Gay Christian banned from preaching

Gay Christian banned from preaching

The Archdeacon of Liverpool, Ian Cox, has personally intervened to stop a gay Christian from addressing an Anglican parish.

Co-founder of Freedom to B[e], Anthony Venn-Brown, had been scheduled for months to speak to the congregation of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Dulwich Hill last Sunday.

Venn-Brown’s speech was cancelled after parish minister Father David Smith received a visit from Liverpool Archdeacon Ian Cox ­-” the first contact he has ever made with the church.

It wasn’t made entirely clear to me whether it was simply because Anthony was gay that he would not be allowed to speak, Father Smith told Sydney Star Observer.

There was mention that he might be promoting -˜the homosexual lifestyle’, though I’m not entirely clear as to what that is supposed to mean. Is there -˜a heterosexual lifestyle’? I think the implication was that Anthony might be promoting promiscuity, which I think is entirely false.

There was also mention that this was something the Archbishop had taken a strong stand on and that I wasn’t to be seen to be undermining that. I didn’t think I was undermining anything by promoting thoughtful discussion.

Cox was contacted, but failed to respond in time for publication.

Venn-Brown -” who has previously been banned from speaking at bible colleges, had his books banned from Christian stores and had both the Salt Shakers and Fred Nile lead campaigns against him -” was surprised by the Anglican Diocese’s decision to veto his talk.

What I was doing was sharing my story, that’s all, he said.

I know I’m not an immoral person, I’m not promoting anything that would be un-Christian in any way, so I was quite surprised by the decision.

There are probably better ways to handle it and I think it was interesting, I didn’t think I was that important, but obviously within Sydney Anglican Diocese I’m seen as some sort of threat.

Venn-Brown did attend the service as a member of the congregation and then addressed a number of parishioners in a hall across the road after the service.

I did exactly what I was going to do in the church … it brought more people in, he said. The other thing it did was raise within the minds of the people in the congregation questions about the appropriateness of what had been done.

Within congregations these days, a shift has already happened in understandings of sexual orientation.
People within the congregation have brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, work colleagues who are gay or lesbian and they know that they’re not evil or bad people. But they’re what I call the silent majority, whereas up in the hierarchy of some denominations these people have little or no contact with gay or lesbian people and have pre-conceived ideas and misconceptions.

The saddest thing about the ban of me speaking in Sydney Diocese churches is that it sends the wrong message to gay and lesbian people who are trying to sort out their faith and their sexuality.

Father Smith said he was disappointed by the intervention.

We’ve always had a number of gay people in the parish and there’s never been an issue – it’s not something we’ve ever felt the need to go and make any great pronouncements about, they’re just members of the parish, he said.

It comes up in sermons for me, just in terms of speaking to people about you know, that we’ve got to love everybody, which I think is pretty basic. But beyond that, we’re not a heavily politicised parish that’s trying to make a point or cause controversy unnecessarily, we’re just trying to get on with loving the people of our community the way that they are.

I wasn’t really looking to upset anybody and it did not occur to me that they’d actually shut down discussion on the subject forcefully, without discussing it or giving any other option, I thought it was really quite bizarre.

Father Smith said he would not be intimidated into changing the way he addresses his congregation, and would continue to reach out to gay and lesbian parishioners, though his job may be at risk now.

I won’t compromise my integrity or what I understand to be the Christian message of love and acceptance – that’s non-negotiable as far as I’m concerned, he said.

I’m not going to sell my soul for the sake of placating the leadership, but at the same time I’m not wanting to make enemies of people who are friends either.

I just thought we should be able to sit down and listen and talk about things in a civilised and open way, and that seems to have been blocked from happening.

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16 responses to “Gay Christian banned from preaching”

  1. Hello Colin, Oliver…

    There are plenty of Christians who believe there is nothing immoral about homosexuality. There are many Christian churches (and Jewish congregations) who officially state their belief that God lovingly and intentionally made some people gay…and that it is a beautiful thing for those gay people to be in gay relationships.

    As I’ve read here, it is 2009…the Bible is old. Some of it has to be read with real caution, understanding that its writers were from a time and place with a very different understanding of the world from ours. However, it is far from irrelevant – for many people in the world.

    If you think that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam only have condemnation for homosexuality, then your exposure to the people, institutions, and writings of these faiths has been very limited. I assure you that there is love and support for gay people/gay marriage/gay adoption to be found in each of these three religions.

    Glad to have this chance to dialogue.

  2. Ben, Why should I Pick up a Bible and read it? Read about what? Pages and Pages of Conspiracy and lies? People like yourself are judgemental and Bigoted and your so quick to judge. But then it comes to a point when youll get sick of it and start living.

  3. Ben, You support a Hypocritical Corrupt way of thinking. Religion is so 2000 years ago. (Jesus would be your soap??) Whatever turns you on my dear!

  4. hey oliver,

    Oil and water do mix when soap comes into the mix. I am a gay Christian and if we can’t mix then I guess Jesus would be my soap. If you pick up the bible and read it you will see that he actually affirms gays and says nothing against them (Matthew 18).

    Respect my decision to have faith and I will respect yours to not have it. Otherwise you are just as judgmental and bigoted as those who judge you.

    My faith helps me, it helps me to love others and it helps me to be grateful for all I have on this Earth. It is certainly not pointless. To me, and to many others…it matters.

    Anthony is an amazing man and the day will come when on the front page of SSO and even SMH you will see the headlines “Church apoligises to gays and embraces their inclusion as important members of the church body”. And then soon after “Christian church support same sex marraige and urge Federal Government to love not hate”.

  5. To be a Christian and a Homosexual is like Oil and water. No mix. We can just boycott these pointless religions. It is 2009 is it not!

  6. Why can’t there be a middle ground? More gay christians might help people realise we are as “normal” as the next???

  7. Wow, Colin, way to be as intolerant and bigoted as the fundamentalists you despise.

  8. Hmm … according to Cox’s repy, if Jesus turned up at a church in his jurisdiction, JC wouldn’t be allowed to speak?

  9. Unfortunately Ian Cox is your typical garden variety Anglican pratt! More concerned about his frilly lace around his neck than the real matters of people. Cox by name and by nature I say.

  10. Actually, come to think of it, both Driscoll and Denver probably didn’t require licences because they aligned with Archbishop’s view of homosexuality being sinful. In all probability, it may be their homophobic views that enticed the Archbishop to invite them.

    Toni Brown

  11. Ian Cox must be mistaken as Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church Seattle spoke at St Andrew’s Cathedral last year and a Baptist minister from Capitol HillUS is due to speak at St Andrew’s Cathedral this month.
    Toni Brown

  12. I wrote to Ian Cox about this precise issue last Friday & his response is below:

    From: Ian Cox
    Date: 2009/7/24
    Subject: Re: A concern
    To: Pete Zayonce

    Peter thank you for your email. Mr Brown is not an Anglican and has not been licensed by the Archbishop to preach in an Anglican church service. It is the expectation that all Ministers in charge of churches would seek the Archbishop’s approval before inviting a non licenced person to speak in an Anglican church service.

    With kind regards
    Ian Cox

  13. A reason why it is important to discover and confront these issues is because Christians, Jews and Muslims carry their beliefs with them outside their places of worship.

    Colin James Richardson said that Gay people,”are kidding themselves and I have no sympathy for them if they insist on trying to fit in with these doctrines of hate”.

    Christians, Jews and Muslims dominate all public and private organisations that Gays and Homosexuals need to access for employment and services.

    If Gays and Homosexuals try to fit in to a work place dominated by Christians, Jews and Muslims, are they ‘kidding themselves?

    No they are not. It is a reality of life that homophobia is a doctrine of the world religions and members of those religions are expected to practice their religions outside their places of worship. If a Gay or Homosexual tries to fit in at work they need to be aware that the majority of people in their work place have been indoctrinated to hate them by the world religions.

    Gays and Homosexuals need to know that if they try to access a government or private service, such as health services, legal obligations like car registration, private services like insurance and consumer transactions, then they will have to engage with people who have been indoctrinated to hate them by the world religions.

    What Anthony Venn-Brown found out was that the official policy of the Anglican Church is no fraternisation with Gays and Homosexuals. We have now been informed of that policy.

    That information tells us that no progress has been made in getting the world religions to accept the existence of Gays and Homosexuals and getting them to refrain from persecuting Gays and Homosexuals.

    Anthony Venn-Brown tried to fraternise with a Christian congregation and his attempt was rejected by the leadership of the particular sect he approached.

    Individuals in society might reject the homophobic teachings of the world religions but it is important that the Gay community is regularly reminded that homophobia is still the official policy of the world religions and that most members of those religions will adhere to and practice the official policies of their religions.

  14. I am in awe of people who step out of line with the politics of the organisations that butter their bread in order to act from their own conscience. Especially when the people they are aligning themselves with are people who represent life issues they themselves don’t face.

    Father Dave is not himself Gay, he is a heterosexual family man with another baby on the way – yet he champions the rights & calls for common sense on behalf of Gay people, even when that could mean that he could lose his job & his ability to support his young family. That kind of courage is almost hard to imagine.

    It put me in mind of the risks taken by the 100REVS the Mardi Gras before last.

    When was the last time most of us potentially sacrificed our own wellbeing in order to support the rights of others when their issues have nothing at all to do with our own lives? How many of us could conquer our own narcissism & self-obsession to do such a thing?

    I was there in that cold little hall surrounded by Boxing Paraphernalia last Sunday morning & despite having heard his story multiple times before, when Anthony Venn-Brown spoke i got that burst of excitement you get when you are in the presence of a history-changing event, even if it was on a small scale. The insipience….that sense that things are changing……that a ball has started rolling….was overwhelming.

    So…Fr Dave has thrown his lot in with the Gay Commuinity for absolutely no personal benefit.

    Now – how will the Gay Community match his courage & support him?

  15. I’m sorry, but as far as I’m concerned anyone who considers themselves to be Christian, Jewish or Moslem as well as Gay are kidding themselves and I have no sympathy for them if they insist on trying to fit in with these doctrines of hate.
    These ideologies would have us all dead if they could manage it and of course think we are all going to “hell” anyway.
    If you associate yourself with these superstitions and know anything about their teaching on Homosexuality, then you are a walking oxymoron. They are totally incompatible and irrelevant in the 21st Century.
    Get over it!