A Perth church is standing by its decision to host a gay conversion therapy supporter at an upcoming seminar on homosexuality.
Former gay man James Parker is set to appear at the event at Perth City Church of Christ, according to Brisbane Times.
Now identifying as straight, and married with children, Parker encourages other same-sex attracted people to find heterosexuality through religion as he says he did.
Perth locals have criticised the church for giving Parker a platform at the seminar, to be held this Saturday.
The church has responded by welcoming feedback from the community and saying that allowing Parker his views is also important.
“We believe that any perceived criticism was delivered in the bounds of free speech, which is important for a healthy community,” said City Church of Christ chair Bryan Fencott.
“We reiterate that the event is open to all, but we do kindly ask that Mr Parker be shown the courtesy to share his personal story, which will be delivered in the context of faith.”
Fencott said the church endorsed Parker’s general message and denied that he would be promoting a ‘pray away the gay’ message.
“We are a church who endorse the Protestant line, and accordingly, Mr Parker, when he mutually agrees with us on his central point that ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ and we also agree with Mr Parker that the answer to the dilemma is through faith in God’s revealed message of salvation to the world,” he said.
“We also endorse the caring way in which Mr Parker offers his personal testimony, which culminates in the person and work of Christ Jesus and the grace of God and is therefore less concerned about homosexuality per se.”
Parker’s presentation is set to include his own story, as well as subjects such as ‘the death of society through same-sex “marriage”’, ‘health consequences of gay sex’ and ‘the trans world: destroying male and female through gender mainstreaming’.