledging their sect – advertised, leafleted and campaigned on behalf of the Prime Minister.

The Brethren fear God, honour the Elect Vessel and love Howard. “I am very thankful for the current Government we have in Australia,” Brethren representative Richard Garrett told the Greens’ leader Bob Brown a few weeks ago in Canberra. “I mean, in my lifetime we haven’t had a better government. We haven’t had a better government economically. Whatever way you look at it we have an excellent government in Australia.”

Within weeks of campaigning for Howard, Brethren were offering covert but well-funded support for George Bush. Intervention in Canada and New Zealand followed. Earlier this year, Brethren campaigned hard against the Greens in Tasmania. The strategy involved billboards attacking the Greens, towed through Hobart’s streets by men wearing party masks of freaks and ghouls. The message on the billboards was: “Dangerous Extreme.”…

Fascinating reading.

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One response to “Hidden prophets

  1. Jan

    July 1, 2006 at 9:55 pm

    I also commented on this from a more personal knowledge gained from observation and friends. As the article suggests in some places, they are being inconsistent with their beliefs in more ways than one.

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