Battles with cosmic consequences are all the rage, so it's no surprise that there's a heaven-shaking infinity war going on at Haupiri, where two Christian sects are duking it out over whose version of an imaginary friend is the more accurate.

A group called the Night Raiders has been sneaking into the Gloriavale Christian Community at night and leaving copies of a publication entitled The Gospel of Jesus Christ by Paul Washer, which presents a different interpretation of Christianity from that proposed by the leaders of Gloriavale.

Community member John Ready liked what he read.

There was "a god of love pursuing after me to save me from myself, not a god… threatening me" he said.


But Ready was found guilty of being in possession of religious contraband and kicked out under clause 16, Expulsion, sub-clauses 16.1.4, 16.1.9 & 16.1.10 of the Partnership Agreement.

Gloriavale seems like a terrible place and we might well sing hallelujah for everyone who gets out of there, but what is the point of changing one variety of superstition for another?

Washer's book is not exactly progressive or peppered with Pope Francis-scale heresies*.

His alternative religious message is still a religious message, but neither, come to that, is it terribly alternative.

In the seditious pamphlet, the words "man" or "men" occurs 15 times, the word "women" once. The word "judgment" makes 11 appearances.

John Ready and his lawyer, Grant Cameron, had other complaints.

"It seems that people there are not actually being paid in the conventional sense," said the lawyer.

Which is hardly surprising. If you've read your Gloriavale history you'll know that communal property was part of the plan from the get-go, as described in Acts 4: 34-35.

It reads: "Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need."

Though their actions have only just been reported, the Night Raiders have been at it for years and claim some 75 converts on their crusade so far.

That's probably more than Gloriavale has made in the other direction.

Although I think it could be described as a sex cult that takes the fun out of sex, given the priority it places on forced hooking up and breeding within the community, it's possible that genetics will end the sect before moral outrage or legal actions do their slow work.

John Ready is clearly a happier and freer man today and that's a good thing. But now his lawyer is threatening various legal actions, including a claim that he was the victim of religious discrimination.

Does he not know that religious discrimination is the whole point of Gloriavale?

Ready knew what the rules were and he broke them. If there's one thing everyone at Gloriavale knows, it's the rules.

In my view someone who gets punished for breaking rules he knew well is not really in a position to complain when the rules are enforced.

That's a useful principle to keep in mind, whether you're an independent religious thinker in a strict community, a free-spirited non-seatbelt wearer, or a recreational drug user.

*A good point at which to note, for those interested in when the world is going to end, that there is a Catholic demographic which believes that Francis' beliefs are so unorthodox that he may well be the Antichrist whose coming just before the world ends was announced in the Book of Revelations.