Monday, January 11, 2010
Press needs to give Duke Aiona’s religious statements appropriate scrutiny
by Larry Geller
The Honolulu Advertiser profiled gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona today in a front-page article by Derrick DePledge, Aiona's gubernatorial campaign stresses 'balance' (1/11/2010). Good thing they put “balance” in quotes.
This may be the first article, and there will be many before election day, but I had hoped for some balance in covering each candidate.
This story omits a prominent Aiona characteristic—his inability to separate church and state. Although his public remarks about transforming Hawaii into “the first Christian state” have already sounded alarm bells, there’s no echo of them in this Advertiser article.
The Lt. Governor has overstepped by conducting zealous evangelism in his official capacity. Here is a snip from a commentary by David Shapiro:
The group, which calls itself Transformation Hawaii, hopes to gather 10,000 adherents at the Blaisdell Center this weekend for training on how to "transform Hawai'i to God's great plan."
Aiona, who is honorary chairman of the event, sent a letter over his official title urging church leaders to join the movement and "be the salt and the light."
"God is behind this," Aiona wrote. "I would like God to bless the people of Hawai'i and see God's love transform our state."
Other political leaders have been associated with Transformation Hawaii, including Kaua'i Mayor Brian Baptiste, state Sen. Norman Sakamoto and Honolulu Councilman Gary Okino, but Aiona has been especially prominent.
The lieutenant governor made a video promoting the event in which he urged viewers to "experience God's movement in Hawai'i."
"The movement is happening ... and we all have to be a part of it," he said.
In December, Aiona led 6,000 believers around the state in a "canopy of prayer," declaring that "Hawai'i belongs to Jesus."
He said then, "Our schools will become God's schools; our community will become God's community; our city will become God's city; our Islands will become God's Islands; our state will become God's state; and our Hawai'i will become God's Hawai'i." [Honolulu Advertiser, Aiona: God's love can transform Hawai'i, 5/18/2005]
Aiona has not hesitated to take his evangelical message right into the schools. From a United In Prayer report of a school visit:
Kealakehe High School – Barbara Behl
I am sending in a report for Kealakehe High School. We had between 100 and 125 people from at least 4 churches. We had worship, and then listened to the Lt. Governor's prayer and then prayer walked the school. After we were grouped, we called up all the students from the high schools and the pastors prayed for them.
It seems from reading the reports that the people who came are those committed to the power of prayer to change Hawaii as, Duke Aiona said, "Into the first Christian state."
Hawaii is probably the least Christian state, but that just means Aiona would have to work harder to achieve his agenda, should he be elected governor.
The omission of this troubling aspect of one of the leading candidates for the state’s highest office would indicate strong bias in Advertiser reporting if it continues. Let’s see what they do with this in the future.
I suppose that Gov. Aiona's first act would be to kick the Military out of Hawai'i because you can't be a Christian and be in or support the military. Thou Shall Not Kill! Honor Thy Neighbor! Or is Ainona confused about that, too?
Check out this diary at Daily Kos http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/4/18/102058/487 "GOP 2010 Candidate For Hawaii Gov. Tied To Eliminationist Movement" 04/18/10
And at Talk 2 Action: http://www.talk2action.org/story/2010/4/17/112159/323
"Transforming Hawaii Part 1"
There are also videos on YouTube. See the Daily Kos article.