Kerre McIvor: Why I loathe Brian Tamaki

I almost lost my job because of Brian Tamaki.

Years ago, I used to host a radio show on Sunday morning.

During the course of a conversation, I described Tamaki in a way he obviously took objection to.

A few days later, my boss received a letter from Tamaki's lawyer.

The leader of the Destiny Church wanted a public apology.

My boss asked me to apologise to make Tamaki and his lawyers go away.

I refused.

My boss then told me it was no longer a request but an order.

It was either an apology or a long and costly court battle that Tamaki's Destiny empire could probably afford more than our company.

I dug my toes in. I believed what I said, I thundered. It was outrageous my boss was even giving him the time of day.

I yelled and door slammed and flounced but ultimately, it was either apologise or quit my job.

If it had happened now, I would have resigned.

Back then, I still had a daughter in school and a hefty mortgage.

I couldn't afford my principles.

So I had to read out a prepared apology and I had to sound like I meant it.

It was like coughing up a giant fur ball.

I loathed Tamaki then and I loathe him all the more now.

Tamaki pointed the finger at the gay community, murderers and sinners - sinners being an all-purpose category into which you can put anyone you dislike or whose practices you disapprove of.

Of course, he has been roundly criticised and lambasted by reasonable people and of course, he doesn't give a fat rat's bottom.

As long as his followers keep him in the lifestyle to which he and his family have become accustomed, nothing will bother him.

Should there be a day when he can no longer fly up the pointy end, courtesy of the money thrust upon him by his parishioners, should he no longer be able to afford the flash cars and the flashier suits because the people supporting him in his lifestyle have finally realised the emperor isn't wearing any clothes, then we'd see Tamaki ruffled.

Working for a living? After years of other people doing it for him? What a ghastly prospect.

His followers are loyal to a fault.

And I've interviewed and spoken to a number of people whose lives have changed for the better since joining the self-styled bishop's church.

On that point, I have always said that if he can call himself a bishop, I can most certainly call myself Queen Kerre. You may call me ma'am.

I interviewed a woman who had been gang-raped and beaten for most of her adult life.

She was basically waiting to die.

After joining Destiny, she turned her life and that of her children around and is now a trained childcare worker.

His supporters say there are many more examples of the transformative power of the church.

They also say they like their leader travelling in style.

One man told me we don't expect our Prime Minister to have a third-rate car or fly down the back of the plane - as far as he was concerned Tamaki was on a par with the PM.

Ordinarily, I would live and let live.

If Tamaki is bloated with his own magnificence as Pope Francis put it so beautifully, what do I care?

If people want to give their hard earned cash to people like the Tamakis, it's none of my business.

But when he attacks gays and sinners, he's attacking my friends. I would certainly hope my friends had committed the odd light-hearted sin over the years.

When he singles them out for God's wrath and makes nonsensical, illogical statements about natural phenomena, then he becomes a person of interest.

He's an odious individual who uses fear and loathing to rouse his followers.

Welcome to the post-Trump world.

- Herald on Sunday

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