05 Into the Seventies: The beginnings of Moralist Protest • E-Theses

05 Into the Seventies: The beginnings of Moralist Protest

Brett Knowles, , University of Otago, Dunedin

5. Into the Seventies:

The beginnings of moralist protest

5.1. The Sexual Revolution and the Permissive Society

5.1.1. "The times they are a-changing": The "Swinging Sixties"

Seen from the perspective of a quarter of a century later, the most enduring images of the "Swinging Sixties" are those of social change and protest. The 1960s can be described as a decade of challenge to institutional authority.[1] As Graham Dunstall comments in The Oxford History of New Zealand:

Unsurpassed prosperity and social tranquillity characterized the two decades from 1945. From the late 1950s there were signs of rebellion among adolescents; by the early 1960s youth culture had been commercialized; from the mid-1960s it was politicized as counter culture. The late 1960s brought recession and participation in the Vietnam war; new forms of urban protest sprang up, the most enduring of which in the 1970s were a Maori cultural resurgence and a new feminist movement. Optimists saw in the growing diversity of lifestyle a new social pattern emerging. Yet in the social fabric, elements of continuity were as pervasive in the 1970s as they were in the 1940s.[2]

Dunstall's analysis is echoed by Robert Chapman, who, in his article in the same volume, refers to "the [political] stasis of the 1960s" and maintains that

the underlying changes in the golden 1960s were social rather than political, technological rather than legislative, individual rather than public. If they took a mass form they did so as protest movements, confronting or, at the most, working alongside the party structures. The tertiary education boom, television, and the contraceptive pill were transforming family and personal relationships as well as the method by which politics were perceived.[3]

Despite the accelerating pace of social change, there were, as Dunstall points out, also elements of continuity. The 1960s were not a discontinuous and self-contained era, but formed part of an historical continuum, inheriting links with the events of previous decades, and laying a foundation for the reaction and polarisation of the 1970s. The process of challenge to institutional authority which characterised this decade can be observed as early as the mid-1950s. For example, the report to Parliament of the special Committee on Moral Delinquency in Children and Adolescents [the Mazengarb Report] in September 1954 "lamented the changing values of young people and called for more religion in the home."[4] The "Bodgies and Widgies" and the "Milk-Bar Cowboys" of the late 1950s marked the first overt signs of rebellion among the adolescent generation, and the advent of "rock and roll" gave expression to the emerging youth culture. This mood of unfocused rebellion in the late 1950s, perhaps best captured by James Dean's legendary film performance in Rebel without a Cause, helped to lay the foundations for a more clearly defined and targeted protest movement in the 1960s, which continued to flourish during the next decade. The "Swinging Sixties" therefore accelerated and reinforced trends which had been emerging since the early 1950s.

Nowhere was this process of social change more evident than in the sphere of sexual morality. There were several specific events which provided the catalyst for this. The opening shots in what became known as the "Sexual Revolution" were fired in 1960 with the publication in England of the unexpurgated version of D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover.[5] Of even greater importance was the invention, and consequent mass availability, of the Birth Control Pill:

More women - 14 million in the United States and 60 million world-wide - use the pill than any other reversible method of contraception. The pill was the biggest break-through for giving women control over their reproductive lives of anything that came along until legalised abortion....The sexual revolution [was] born on 9 May 1960 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the pill.[6]

The availability of "the Pill" had the effect of removing the threat of pregnancy from millions of women, thus giving them greater control over the consequences of their own sexuality, and contributed to the loosening of traditional constraints on sexual relations.

The role of the media in the modification of sexual attitudes and in the transformation of family and personal relationships was also important. The world-wide liberalisation of media standards removed many of the restraints on what was considered fit to report. Furthermore, the visual impact of television enabled a more direct and personalised communication of information and ideas, since events were not just reported to happen, but in many cases were seen to happen.[7] The media, and particularly television, were therefore powerful catalysts for change, and had a major effect on the ethos of the era. As a result of these and other factors, attitudes to sexuality and morality became more relaxed throughout the 1960s.


5.1.2. Specific "Moral Issues": Homosexuality, Abortion and Pornography

The increasing permissiveness of the 1960s was exemplified by a number of specific issues which provoked vigorous debate and provided the catalyst for various forms of organized protest in the 1970s and 1980s. These were the issues of homosexuality, contraception and abortion, and pornography and censorship.

The "moral issue" which appeared to receive the least attention during the decade was that of homosexuality. Viewed in the light of developments in the 1980s, this seems somewhat surprising. The comparative lack of controversy may be due to the fact that homosexuality had still a comparatively low profile at this stage, and it was not until later in the decade that homosexuals began to "come out of the closet." There was some public debate, however, which began with the passage of the Crimes Act 1961. This Bill had been introduced to Parliament with the intention of replacing the Crimes Act 1908. However, a section of the earlier Act which had made homosexual acts between consenting male adults an offence had been omitted in the draft of the 1961 Bill. Public pressure to have this particular section reinserted in the new Act resulted in the retention of the relevant clause, and the law relating to homosexuality therefore remained as it was in 1908.

Later in the decade, the debate over homosexuality was renewed when the New Zealand Homosexual Law Reform Society was formed in 1967 to "promote the reform of the law whereby homosexual acts between consenting adults in private shall not constitute a criminal offence."[8] Although there was strong public debate over the issue, which tended to generate more "heat" than "light," no amendment of the legislation took place. Controversy over the issue was renewed at intervals throughout the 1970s, and, following the refusal of Parliament to decriminalise certain sexual activity in the 1976 Crimes Act or to provide protection from discrimination for homosexuals in the 1977 Human Rights Act, the National Gay Rights Coalition "orchestrated a programme to promote legislative change."[9] The legislation, however, remained unchanged until the passing of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill in 1985. This Bill removed the legislative restrictions on homosexual activity between consenting adults, but not without massive moralist opposition in the form of the Homosexual Law Reform Petition.[10]

The second specific issue was that of contraception and abortion. The liberalisation of attitudes to contraception in the early 1960s, in part stimulated by the availability of the Pill, had its counterpart in attitudes to abortion in the later part of the decade. Vaughan and Varelas note that "in many Western countries, the 1960s was [sic] characterised by a marked resurgence of interest in the abortion issue, with both pro-abortion and anti-abortion groups mobilising political action."[11] In New Zealand, the Crimes Acts 1961 continued almost unchanged the provisions of the 1867 Offences Against the Person Act, and "provided penalties for anyone attempting to procure a miscarriage, except when it might be necessary on medical grounds for the `preservation of the life of the mother' (Section 182)."[12] The meaning of this phrase was, however, ambiguous, as was the use of the term "unlawful" in the Act. The effect of this ambiguity was to place the onus of decision over whether or not to terminate a pregnancy on the discretionary powers of the medical doctor. The confusion that existed about the legal status of abortion under the 1961 Act, together with the liberalisation of abortion laws overseas throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s,[13] led to increasing pressure for revision of the abortion law in New Zealand.[14]

This agitation for reform resulted in a degree of polarisation over the issue and sparked a conservative reaction, which was led by the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child [SPUC], formed in Auckland in March 1970 "specifically to fight the abortion issue."[15] SPUC was strongly, although not exclusively, supported by Catholics, with additional support coming from members of the Fundamentalist churches and from the Mormons. The formation of counter-movements soon followed. The Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand [ALRANZ] was launched the following year, and a more radical sister group, the Women's National Abortion Action Campaign [WONAAC] was founded in 1972. Jocelyn Brooks comments that support for, and membership of, ALRANZ and WONAAC was largely female and non-sectarian:

ALRANZ had two-thirds women members as befits a group concerned with a problem which essentially affects women. WONAAC membership is almost totally women. A major difference is the conservative religious motivation dominating SPUC activities which is not the case in both ALRANZ and WONAAC members.[16]

It is clear that, even at this early stage of the moralist debate, there was seen to be a clear demarcation between conservative religion (represented, according to Brooks, by Catholic involvement in SPUC) on the one hand, and the emerging women's movement on the other. While this conservative opposition represented an attempt to maintain a traditional Judaeo-Christian ethic in the face of a rapidly-changing social morality, it was also to some extent, a response to the process of change itself. Colin Brown observes that

so long as the pace of social change continues and security continues to elude us,...the forces of conservatism will be strongly represented in the churches....Religions have a special attraction to those made anxious by the pace of change and for whom security in other areas appears elusive.[17]

Nevertheless, the ongoing debate between these opposing political pressure groups ensured that considerable public controversy continued.

This public controversy intensified during the 1970s.[18] However, the focus of protest in general was now changing. W.H.Oliver observes that "intimate issues became dominant; abortion...was the rallying point for the most vehement agitation."[19] This helped to bring about a reform of the abortion laws during the first parliamentary term of the Muldoon government, and led to the passing of the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Bill in 1977. This Act provided for the establishment of an Abortion Supervisory Committee and set up procedures by which the approval of certified consultants was required for the carrying out of abortions in approved institutions. However, although the Act had the effect of legalising "approved" abortion clinics, its wording was confused and difficult to administer in practice. Consequently, political debate continued, with groups such as REPEAL being formed to lobby for the repeal of the Act (which was seen as unworkable and undesirable), and SPUC, for its part, continuing to apply pressure in both the political and public arenas for the abolition of abortion.

The focus of anti-abortion activity in the 1980s appears to have shifted to criticism of the performance of the certifying consultants and the Supervisory Committee, and to the formation of "rescue groups" which, among other things, engaged in the picketing of abortion clinics and in attempting to dissuade women seeking an abortion from going through with the process.[20] Some anti-abortionists, particularly the late Dunedin lawyer J.S. O'Neill, continued to test the legality of abortion clinics through the courts, and to exploit the loop-holes in the current legislation in order to prevent the carrying out of abortions. The debate between "pro-life" (i.e. anti-abortion) and "pro-choice" (i.e. pro-abortion) campaigners therefore continued, with the former stressing the right of the foetus to live, and the latter, the right of the woman to choose either to continue or terminate the pregnancy.

A third, more high-profile, issue in the later 1960s was that of pornography and censorship. In New Zealand, the law relating to this was set out in the Indecent Publications Act 1963, which, in the words of the Hon. Ralph Hanan, then Minister of Justice, and the architect of the Act, was intended

to provide one central, highly qualified authority...to determine the standard that shall be observed in publications....to establish an Indecent Publications Tribunal readily accessible to anyone....to give statutory recognition to the classification of publications which are only suitable for particular persons or particular uses.[21]

The Act came into force on 1 January 1964, and established an "unique system"[22] in the control of indecent publications. The practical effect of the legislation was to remove the juridical responsibility from the courts to a permanent Tribunal specifically appointed for the purpose. This enabled a more unified and consistent approach to issues of pornography and censorship, since the power to act was vested in the permanent appointees to the Tribunal, rather than in the magistrate. According to Ed Dearn, the Tribunal was both prompt and efficient:

A noteworthy feature of the work of the Tribunal has been the speed at which it hears and determines the publications before it, It simplifies legal procedure and avoids the criminal trial, except where publication is made in defiance of its rulings. On the other hand, there is preserved the right of appeal to a Court where the Tribunal acts in a manner contrary to judicial principles. It is significant that in ten years there has been only one such appeal.[23]

832 publications were classified by the Tribunal during the first eleven years of its existence to 1974. These included books, magazines, periodicals and films; the performance of live stage shows such as Oh! Calcutta! also came under its jurisdiction. The Tribunal had power to determine whether a publication was "indecent" or "not indecent," or to place restrictions on its circulation (as, for example, an R16 or R18 rating), and to attach special conditions to any of its classifications. Stuart Perry has compiled several indexes of the decisions of the Tribunal.[24] An analysis of these clearly demonstrates the spread of indecent publications in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and this is set out in summary form in Tables 5.1 and 5.2 on page 141, and in graphic form in Figures 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 on pages 142, 143 and 144.

Indecent publications of all kinds clearly became more widespread in the late 1960s. The extent of this increase is exhibited in Table 5.1 and Figure 5.1. The workload of the Tribunal was initially relatively static at an annual rate of 20 submissions or less until 1967, but more than trebled to 74 submissions for 1968, and remained close to this level until 1970. The number of submissions again doubled in 1971 to 143, and rose by a further 54% the following year to reach a peak of 221 for 1972. Thereafter, the level of submissions began to decline. The quantitative increase in submissions during this period appears to be matched by a qualitative change also. As can be seen in Table 5.1 and Figure 5.3, the proportion of publications which were determined indecent or restricted increased from a low of 31.58% of those submitted to the Tribunal in 1965 to a peak of 90.95% in 1972. The actual number of indecent or restricted publications in 1972 (i.e. 201) was five times that recorded in 1968 (i.e. 40).

The rise in the number of publications ruled indecent or restricted throughout this period does not appear to be due to more stringent standards on the part of the community, despite the activity of Patricia Bartlett and the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards [SPCS], formed in November 1970. Nor can it be explained by positing a greater strictness on the part of the Tribunal since included among the cases heard by the Tribunal were four reconsiderations of publications which had been previously determined. In all four cases, the Tribunal imposed a lighter category of restriction.[25] Rather the increase appeared to be a product of the greater availability of such materials as indicated in the growth in the number of submissions, as well as the higher level of intrinsically indecent content as reflected in the higher proportion of submitted materials ruled indecent by the Tribunal.

In the case of periodicals, an analysis of the 185 instances which can be identified from Perry's indexes shows that although initially few periodicals were determined indecent, this number grew rapidly after 1970 to reach a peak of 60 (89.55% of submissions) in 1973. In fact, the growth rate of indecent periodicals was often steeper than that of indecent publications in general. This was particularly the case in 1971 and 1973, where the increases on the preceding year were 142.86% and 172.73%, respectively. These increases are exhibited in Table 5.2 and in Figures 5.2 and 5.3.

It would seem, therefore, that magazines and periodicals formed an increasingly conspicuous proportion of the publications ruled indecent by the Tribunal. This may have been an important factor in public perceptions of the spread of pornography, since magazines and periodicals tended to be more "high-profile" than non-periodical material. Because their contents were usually pictorial rather than verbal, they were often both highly visual and highly visible. The increasing volume of "questionable" periodicals, as represented by a nearly ten-fold increase (i.e. from 7 to 67) in periodical submissions to the Tribunal from 1968 to 1973, together with their inherently greater visibility as against other forms of pornography, helped to strengthen public perceptions of the accelerating growth rate in indecent literature. Consequently, in the eyes of some sections of the community, the Indecent Publications Tribunal was not only failing to halt the spread of pornography, but was in fact contributing to the increasing liberalisation of moral standards.

An example of this is the somewhat jaundiced view of the Tribunal and of the censors taken by Dr. J.H.Court, a lecturer in the School of Social Sciences, Flinders University, South Australia. Dr. Court conducted a lecture tour of New Zealand in 1979, apparently at the invitation of the SPCS. He refers to the increase in serious sexual assaults in New Zealand in the ten year period to 1977, and comments that

the censors [do not] have some magic formula for drawing an unerring line....In practice, standards here as elsewhere have been moved quite substantially in recent years in response to liberalising pressures. Decisions appear to be determined by a small group of `experts' who seek to divine what public opinion wants. Yet there is little evidence of serious efforts to tap where public opinion really is.[26]

The result, says Dr. Court, is that

these influences, once confined to those who sought pornography, have now intruded increasingly into public awareness with films, magazines and T.V. programmes creating a climate of opinion which accepts exploitation and dehumanization as the norm. We can either respond firmly against this or become desensitised to the point that it no longer matters.[27]

A controversial tour of New Zealand in October and November 1969 by the stage show Oh! Calcutta! proved to be "the straw that broke the camel's back." In the eyes of some sections of the Christian community, this stage show, which included scenes involving nudity, was symbolic of the decline in moral standards and of the spread of the "permissive society." The following year a petition against the show was organised by Miss Patricia Bartlett, and gathered nearly 50,000 signatures. This petition was presented to Parliament, and asked for a definition of "indecency" so that no scenes showing nudity or sexual intercourse could be included in any public entertainment. Although the petition was rejected by Parliament, it resulted in considerable publicity for Miss Bartlett. She recalls that

we collected just under 50,000 signatures against Oh! Calcutta! All that nudity and homosexual love on stage. Anyhow, it was amazing. I got into all the newspapers, then Brian Edwards gave me a tough time on T.V. Oh, that was the best publicity job I've ever had....People thought `Look at the way he interviewed that poor little woman!' I was deluged with sympathy and support. Then I was invited to talk to Rotary and the Lions and a lot of those meetings were reported. In twelve months I was extremely well known.[28]

The rejection of Miss Bartlett's petition, together with the blaze of publicity which followed, led to the formation of the SPCS in November 1970. This group, which to some extent was synonymous with Miss Bartlett herself, rapidly became the most prominent of the moral campaign groups in the 1970s, and, together with SPUC, formed the same year to contest the abortion issue, marked the beginnings in New Zealand of a conservative Christian reaction against the "permissive society."


5.2. The conservative Christian response to the permissive society

The formation of pressure groups such as SPUC and SPCS in 1970 represented a conservative response to specific issues (e.g. abortion and pornography). As Allanah Ryan observes, this was also significant from a wider perspective, since their creation

mark[ed] the beginning of a moralist movement in New Zealand. While in the early seventies these two groups hardly represented a movement (in the sense that we have one in the late eighties), they were definitely a new kind of conservatism.[29]

Although pressure groups such as these focused on narrowly defined single issues, they also represented and tapped into a general sense of unease among conservative Christians over the changing moral values of society. A wider "groundswell" expression of this moralist concern came with the "Jesus Marches" in 1972.

This title does not necessarily imply that these marches had their origins amongst the "Jesus People" (i.e. young converts to Christianity from the Hippie movement). Although the New Zealand marches did have some similarities with the Jesus Marches in the United States from 1969 on, which were themselves an adaptation by the American Jesus People of the anti-war protest marches of the later 1960s, there were also some significant differences. These appeared to reflect the intrinsic differences between the American and New Zealand Jesus movements.[30] A reviewer in Challenge Weekly noted that

in New Zealand we have seen nothing of the [Jesus] movement in its natural setting or form. The Jesus Marches in New Zealand last year [1972] carried only the name `Jesus People' but in most other respects, including the `strong support of the establishment,' they were the antithesis of that which so suddenly and recently burst upon the American scene.[31]

The Jesus movement in New Zealand was somewhat different in character from its counterpart in the United States. As Robert Keyzer pointed out at the time,

supporters of the Jesus movement in New Zealand are mostly young people within the churches....Few in the movement...fit the conception of Jesus People as hippies who had abandoned themselves to the permissive lifestyle, despised orthodox Christianity, but were changed by sudden conversion.[32]

Jill McCracken disagrees with Keyzer to some extent, noting that the Jesus People in New Zealand "are the most visible Christians around....They blend a counter-culture with conservative religion."[33] However, too much emphasis should not be placed on the counter-cultural element. Although there were some points of contact with the Protest movement, the basis of the Jesus movement was religious, rather than political. Participants in the movement refused to "march for Vietnam, or to protest against apartheid. The best way to protest, they say, is to show Christian love. The protesters, they say, have no answers."[34] Consequently, the Jesus People exhibited an ardent concern to convert others to Christ, and the enthusiasm with which they tackled this task was sometimes an embarrassment to others, with the result that the movement was not always welcome.[35]

This zeal and enthusiasm often reflected an orientation towards Pentecostalism. McCracken observes that although some of the Jesus people "had been members of established, conventional churches" until their mid-teens, and had then dropped out, they "have now returned to the church, to all churches, with an emphasis on the Pentecostal."[36] At the heart of this return to the Church was an attraction to the person of Jesus. The well-known cover story in Time on the Jesus People in the United States noted that

if any one mark clearly identifies [the Jesus People] it is their total belief in an awesome, supernatural Jesus Christ, not just a marvellous man who lived 2,000 years ago, but a living God who is both Saviour and Judge, the ruler of their destinies. Their lives revolve around the necessity for an intense personal relationship with that Jesus, and a belief that such a relationship should condition every human life. They act as if divine intervention guides them every moment and can be counted on to solve every problem.[37]

This "total belief" in Jesus was proclaimed by means of the "One Way" sign (an upraised hand with the index finger pointing upwards), which symbolised that Jesus was the only way of approach to God[38]; by slogans such as "Jesus loves you" emblazoned on posters, clothes and bumper stickers; and by songs such as "Jesus is a soul man" which emphasised the affinity of Jesus with the ex-hippie Christian believer. This simplistic and individualistic commitment to Jesus was undergirded by a fundamentalist loyalty to the King James Version of the Bible (or, alternatively, to Kenneth Taylor's paraphrased Living Bible) and by an apocalyptic emphasis on the nearness of the Second Coming, particularly as interpreted by Hal Lindsay's best-selling book The Late Great Planet Earth.[39]

The Jesus movement was therefore manifest in a rediscovery of Jesus and a return to church life, with the particular form of church life often being Pentecostal or charismatic.[40] The movement in New Zealand does not seem to have been separatist or sectarian. Bernie Ogilvy, one of the organisers of the Wellington Jesus March, commented in 1972 that the Jesus People in New Zealand were not "freakish" nor given to extremes, and that the movement was "unlikely to become a separate and organised church."[41] Consequently the Jesus movement became the catalyst for an informal ecumenism, which was reinforced by the Jesus Marches.

Although no direct causal connections are evident, the inspiration for the Jesus Marches in New Zealand appears to have come from the British "Festival of Light," rather than from the Jesus People demonstrations in the United States. The Festival of Light and the New Zealand Jesus Marches were essentially protests against the increasing permissiveness of society, and participants in these protests came from a wider segment of society than just the Jesus People. While denominations and churches were not officially represented, people of all ages, and from every major denomination, including Catholic, took part. The Jesus Marches therefore represented a "grass-roots" conservative Christian response to the changes in society.[42]


5.2.1. The British Festival of Light

In Britain, the initial catalyst for the Festival of Light was provided by Peter Hill, a young evangelical Christian who had returned to Britain in November 1970 after four years of missionary work in India. Hill was "offended by the increasing sexual display to be found in advertising and in magazines and concerned at the moral degeneration of Britain."[43] He conceived the idea of holding a public demonstration in London whereby a "stand for righteousness" could be taken. It was envisaged that this "once-only" event of witness for Christ would be in three parts, with speeches in Trafalgar Square, an inspirational revivalist meeting in Hyde Park, and a March of Witness connecting the two.[44]

Hill's concern was shared by others, including Mary Whitehouse and her "National Viewers' and Listeners' Association," founded in 1965 to fight what was perceived to be the declining moral standard of programmes shown on television. As Hill began to mobilize support for his campaign, a network of individuals and organisations began to develop. This included a number of people who "had previously been engaged in moral entrepreneurialism and moral crusades."[45] The cohesive bonds between the participants in this network were furnished by a shared, usually conservative, Christian faith, and a perception that traditional lifestyles, based on Judaeo-Christian standards of morality, were threatened.[46] A number of different strands of the moral-crusade movement were therefore brought together into an united coalition of protest and of demand for moral reform.

The formation of this coalition also brought about a significant modification of the campaign, in that it inserted "an element of political protest into what Hill viewed as a primarily inspirational endeavour."[47] In addition to this, the scope of the project was considerably extended. An Executive Committee was set up to organise the Festival in London, as well as a network of regional co-ordinators throughout the country. This enabled regional activities to be conducted in as many provincial centres as possible as a build up to the climactic mass rallies scheduled for 25 September 1971 in London. By now, the project had been christened the "Festival of Light." This title had been suggested by Malcolm Muggeridge, and enabled the utilisation of an extremely apt symbol, namely "the lighting of beacons on hilltops throughout the country to symbolize a warning to the nation."[48] This was a re-enactment of the chain of beacons which had been lit on strategic hills from Plymouth to London and northwards to Yorkshire in the summer of 1588 to warn the nation of the approach of the Spanish Armada. The implication was that the country was in grave national danger from the "invasion" of immorality.

This perception of moral peril is reflected in the Festival of Light's official "Statement of Intent" which was released to the media and which declared that

there is clear evidence that a determined assault is being made on family life, moral standards and decency in public entertainment and the mass media.... We, like many others, are concerned about the environmental pollution of all kinds that is damaging the world today, but in particular we wish: (a) to alert and inform Christians and others like minded to the dangers of moral pollution; (b) to translate into action that concern that hundreds of thousands feel about the moral pollution in our nation today; (c) to register the support of people of goodwill for Christian moral standards in such a way that the national leadership is influenced; (d) to witness to the good news about Jesus Christ.[49]

A more lyrical exposition of these aims was made by Malcolm Muggeridge, who emphasised the Christian witness aspect of the Festival of Light, proclaiming that

the Light of the Festival of Light is the Light that came into the world with Jesus Christ....And the purpose of the Festival is that every single person who cares for that Light should shine it in his face, shine it in his words, shine it in his song, shine it in his life, so that the relatively few people who are responsible for this moral breakdown of our society may know that they are pitted against, not just a few reactionaries, but all the people who still love this Light.[50]

Several important inferences can be drawn from these two statements. Firstly, the phrase "a determined assault" implies that, in the minds of the moral crusaders, the lowering of moral standards was the result of a deliberate campaign, rather than something that had "just happened." Although no identification is made in these statements, the enemy for many moral crusaders in the 1970s was "secular humanism." Donald Heinz comments (in the context of the American New Christian Right) that secular humanism is

a screen upon which the New Christian Right projects all that is hostile to its own mythology....In the perception of the New Christian Right, secular humanism is characterized by godlessness, moral relativism, and permissiveness regarding decency issues. Specific issues associated with secular humanism are a toleration of pornography, a fostering of an abortion culture, the legitimation of homosexuality as an appropriate lifestyle [and] an attempt to delegitimize the traditional family as normative or even ideal.[51]

This perception was also the case in New Zealand; "secular humanism" became a frequently named, but never defined, target of the moralist campaigners in the late 1970s, particularly in connection with the establishment of private Christian schools.

A second inference which can be drawn is that the moral breakdown in society was seen to be due to the influence of a relative minority. The Festival of Light activists viewed their conservative Christian viewpoint as a majority one, and therefore claimed the right to speak for society as a whole. Such claims to social authority were common amongst moral crusaders, and provided the basic legitimation for the "Moral Majority" movement in the United States in the 1980s.

Thirdly, something of a dialectic tension is evident between the two statements. The "Statement of Intent" emphasises the political aims of the Festival of Light, and includes evangelistic aims only in the last subheading of the document. On the other hand, the proclamation of Malcolm Muggeridge is far more "gospel-oriented," and effectively reverses the order of priorities as set out in the "Statement of Intent." This reflects something of a tension between the different components of the coalition itself. As Wallis and Bland point out, the early leadership of the movement

remained dominated by those like Peter Hill, whose orientation was primarily towards evangelism, but thereafter as Hill and other evangelicals directed their attention elsewhere, the movement's leadership roles were taken over by individuals more directly concerned with civic-political aspects of moral reform, rather than with evangelism.[52]

The political aims of the "professional" moral-crusaders did not always mesh well with the evangelistic aims of the movement's early leaders.

Nevertheless, the Festival of Light was highly successful. "Operation Beacon" took place on 23 September 1971, when at least 270 beacons were lit all around the country.[53] Two days later, a crowd of some 35,000 people, two-thirds of whom under the age of twenty-five,[54] converged on Trafalgar Square for the first of the Festival of Light Rallies. After speeches from various speakers, and messages of solidarity, including one from the moral campaigners in New Zealand,[55] three proclamations were read. The proclamation to the Government called for reform of the censorship laws "so as to give the citizen freedom from offence and to stop the flagrant encouragement of abuses," and for recognition of parents' rights regarding sex education in schools; that to the media called for them to recognise their "responsibility to society" and to "discourage the commercial exploitation of human perversion." The final proclamation, directed towards the churches, called for them to exercise their "major responsibility in taking a stand for positive Christian values against permissiveness."[56]

Although the Festival of Light was planned as a "once-only" occurrence, "the success of the event encouraged the organizers to prolong the movement's life,"[57] and moral-crusade rallies became frequent events after 1971. The Festival of Light reinforced the growing moralist movement in Britain, and resulted in the formation of new pressure groups, such as "Operation Newsagent" which sought to persuade newsagents to reconsider their policy on stocking and displaying pornographic magazines.[58] The Festival of Light also had some impact outside Britain, providing a model for the Jesus Marches in New Zealand the following year.


5.2.2. The New Zealand Jesus Marches

There were many similarities between the British Festival of Light and the New Zealand Jesus Marches. As was the case in Britain, the initial impetus for the marches came from apprehension over the deteriorating moral standards of society:

The ground for so successful marches [sic] had been prepared by the rapid inroads made in recent years by the permissive society attitude into practically every corner of community life....When the idea of a massive march for Jesus was first suggested, it was from a background of a sense of frustration, genuine concern and a real desire to do something to help stem the floodtide of "permissiveness" that in a sense almost propelled the concerned Christians into the streets.[59]

The Jesus Marches were originally planned as protest marches against the moral decline of New Zealand society. The quotation from Proverbs 14:34 (i.e. "Righteousness Exalts a Nation") which appeared on many placards carried by the marchers "was virtually the theme and heart of the Jesus Marches - a genuine concern for the moral state of the nation."[60] Initial reports emphasised this theme. Challenge Weekly characterised the event as a "March for Righteousness,"[61] and the New Zealand Herald, in an article published on the morning of the Auckland march, described it as "designed to encourage higher community standards, to promote recognition of Biblical authority, and to foster prayer."[62] Rasik Ranchord, a participant in the Auckland Jesus March, recalls that the march was intended to bring about

an awareness of a need for righteousness in the country, and...[to raise] up the profile of Christians; they needed to be more visible, and [to] let their convictions be known more widely. And so there was a rally to show that whilst [there was] decadence on one hand,...there were lots of people that stood for righteousness....`Righteousness exalteth a nation' - that scripture - became one of the rallying points....We came to lift up righteousness, and this was one of the ways that we could demonstrate that.[63]

The motivation of the Jesus Marches was therefore grounded in the perceived need for the Christian community to make a stand for righteousness. This was clearly evident in the "Executive Committee Statement of Purpose" for the Auckland Jesus March, which stated:


There is increasing evidence that a determined assault is being made on family life, morality and decency in public entertainment, literature, and some sections of the mass media. Law and order and authority is being challenged in recent publications aimed directly at young people. There is widespread reluctance in the community generally to affirm or accept any absolute moral standards. The increase in crime, violence, indecency, drunkenness, drug addiction, sexual permissiveness, illegitimacy, and venereal disease is alarming evidence of a moral landslide which could finally result in the decay and collapse of our society, or in the judgement of God on the nation of New Zealand.


Like many others, we are concerned about the world-wide moral pollution which is now seriously affecting our national and family life. It is our purpose

(a) To translate into positive action the concern for our nation shared by many Christians.

(b) To actively promote Christian standards of righteousness in such a way as to influence local body and national leadership, and encourage the raising of community standards.

(c) To strengthen the hand of the authorities in the maintenance of law and order.

(d) To bring about recognition of the Bible as a book of authority in all aspects of national life.

(e) To encourage prayer for national repentance and revival.

(f) To give united testimony to the Good News about Jesus Christ.[64]

The indebtedness of the New Zealand Jesus Marches to the British Festival of Light becomes obvious when the Statements of the respective Executive Committees are compared. Much of the first paragraph of the Auckland statement is identical with its British counterpart,[65] and the objects are also stated in very similar terms. There are, however, three clauses in the Auckland document (i.e. sections (c) to (e)) which have no equivalent in the British statement. These additional clauses may imply that the New Zealand movement was more fundamentalist in orientation than was the case in Britain.

Part of this difference may also be due to a residual tradition of revivalism in New Zealand, which appears to have been less evident in Britain. While prayer meetings for the marches were common to both countries, in New Zealand there was a strong emphasis placed on "national repentance and revival."[66] The Jesus March "Executive Committee Statement of Purpose," in calling for prayer for the nation, proclaimed that "in the conviction that the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14[67] has direct application to our situation in New Zealand, concerned Christians throughout New Zealand are called to prayer for national repentance and revival."[68] This revivalist emphasis was a prominent one, particularly in the earlier marches. Muri Thompson, speaking at the rally held outside the Chief Post Office after the Auckland march, called for the Prime Minister to declare "a day of prayer, fasting, repenting and self-humbling,"[69] and the Charter of Righteousness presented at that rally "almost demanded that the civic authorities introduce a society based on New Testament principles."[70] The aggressiveness of this demand naturally provoked a negative response from those to whom the Charter was addressed. By the time of the later marches, however, this somewhat "hard-line" attitude had mellowed, and the Covenant presented at Parliament House following the final march in Wellington on 8 October 1972 made no demands on the Government, but rather was an declaration of belief and an acknowledgment of the need to pray for the nation.[71]

Despite the reported participation of many young people in both the British and New Zealand events, the New Zealand marchers seem to be rather more conservative. A comparison of the photographic coverage shows that many of the marchers in New Zealand appear to be more "main-stream" both in dress and demeanour than was the case in the Festival of Light, with whole family groups being prominent in many of the New Zealand photographs.[72] However, this was by no means an overall characteristic, since participants in the marches tended to reflect the local social matrix. By the time of the Christchurch march in September 1972, the bulk of the marchers were young people, with a strong representation of university students. Nevertheless, the differences between the various marches in New Zealand may be explained in terms of a more conservative, middle-aged class of participant in provincial centres such as Hamilton and Palmerston North, as well as possibly by a deliberate policy decision of the newspaper photographers to play down the role of young people in the marches.

The success of the Auckland march on Friday 5 May 1972, reported by the New Zealand Herald on the front page under the headline "Jesus People Reign in Queen Street,"[73] led to "spontaneously generated" Jesus Marches in other parts of the country. Rasik Ranchord recalls that

other people got inspired, and...many other cities took it up....It almost seemed like a kind of `spontaneous combustion.' People seemed to gravitate towards an idea like that and...joined in....We felt that the Lord was definitely speaking [to many people]; that's why the idea spread....There was no kind of a central committee or anything like that; each particular region did their own `Jesus March....' It was left to the local committee to contact the local churches and to...[share] the vision and [talk] about what they would do in that particular area, and [take] it off from there.[74]

However, this claim to "spontaneity" does not preclude the role of organisation in the spread of Jesus Marches from May to October 1972. The Maori evangelist Muri Thompson had done much to publicise the concept of "Jesus Marches" throughout New Zealand in early 1972,[75] and the establishment of a Board of Reference provided a corporate focal point,[76] which was supplemented by local ad hoc committees in the various areas. Nevertheless, participation in the marches was largely spontaneous. Although much local organization took place in preparation for the marches in each area, these "organising committees sprang up spontaneously, [each] consisting mainly of laymen in the 20 to 30 age group, with ministers often acting in advisory capacities."[77] The Jesus Marches were therefore essentially a lay movement as well as a young peoples' movement, and owed much to the impetus generated by the Charismatic movement.[78]

Although the nature of the Jesus Marches changed as the series progressed, this had always been somewhat equivocal. Despite the strong emphasis on "righteousness exalteth a nation" (both in terms of the initial publicity for the march, as well as of actual participation), the lines were blurred between an evangelistic witness of Jesus and a demonstration of moral protest. For example, on the same page in Challenge Weekly as the article on the forthcoming "March for Righteousness" in Auckland, is an advertisement for the march, which is headed (in bold type and capitals) "March for Jesus," while a second line, in smaller type, describes it as "A March for Righteousness."[79] Consequently, it is not surprising that on the night

what began as an idea of a formal protest march against the permissive society, ended with many of the 10,000 [participants] skipping and dancing their way down the street in the exuberance and joy of their love for Christ and oneness with one another.[80]

This was, in fact, also a characteristic of the marches in other centres. A later report, looking back on the events of the year, commented that "the original call to national righteousness, protesting against the moral landslide, tended to be swallowed up as the marches progressed, by a positive celebration of the Name, power and presence of Jesus."[81]

An example of the change in emphasis can be seen in the case of the Christchurch Jesus March, held on Friday 15 September 1972. This is evident, both in the moderate nature of the Address to the Mayor at the conclusion of the march,[82] and in the slogans on the banners carried by the marchers. These are almost exclusively oriented towards a "Jesus celebration," with only one of the twenty banner and placard texts authorised by the Christchurch Jesus March Committee even indirectly referring to an element of moral protest (i.e. "Jesus, the answer to soul pollution"). The placard texts had a Gospel theme, expressed by means of classic Scripture texts and evangelical slogans, with the large calico banners which formed the focal points of the march having a more "up-beat" slogan or text.[83]

Not all placards waved during the Jesus Marches played down the element of protest, however. Trevor Shaw refers to the confrontation in Palmerston North when the Jesus marchers accidentally crossed paths with the patrons of a performance of the stage show Hair, and cites the aptness of a placard reading "Give Hair a permanent wave goodbye."[84] Challenge Weekly, in a report of the Palmerston North march, comments that the city was at that time

breaking into new areas of notoriety with two wife-swapping clubs, black magic being practised openly in some schools, a prospect of a strip club opening, and unprecedented gang warfare in what has always been a very conservative centre.[85]

Despite the celebratory emphasis, moral concern therefore continued to be a prominent feature of the Jesus Marches in many centres.

The final and largest of the Jesus Marches took place in Wellington on Sunday 8 October 1972, when a crowd variously estimated from 15,000[86] to "more than 25,000"[87] marched to Parliament House. This march had been well advertised in church newspapers, and, as with the other marches, many people came from other centres to participate. The tone of this march was affirmative rather than aggressive; it was, in effect, a public declaration of faith in Christ, rather than a demand for legislative action. Nevertheless, moral concern was still a prominent element. Captain Brian McStay of the Salvation Army, one of the speakers at the final rally, declared that "a nation is changed only when the members of that nation change their values - change their attitudes."[88] While the desire for an amelioration of the moral climate of the country was unaltered, the focus was now attitudinal, rather than legislative. The Covenant (which was presented by the marchers, and received by the Prime Minister, John Marshall, on behalf of the Government) was not a demand for legislative reform, but rather a declaration and acknowledgment of the three-fold need to pray for the Government and the nation, to praise God for the positive things that were happening in the nation, rather than to emphasise the negativism of doubt and despair, and to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.[89]

How successful were the Jesus Marches? Despite the marchers' concern for "national righteousness," little direct impact appears to have been made on the morality of the nation. Rather, the marches functioned as a protest against what the participants perceived to be a catastrophic moral decline in society. Although the marchers were not backed by any "official" body, despite the appointment of a widely-representative Board of Reference which included members of parliament, civic dignitaries, and clergymen from various denominations,[90] they embodied a "grass-roots" movement in the churches, particularly amongst the youth and the laity.

However, the marches did not find favour with all sections of the Christian community. Several march committees failed to gain the necessary support from the local churches,[91] and some churches were opposed to the emphasis of the marches. For example, the editor of The New Zealand Methodist, in an editorial written before the first Jesus March took place in Auckland, was disparaging towards the marchers, describing them as "limping for Jesus," and stating that

it is not a `Jesus' march at all, but a morality march - with morality very narrowly defined....The marchers' emphasis is on `righteousness,' which is spelt out mainly in terms of individual (especially sexual) morality....To exalt principles of individual morality and law and order while censoring out (as is intended) reference to evils like apartheid, the Indochina conflict, economic exploitation at home and abroad, and then to call it a `Jesus march,' is to mis-represent the Gospel.[92]

This assessment, although possibly a valid criticism in terms of the original intentions for the Jesus March as expressed in the publicity material for the "March for Righteousness," was, in the event, somewhat premature. The march in Auckland, as in other centres, took on a celebratory character, and this change in emphasis highlighted the somewhat prejudicial nature of the editorial. Consequently, while there appeared to be little response to the march through the "Letters to the Editor" column of the New Zealand Herald, the editorial came under heavy attack in letters to the editor of The New Zealand Methodist for a number of weeks following the march.[93]

A more temperate and balanced assessment was made by Professor Lloyd Geering in the Auckland Star following the final Jesus March in Wellington. He emphasised the importance given to this march by the media, noting that it "received first priority on the television networks, hit the posters Monday morning, took up most of the front page in Wellington's morning paper, and became the subject of an editorial in the evening paper." He also observed that the march was not a "display of `Jesus freaks,'" but that the participants "included quite a remarkable cross-section of young and old and sometimes included whole families." Geering was struck by the "spontaneity" of the closing rally, and its "surprisingly conservative and near-fundamentalist," rather than radical, rationale. He commented that the marchers

are criticised by more radical youth groups for being too self-centred, and for encouraging others to think that if only they concern themselves with their own inner feelings and personal salvation, then the world will somehow come right....[Nevertheless,] they have shown concern for the moral tone of our society. Among their pleas is a call for `legislative action to be taken to halt the decay of morals and restore New Testament standards.'[94]

The significance of the Jesus Marches, however, lay more in their indirect, rather than direct, effects. These were two-fold, as befitted the equivocal nature of the marches as "Jesus-celebration" and "moral-protest." While the march in Auckland was not the first "Jesus March" in this country,[95] nor the Charter of Righteousness presented at that march the first such document to be submitted to the civic and governmental authorities,[96] the 1972 Jesus Marches brought together some 70,000 people around the country in an united expression of concern over the moral decay of society.[97] In so doing, the marches provided an example of the power of collective action, and became a catalyst for increasing conservative Christian mobilization over the next fifteen years. The marches stimulated the beginnings of specifically-focused moralist campaigns, such as the Concerned Parents' Association, formed in 1974, and the Save our Homes campaign, launched in 1977. However, with the emergence of lobbying groups such as these, the character of conservative Christian action changed. Whereas the Jesus Marches had represented a generalised moral protest, these groups (and others) helped to focus conservative Christian moral concern on specifically targeted moralist issues, and to provoke and co-ordinate responses to these issues. In this way, the era of conservative Christian protest led into the era of conservative Christian pressure.

The Jesus Marches also had other effects on the life of the Christian community. As Blyth Harper comments,

the marches have quickened a home-grown Jesus movement among the young generation, working within and through the churches, many of which have experienced a new influx of life....We have consciously not tried to establish a new movement. The whole Body of Christ, from Roman Catholic to Pentecostal, have participated according to their allegiance to Jesus, not according to denominations.[98]

However, the euphoria appears to have been short-lived, and the effects of the marches on the Jesus People movement were ephemeral. Ray Comfort (the editor of Living Waters, "the paper of the Jesus People") complained in 1974 that "many [of the crowds of a year ago] have gone. They jumped on the bandwagon, but did not pray the `sinner's prayer'."[99] It therefore would seem that 1973 was the peak year for the Jesus movement in New Zealand, but by the following year, the "bubble had burst." This parallels the rise and decline of the Jesus movement in the United States, which had peaked in 1971, but was in a state of decline by 1972.[100]

Of greater importance, however, was the effect of the Jesus Marches on the churches in New Zealand. It would appear that the main body of the Jesus movement was absorbed into the churches, and especially into those of Charismatic or Pentecostal persuasion. This reflected the general orientation of the Jesus people towards charismatic forms of Christianity, and was reinforced by subsequent developments. Although the marches had been planned as "once-only" events, with no repetitions being planned, and no on-going organizational structure either sought or desired,[101] similar "Jesus Festivals" continued annually for some years, usually under the auspices of the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International,[102] in order to "continue the momentum"[103] generated by the marches, and these had the effect of reinforcing the growth of Pentecostal and Charismatic groups.

The effects of the Jesus Marches on the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements were therefore long-lasting. In particular, the sense of Christian unity, transcending denominational barriers,[104] was one of the marches' most powerful legacies:

The march also did something in that it brought together some elements of the Christian community which would normally be reticent about a public demonstration of love and loyalty to the Lord Jesus and a stand for righteousness. Unity was in evidence.[105]

Since much of the impetus for the Jesus Marches came from Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians,[106] this sense of unity greatly facilitated the growth of these movements. Charismatic solidarity was reinforced by the Christian Advance Ministries Charismatic Conference held in Palmerston North in January 1973. Pentecostal involvement in the Jesus Marches also did much to break down barriers between the various Pentecostal groups, including the New Life Churches.[107] The ministry of Ern Baxter and others over the next two years reinforced this increasing Pentecostal openness, and led to the "landmark" conference at Snell's Beach in March 1975.

To summarise: the increasing liberalisation of moral (especially sexual) ethics in the 1960s led to a conservative reaction, which took two forms. Firstly, it led to the formation of organisations, such as the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child and the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards, to address specific issues. Secondly, it tapped into a more generalised, but largely unfocused, feeling of conservative Christian unease, which found expression in the Jesus Marches. These marches were catalytic for the later development of the conservative Christian moralist movement in New Zealand. They led to an increasing recognition of the need for "Christians...to be more visible, and [to] let their convictions be known more widely,"[108] and to the formation of specifically targeted moralist action groups such as the Concerned Parents Association and the Save our Homes campaign. They also had the effect of producing an informal ecumenism, which, in the short term, greatly stimulated the growth of the Jesus movement, and also, in the longer term, had marked effects on the expansion and development of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements in New Zealand. These effects will be explored in the next two chapters.


1. Jürgen Habermas categorises this challenge to institutional authority as a "legitimation crisis," taking the Marxist view that "in the final analysis, [the] class structure is the source of the legitimation deficit" (Jürgen Habermas, Legitimation Crisis, trans. Thomas McCarthy (Boston: Beacon Press, 1975), p.73. Emphasis as cited). However, it could be argued that while the ethos of the sixties did, in part, involve a renunciation of materialism and hence of capitalism (e.g. the Hippie movement), Habermas' categories do not sufficiently account for the wide-ranging changes which occurred during this decade. This is not to deny the value of his insights, but simply to acknowledge that the "legitimation crisis" was derived from many sources, not just from the class structure.

2. Dunstall, "The Social Pattern," in Oxford History of New Zealand, p.397.

3. Chapman, "From Labour to National," in Ibid., p.365-366.

4. Lineham, "Religion," in New Zealand Book of Events, p.351.

5. John Capon, ...and there was light: The story of the Nationwide Festival of Light (London: Lutterworth Press, 1972), p.88.

6. "Pill Remains Top Choice," Timaru Herald, 7 May 1990, p.7.

7. A classic example of the power of this visual presentation was the summary execution, in full view of the television camera, of a Viet Cong suspect by a Vietnamese police chief in the late 1960s. The cold-bloodedness of the execution came across clearly, and images such as these helped to fuel the growing protest movement against the Vietnam War.

8. New Zealand Homosexual Law Reform Society, 50/50: Fifty Questions and Answers about Homosexuality and the Law (Wellington: New Zealand Homosexual Law Reform Society, 1968), p.7. This was not a blanket endorsement of homosexuality: "the Society does not seek moral approval of homosexual behaviour, nor does it advocate any change in the law which would not give adequate protection to minors" (Ibid.). Rather it was, at least in part, a recognition of the anomalous situation whereby lesbian acts were legal whereas homosexual acts were not.

9. Richard Bowman, "Beyond the Pink Triangle: the New Zealand public's attitudes towards homosexuality," in Shades of Deviance: A New Zealand Collection, ed. Michael Hill et al., (Palmerston North: Dunmore Press, 1983), p.101.

10. Vide infra (Chapter 9, Section 1.2).

11. Martin Vaughan and Angela Varelas, "To be or not to be: the abortion controversy in New Zealand," in Hill et al., Shades of Deviance, p.114. This chapter includes a succinct, but impartial, historical summary of the abortion controversy in New Zealand up to 1981. Another perspective on the abortion issue is presented in George Bryant, The Church on Trial (Whangarei, Whau Publications, 1986), chapter 9, "Abortion."

12. Vaughan and Varelas, "To be or not to be," in Hill et al., Shades of Deviance, p.116. The section makes it a crime to kill an unborn child, but adds a proviso that "no one is guilty of any crime who before or during the birth of any child causes its death by means employed in good faith for the preservation of the life of the mother" (cited in M.W. Doyle, "Recent Developments in the Abortion Law," in Legal Abortion in New Zealand: A Review of Opinions and Politics 1970-1977, ed. W.A.P. Facer (Auckland: New Zealand Rationalist Association, 1977), p.5).

13. I.e. in England in 1967, South Australia in 1969, the United States in 1973 and France in 1974 (Jocelyn Brooks, et al., Ill Conceived: Law and Abortion Practice in New Zealand (Dunedin: Caveman Press, 1981), p.31). This book, written from a pro-abortion stance, gives a more detailed account of the abortion controversies of the 1970s than that of Vaughan and Varelas.

14. Brooks comments that during the 1960s, "New Zealand women were travelling to Australia [for legal abortions], or continuing to use the old illegal methods. [The] estimated annual number of induced abortions [performed on New Zealand women]...was six and a half thousand annually. Of these, approximately two thirds took place in Australia" (Ibid., p.31).

15. Ibid., p.34.

16. Ibid., p.46.

17. Colin Brown, "Religion in New Zealand: Past, Present and Future," in Religion and New Zealand's Future, ed. Kevin J. Sharpe (Palmerston North: Dunmore Press, 1982), p.17.

18. One of the more vigorous critics of the anti-abortion movement was Dr. Erich Geiringer, whose book SPUC 'em all! Abortion Politics 1978 (Waiura, Martinborough: Alister Taylor, 1978) paints an unflattering portrait of the SPUC. However, his book does give some indication of the intensity of feeling on both sides of the abortion issue.

19. W.H.Oliver, "The Awakening Imagination," in Oxford History of New Zealand, p.457.

20. For an example of this activity (code-named "Operation Rescue"), see Lynne Loates, "State of Seige," More, February 1990, pp.64-70.

21. The Hon. Ralph Hanan, reported in NZPD, vol.335, p.340 (5 July 1963); cited in M.N. Garing, "Against the Tide: Social, Moral and Political Questions in the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand 1840-1970" (Ph.D. Thesis in Religious Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, 1989), p.345.

22. Ed Dearn, Pornography Degrades (Sydney: Renda Publications, n.d.), p.12. Dearn is a Catholic, and by profession a lawyer, practising in Sydney. He compares the New Zealand system very favourably with those prevailing in Australia, the United States and elsewhere.

23. Ibid., p.71. The appeal referred to is Robson v. Hicks Smith and Sons Ltd. [1965] N.Z.L.R. 1113. This was brought against the decision of the Indecent Publications Tribunal that the paperback version of D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover was not indecent (Indecent Publications Tribunal, Decision 18, delivered 7 April 1965). The justices comment that since there was already a hardback version of the book in wide circulation in New Zealand which had not been referred to the Tribunal, and which differed from the paperback version only in price, the appeal must therefore be dismissed.

24. Stuart Perry, Indecent Publication Control in New Zealand (Wellington: McCrae Publishers, 1975). Perry sets out two separate indexes. The first of these classifies the Tribunal's decisions in author order, and contains 599 references (Ibid., pp.25-37). The second is in title order, and contains 828 entries (Ibid., pp.38-54). The difference of 229 between the totals of the two indexes appears to consist largely of periodicals (which are classified under title, but not under author). In fact, an examination of these additional entries identified 185 individual periodicals. Another forty-eight decisions are listed twice in the author index, due to joint authorship being recorded under each of the authors' names. The difference between the 832 decisions actually made by the Tribunal and the 828 listed by Perry is accounted for by two further adjustments. Twelve decisions (nos. 423, 672, 697, 728, 766-770, 772, 784 and 786) are not included by Perry, and 8 decisions appear to be in respect of more than one book. The dates cited in each list are also slightly different, since that given in the author classification is the date of the delivery of the Tribunal's decision, and that in the title classification the date of the printing of the decision in the New Zealand Gazette. The difference between the two dates is usually less than one month.

25. Perry, Indecent Publication Control in New Zealand, passim. These publications were:


Francis Pollini, Glover: paperback version ruled "indecent" (Decision 40, gazetted 6 July 1967); hardback version ruled "restricted to age 18" (Decision 147, gazetted 4 September 1969).

Hubert Selby, Jnr., Last exit to Brooklyn: hardback version ruled "indecent except in the hands of adults engaged in work or research in sociological or related fields" (Decision 52, gazetted 9 November 1967); paperback version ruled "restricted to age 18" (Decision 281, gazetted 15 April 1971).

Kenneth Tynan, Oh! Calcutta!: ruled "indecent" (Decision 220, gazetted 3 December 1970); ruled "restricted to age 18" (Decision 828, gazetted 29 August 1974).

Girlie Fun, no.13: ruled "indecent" (Decision 275, gazetted 15 April 1971); ruled "restricted to age 16" (Decision 448, 23 March 1972).

26. J.H.Court, "Pornography and Sex Crimes: New evidence on an old controversy," paper presented during lecture tour of New Zealand, September 1979, p.18. (Mimeographed.)

27. Ibid. This is a classic statement of the position of the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards (SPCS), who were responsible for the donation of a copy of Dr. Court's lecture to the Hocken library.

28. Tony Reid, "Patricia Bartlett versus Moral Rot," New Zealand Listener, 15 November 1980, p.25. Reid's article is somewhat derogatory in tone. Alison Kirkman, "Propriety Promoted: Patricia Bartlett and the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards," in Hill et al., Shades of Deviance, pp.26-40, includes an interesting analysis of the ways in Miss Bartlett's media image was constructed.

29. Allanah Ryan, "Remoralising Politics," in Revival of the Right: New Zealand Politics in the 1980s, ed. Bruce Jesson, Allanah Ryan and Paul Spoonley (Auckland: Heinemann Reed, 1988), p.57. Emphasis as cited.

30. Geoffrey Corry, Jesus Bubble or Jesus Revolution: The growth of Jesus Communes in Britain and Ireland (London: British Council of Churches Youth Department, 1973), p.31, cautions against assuming that the Jesus Revolution is the same everywhere, and argues that the social conditions producing the movement were peculiar to America. The movement in other countries took somewhat different forms. Bob Thompson categorises the New Zealand Jesus movement as a "new youth fundamentalism" (Thompson, "The New Youth Fundamentalism," pp.85-91).

31. "The Story of the Jesus People," review of The Jesus People, ed. Enroth et al., in Challenge Weekly, 14 April 1973, p.7.

32. Robert Keyzer, "A Christian Revolutionary," New Zealand Listener, 13 November 1972, p.10. This article is an interview with Marcus Ardern, former leader of the Progressive Youth Movement in Auckland, who had recently been converted to Christianity, and who was a speaker at several of the Jesus Marches throughout New Zealand. Ardern was, in fact, an exception to Keyzer's observation, i.e. one of the few who fitted the classic perception of the Jesus people as "ex-hippies" who had been converted to Christianity.

33. Jill McCracken, "The God Squad," New Zealand Listener, 23 October 1972, p.14.

34. Ibid.

35. ibid., p.15.

36. Ibid. By contrast, Knight, Jesus People come alive, passim, emphasises that while the Jesus movement in the United States did have links with some Pentecostal churches, it was not a Pentecostal movement, but was spread across the whole ecclesiastical spectrum.

37. "The New Rebel Cry: Jesus is coming!" Time, 21 June 1971, p.56.

38. Based on Jesus' words in John 14:6: "I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (KJV).

39. Thompson, "The New Youth Fundamentalism," pp.85-91.

40. Enroth et al., The Jesus People, surveys the Jesus Movement in the United States and demonstrates that Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic churches were the main beneficiaries of the movement. However, no similar research appears to have yet been done on the ways in which the Jesus Movement affected the churches in New Zealand.

41. Bernie Ogilvy, quoted by McCracken, "The God Squad," p.15.

42. Trevor R. Shaw, comp., The Jesus Marchers 1972 (Auckland: Challenge Publishers, 1972), p.7. This book is a compilation of newspaper reports and articles on the Jesus Marches.

43. Roy Wallis and Richard Bland, "Purity in Danger: A survey of participants in a moral crusade rally," British Journal of Sociology 30 (June 1979): 188. This article gives a brief outline of the history of the Festival of Light. A fuller account is given in Flo Dobbie, Land Aflame! (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1972), pp.28ff., and Capon, ...and there was light, pp.5ff. Dobbie's narrative is a somewhat subjective account, written by the wife of a key participant in the Festival, and showing a tendency to triumphalism. Capon's account is more temperate, objective and balanced.

44. Capon, ...and there was light, p.8; Wallis and Bland, "Purity in Danger": 188.

45. Wallis and Bland, "Purity in Danger": 188.

46. "Fundamentalist moral campaigners very often share the common world view of a threatened lifestyle" (Michael Hill, "Religion and Society: Cement or Ferment?" in Religion in New Zealand, ed. Christopher Nichol and James Veitch (Wellington: Tertiary Christian Studies Programme of the Combined Chaplaincies and the Religious Studies Department, Victoria University, 1980), p.224; also Hill, "Religion," in New Zealand: Sociological Perspectives, p.187).

47. Wallis and Bland, "Purity in Danger": 188.

48. Capon, ...and there was light, p.15.

49. Festival of Light, "Statement of Intent," cited in Ibid., p.20.

50. Dobbie, Land Aflame! p.6.

51. Donald Heinz, "The Struggle to Define America," in The New Christian Right: Mobilization and Legitimation, ed. Robert C. Liebman and Robert Wuthnow (New York: Aldine Publishing Company, 1983), pp.133-134.

52. Wallis and Bland, "Purity in Danger": 188.

53. Capon, ...and there was light, p.53.

54. Ibid., p.76.

55. Dobbie, Land Aflame! p.109. Although not named, these were probably Patricia Bartlett and the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards.

56. The texts of these proclamations are given in Capon, ...and there was light, pp.77ff.

57. Wallis and Bland, "Purity in Danger": 188.

58. Both Capon, ...and there was light, pp.127ff., and Dobbie, Land Aflame! pp.125ff., give short epilogues setting out the continuing plans of the Festival organizers following the events in September 1971. Wallis and Bland "Purity in Danger": passim, demonstrate the change in the character of the later rallies, i.e. more moralistic than evangelistic.

59. Shaw, The Jesus Marchers, p.7.

60. Ibid.

61. "March for Righteousness plans major impact in Auckland," Challenge Weekly, 29 April 1972, p.4.

62. "10,000 Strong for Jesus," New Zealand Herald, 5 May 1972, p.3.

63. Ranchord, Interview. Emphasis as cited.

64. Jesus March: March for Righteousness, Auckland, "Executive Committee Statement of Purpose," Auckland, 1972, Ephemera Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. (Mimeographed). I am indebted to Rev. John Evans for a copy of this material.

65. The text of the Festival of Light "Statement of Intent" is given in Capon, ...and there was light, p.20.

66. Shaw, The Jesus Marchers, p.27; Jesus March, "Executive Committee Statement," Object (e).

67. "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (KJV).

68. Jesus March, "Executive Committee Statement," Plan (b).

69. "Jesus People Reign in Queen Street," New Zealand Herald, 6 May 1972, p.1.

70. Shaw, The Jesus Marchers, p.29.

71. Ibid.

72. See Capon, ...and there was light, pp.64-65; Dobbie, Land Aflame! passim; and Shaw, The Jesus Marchers, passim, for photographic coverage of the respective marches.

73. "Jesus People Reign in Queen Street," New Zealand Herald, 6 May 1972, p.1.

74. Ranchord, Interview.

75. For examples of Muri Thompson's promotion of the Marches, see "`Jesus Marches' plan for N.Z." Otago Daily Times, 6 April 1972, p.5; and "`March for Jesus' plan," Christchurch Press, 13 April 1972, p.11.

76. "The Board of Reference for the [Auckland] March includes: Hon. L.R. Adams-Schneider, Rev. J. Ayson Clifford, Rev. Roland Hart (President, Baptist Union of N.Z.), Mr. Keith Hay, Rev. T.L. Isaac, Lt. Colonel Wesley H. Simpson (Divisional Commander, Salvation Army), The Very Rev. J.O. Rymer (Dean of Auckland), Professor P.L. Spedding" (Jesus March, "Executive Committee Statement," p.2). This Board of Reference was extended for the later marches (National Jesus Festival News No.1, 1 August 1972). Ranchord's insistence that "there was no kind of a central committee" (Ranchord, Interview) indicates that this Board of Reference was essentially only a figurehead, and that the organisation of the marches rested in the hands of the local committees.

77. Blyth Harper, cited in Shaw, The Jesus Marchers, p.27. Although these committee members represented many different churches, Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians were heavily involved. Pastor Rob Wheeler, for example, was Secretary of the Auckland Executive Committee (Jesus March, "Executive Committee Statement," p.2). The predominance of Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians is more marked in the Christchurch Committee, which comprised "Revs. M. Dunk (Baptist), T. Raharaha (Maori Evangelical Fellowship), D. Williams (Anglican), O. Woodfield (Methodist), R. Thompson (Anglican), A. Munro (Presbyterian); Messrs. D. Salisbury (Brethren), C. Wells (Presbyterian), R. Ranchord and P. Morrow (Christchurch Revival Fellowship), C. Currie (Anglican), Captain R. Knight (Salvation Army), P. Lineham (Brethren), W. Brocklehurst (Baptist), Father B. McGill (Roman Catholic), R. Parker and S. Brown (Youth for Christ), P. Pringle and W. Tindall (Assembly of God), W. Pearson (Apostolic), and Mrs. A. Schultz [no denominational category cited]" ("Plan for Jesus March," Christchurch Press, 12 August 1972, p.9). The Christchurch committee therefore included five Pentecostalists (Messrs. Ranchord, Morrow, Pringle, Tindall and Pearson), six members of Evangelical groups (i.e. Baptist, Salvation Army, Brethren and Maori Evangelical Fellowship), and, so far as the author has been able to ascertain, at least three Charismatics (Rev. Woodfield, Father McGill, and R. Parker) among its twenty-one members.

78. Allan Neil quotes Blyth Harper, Administrator and Prayer Convenor of the Auckland Jesus March, as saying that "the main thrust, in terms of planning and initial participation, came from charismatic Christians, especially the Maori Evangelist, Mr. Muri Thompson" (Neil, "Institutional Churches," p.126, note 3).

79. Challenge Weekly, 29 April 1972, p.4.

80. "Unprecedented Event: 10,000 march for Jesus in Queen Street," Challenge Weekly, 13 May 1972, p.1.

81. Blyth Harper, "85,000 publicly witness by Marching for Jesus," Challenge Weekly, 21 October 1972, p.2.

82. The text of this Address to the Mayor is given in Allan K. Davidson and Peter J. Lineham, ed., Transplanted Christianity: Documents illustrating aspects of New Zealand Church History (Auckland: College Communications, 1987), pp.329-330.

83. These placards were in two categories: the first (four sets of which were made) had a "Gospel" theme, containing slogans such as "All have sinned," "Sin separates us from God," "Jesus died for sinners," "Jesus rose conquering death," "God wants to forgive," and "Trust Jesus and live." The second category comprised the majority of the placards (with ninety-four copies of each), and included "Jesus people" slogans such as "Jesus is alive," "Smile - God loves you," "One Way - Jesus," "Jesus is coming soon," "Jesus Christ is Lord," and "Jesus - our peace." The calico banners (two of each) included themes such as "Jesus - love, joy, peace," "Things go better with Jesus" (an adaptation of the famous Coca-Cola slogan), "Planet earth says `Come again, Lord Jesus,'" "Jesus the answer to soul pollution," "Why pray when you can worry?" "Our God isn't dead - he's not even sick," "Switch on to Jesus, the light of the world," and "So you don't feel close to God - guess who moved?" (Peter J. Lineham, Research Papers, History Department, Massey University, Palmerston North). I am indebted to Dr. Lineham for making these available to me.

84. Shaw, The Jesus Marchers, p.11.

85. Challenge Weekly, 27 May 1972, p.1.

86. "Thousands Join in Jesus March," Dominion, 9 October 1972, p.1. Another newspaper estimated the crowd at 20,000 ("Thousands of Jesus Marchers Ended Festival in Grounds of Parliament," Evening Post, 9 October 1972, p.36).

87. Copeland, Faith that works, p.42.

88. Cited in Shaw, The Jesus Marchers, p.21.

89. Ibid.

90. Vide supra, footnote 76.

91. The Dunedin Jesus March had to be cancelled due to "lack of support." An Anglican member of the ad hoc organising committee commented that "the committee did not attract all the representatives it needed to ensure the march would be a success. The Pentecostal churches gave strong support to it, and there were representatives from the Otago University Evangelical Union, the Open Air Campaigners, and some others" ("Jesus March Cancelled," Otago Daily Times, 18 July 1972, p.1). However, some of this "lack of support" may also be due to the fact that the march was to have been held in the depths of a Dunedin winter!

92. "Editorial: Limping for Jesus," New Zealand Methodist, 4 May 1972, p.2. Much of this editorial was repeated in the "From the Churches" column in the New Zealand Herald, 8 May 1972, p.16 (which noted, however, that the New Zealand Methodist editorial was "written before Friday night's march").

93. "Letters to the Editor," New Zealand Methodist, 18 May-15 June 1972.

94. Lloyd Geering, "Religion Today," Auckland Star, 21 October 1972, cited in Shaw, The Jesus Marchers, p.25.

95. A "Gather for Jesus" March had been held on 17 March 1972 in Wellington. This had been organised by the Victoria University Christian Union as the culmination of a special outreach week at the University, and was "a protest against the evil of this world and a demonstration of faith in Jesus Christ" (Shona Cobham, "Gather for Jesus March in Capital," Challenge Weekly, 25 March 1972, p.3). Among the "evil[s] of this world" prominent in the newspapers at that time were the rock musical Hair, the producers of which faced an indecency trial in the courts the week after the march; the Little Red School Book, which had just been published and which "spelt out" human sexuality in some detail; the visit of Germaine Greer to this country, which sparked a number of prosecutions for indecency; and the arrival of the Hare Krishna movement in New Zealand.

96. Neil, "Institutional Churches," p.125, refers to the presentation of a "Charter" in December 1970.

97. Varying figures are cited for the number of marches that actually took place in 1972. Challenge Weekly cites 11 marches, and 85,000 participants (Harper, "85,000 publicly witness by Marching for Jesus," Challenge Weekly, 21 October 1972, p.2). Trevor Shaw estimates the total participation at 70,000 people in 13 marches (Shaw, The Jesus Marchers, pp.7 and 16-17). Neil appears to cite Shaw, but lists only 12 marches, omitting the march in Tokoroa (Neil, "Institutional Churches," p.125).

98. Harper, "85,000 publicly witness by Marching for Jesus," Challenge Weekly, 21 October 1972, p.2.

99. Ray Comfort, Challenge Weekly, 16 October 1974, p.7. Comfort meant by this that no real "conversion" had taken place. He was later to develop his thoughts on this theme in his book "Evangelical Frustration": The neglected key to genuine repentance (Christchurch: Living Waters Publications, 1982).

100. "Other views on Jesus Movement," Challenge Weekly, 26 February 1972, p.8.

101. Harper, "85,000 publicly witness by Marching for Jesus," Challenge Weekly, 21 October 1972, p.2.

102. As, for example, the "Jesus 75" campaign (John Bluck, "Jesus 75 - a mixed blessing," New Citizen, 12 June 1975, p.5).

103. Rasik Ranchord to Hank van der Steen, 2 February 1973, Majestic House Correspondence Files, Christchurch [hereafter cited as MHCF].

104. A Canadian visitor to New Zealand (and participant in one of the later marches) commented that "everyone lost their denominational tags" in the marches (Paul Edmondson, Challenge Weekly, 5 August 1972, p.6). Edmondson was visiting New Zealand under the auspices of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. He also added the comment that "there was nothing about [the march] to suggest it was `made in America.'"

105. Challenge Weekly, 27 May 1972, p.1. The reference is to the Palmerston North Jesus March.

106. Neil, "Institutional Churches," p.126, note 3.

107. Ian Clark, however, believes that the Jesus Marches "were a fruit of coming together rather than a catalyst to bring us together. I think that's really the order of events" (Clark, Interview. Emphasis as cited). Clark stresses the role of Ern Baxter's ministry in New Zealand in 1974 in bringing about Pentecostal unity.

108. Ranchord, Interview. Emphasis as cited.




  • There are currently no refbacks.