Currently the church’s businesses can stop union officials from entering their workplaces.
The Exclusive Brethren obtained the exemption for being a religious organisation outside the political process, as members of the church do not vote.
Minister of Labour Ruth Dyson says the justification for the exemption has to be looked at given the church’s involvement in last year’s election and revelations it hired private investigators to tail ministers.
Director of the Centre for Resource Management Studies, Owen McShane, says
the exemptions preventing access to union officials are granted to individual workplaces.
He says it would set a dangerous precedent to penalise the many Exclusive Brethren who knew nothing about their pre-election pamphlet, because of the actions of a few.
McShane says around six members of the Exclusive Brethren came to him before last year’s election to check out their understanding of the Greens’ views on the environment before publishing their pamphlet.
But he says the Exclusive Brethren made it clear they were acting as individuals and not on behalf of the Church.
He says Christians of many denominations view what he calls “deep-Green” views as anti-Christian and pro-pagan.
He says the Exclusive Brethren believe God made the world’s resources for us to use – whereas the deep-Green position is that nature is supreme and we should preserve nature rather than use it.
He says the Brethren, and many other religious groups, see Green policies as promoting worship of the “earth mother” which challenges the Christian viewpoint.
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