You know that when a church is headed by a ‘pastor’, something bizarre is likely to happen. So it would seem is the case with the ‘Catch the Fire Ministries’, led by Danny Nalliah, which has just had its charity status revoked by the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, after its congregation was asked to make election donations to an anti-Islamic political party (Rise Up Australia Party) which Nalliah also leads.
Acting Commissioner David Locke stated that such an action was reserved for the most serious cases. In addition, the decision has been backdated to January 2014, which means the church could have to repay three years of charity tax concessions.
It is understood that this revocation is related to the church’s support of Nalliah’s Rise Up Australia Party. Under the Charities Act 2013, charities cannot promote or oppose a political party or political candidate. Nalliah’s ‘main offence’ was said to be the political articles posted on its website. The Rise Up Australia Party has asked Australia to oppose multiculturalism, same-sex marriage, sharia law and abortion.
Nalliah is a fruitcake, as demonstrated by his assertion that the devastating Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, in February 2009, were his god’s revenge for the state’s “incendiary abortion laws, which decimate life in the womb”. Furthermore, he was kicked out of the Family First Party for asking his followers to pull down Satan’s strongholds, which included brothels, casinos, bottle shops, mosques, as well as Masonic, Buddhist and Hindu temples. These statements were even too strong for Steven Fielding, the young earth creationist nutter who at the time was a senator and Family First’s parliamentary leader, and Nalliah was asked to leave, which he did.
Not content with such idiocy, Nalliah then argued that a ‘black mass’ site had been found on Mount Ainslie and that federal parliament was under attack and referred to witchcraft, abortion and LGBT rights as the reason behind a spate of marriage crises among parliamentarians. The black mass altar that Nalliah states was found, was a parking bollard with some sticky stuff on it, which Nalliah seems to believe is blood, but is more likely some alcoholic beverage, which is often used to, um, lubricate proceedings in young adults’ cars, deep in the Canberra night.
Not content with that stupidity, after the catastrophic floods in Queensland in December 2010, in which over 35 people were killed, Nalliah blamed that catastrophe on then foreign affairs minister, Kevin Rudd, for ‘speaking against Israel’, noting that Rudd came from Queensland.
He called Prime Minter Julia Gillard a heathen ‘living in sin’ and then Greens leader Bob Brown an ‘openly practising homosexual’ and said that he felt sick watching them shake hands.
Nalliah asserts that he witnessed the healing of blind, deaf and crippled people at his prayer sessions and also claims that a dead girl was resurrected after he prayed for her, and that Jesus talks to him in dreams. He is also a young-earth creationist, a climate change denier, and believes that homosexuality can be cured with a solid dose of god.
One of the funny things about Nalliah, is that the sort of religious right wing bigotry he professes, is similar to that of other right wing organisations that pretend to be patriots, but who would like to ship him back to Sri Lanka, whence he came. I presume the irony is lost on him.
Damon Alexander, from the University of Melbourne’s School of Social and Political Science, is dismissive of the Rise Up Australia Party, and puts them in the “category of far-right fringe groups that have been around for about 70 years. They tend to be centred around a führer-like leader and after a while fall apart”. It will be fun to watch. Crisps and beer are at the ready.