Saturday, September 23, 2006

Rules of the Exclusive Brethren

My father told me that he witnessed an exclusive Brethren woman (long hair, scarf) buying a newspaper. I mean, if you were an Exclusive Brethren member, this month would be a good month to buy a paper. But EB's are not permitted to read papers - let alone buy them. However they can - and do - write letters to the editor.

I noticed a couple of EB kids in the supermarket leafing through magazines behind their mother's back. Some rules are being broken left, right and centre by EB members. Here's a few more of the EB's repressive rules:

They eschew shared driveways and prohibit cross-lease property ownership. They cant live in houses with shared walls, sections with shared driveways - but can live in sections with shared fences.Their sewer pipes must go straight to the mains. Their cars must not be turbo charged. Television is out, as are novels, pets, radio-telephones, university degrees - even extramural ones - cell phones, record players, newspapers and bar coders. However, and conveniently, they can use airplanes.

They can't be members of "outside" organisations - which I guess would mean they cant have credit cards, super schemes or insurance. However EB professions can be memberships of pharmacists guilds and the like.EB's are not allowed to wear ties,(men) must be clean shaven and marry early.

They don't vote, they don't pay money to go to entertainment such as films, theatre or concerts. They can't even go on hoiliday in camping grounds, or go to the beach - but they can sit in Parliament to observe prodeedings. To engage in swimming, team sport, entertainment or friendship outside the membership brings swift exclusion from the sect. Shorts are banned. Women must have long straight hair, wear scarfs and denim skirts below the knee. Their kids cant go to public schools or university, and even private EB schools are not allowed IT or computer training. If a person is excommunicated from the church he must leave his wife and kids -and job as it is mole likely to be among EB's. He is not even allowed to eat with EB's. They say their places of worship are "public places" but the public is not allowed in.

Although computers and the Internet ( probably i-Pods as well) are banned. the church endorses a website.. I wonder who does it? They are allowed to hire lawyers,given that they can't get law degrees - but cannot email them. Apparently they can even hire private investigators to snoop on politicians and any one else they please.

The jury is still out on whether Exclusive Brethren members are allowed to tell lies.They certainly break many of the above rules.


Idiot/Savant said...

Women must have long straight hair, wear scarfs and denim skirts below the knee.

What if they're naturally curly? Is chemical straightening against the Law Of God?

Anonymous said...

Um, how do you know they're in the EB - plenty of people I know dress like you've described.

ScrubOne said...

Um, how do you know they're in the EB - plenty of people I know dress like you've described.

Murray said...

Their places of worship are indeed "public". They bus their own people in to places with high fences and employ private secuity firms to ensure no outsiders get in.

All depends on what you mean by "public" really doesn't it.

Anonymous said...

The (few) Exclusive Bretheren that I have know have all been kind hardworking quiet people. Sure they keep to themselves, but the ones I have known do no harm to others outside their religion, don't cause any fights or street violence or crime. They do help non-EBs at times too eg by providing free fruit to my mother. They are honest and do any work that I have had done, properly and on time.
They do not deserve the hypocritical ranting that is going on at present, nor the "tarring all with the same brush" routine with the generalising that is going on. We talk about tolerance in New Zealand. Certain people seem to have lost it.

Anonymous said...

Oops I did not mean to imply that they do any harm to people within their religion. I don't agree with their attitudes to women, but there are many attitiudes in NZ that I don't agree with. That doesn't mean that all the holders of those attitudes are "bad". They are just different to me.
I am concerned that everyday Exclusive Bretheren will become victimised, and that is a terrible thing for a country that professes freedom of expression.
NB. The first anonymous was not me.

Dave said...

All I was doing was revealing the rules of the EB. I think EBs have just as much right to get involved in the political process as anyone. EBs are not bad, they are different. EBs are law abiding citizens who are brainwashed into following rules that have nothing at all to do with Christianity.

In terms of politics the only difference between EBs and other religious groups is that they want to give lots of money to politicians they support - but don't vote.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave - no stress. I agree with you. But I am concerned that, because of the EB bosses and their decisions, the ordinary EBs could be victimised and picked on. We don't need that in NZ.

Many people support political parties - no one bats an eye if some businessman donates megabucks to the National Party, or if the EPMU pays funds to the Labour Party.

It annoys me when politicians say "we can't stop them coming to meetings" as if that would be a fair thing to do or "they shook my hand when I didn't expect it" as if they are pariahs. The EBs do pay taxes. They do have a right to have opinions. Okay, many of us consider their opinions odd, but they still have a right to have them.