St Matthew’s Protests Church Discrimination
St Matthew’s Protests Church Discrimination Against Gays and Lesbians
St Matthew’s has a long history of stirring public debate with its billboard. Today it has put up one to challenge the Anglican Church to stop its discrimination against gays and lesbians.
It displays a “Gay-dar” meter that shows “Straight” on one side and “Gay” on the other and suggests the Church uses this to determine who its potential priests might be.
Vicar, Mr Glynn Cardy says St Matthew’s has had enough of New Zealand’s Anglican bishops refusing to consider any candidate for ordination who is gay or lesbian and in a committed relationship. The congregation voted unanimously at a recent general meeting to send a letter to their bishop respectfully asking him to end this discrimination in their diocese.
“We see this as an issue of discrimination that harms not only the gay and lesbian community, but society and ultimately the church as well,” Mr Cardy explains.
The church has initiated a petition in the parish and online asking people to support their call for all the New Zealand bishops to end what they believe is an unjust practice.
“We invite all who feel likewise to visit the website at www.stmatthews.org.nz"www.stmatthews.org.nz and sign the petition and going to St Matthew’s Facebook page to follow the debate more closely.”
The New Zealand Anglican Church has been debating the issue of ordaining gays and lesbians since the 1990s. Mr Cardy says some bishops in New Zealand have in the past ordained gay and lesbian candidates.
“However, following the international furore around the 2004 consecration of Gene Robinson – an American priest who is gay and in a committed relationship – New Zealand’s bishops have seemed more concerned to promote unity with the majority rather than uphold justice for a minority,” says Cardy.
Bishop Philip Richardson of Taranaki, in response to the petition, observed that the stumbling block is that the Anglican Church has not yet agreed as a whole to whether or not “sexual orientation towards those of one’s own gender is a consequence of wilful human sinfulness, or an expression of God-given diversity”
The Revd Clay Nelson, Priest Associate of St Matthew’s expresses amazement that “in this day and age, with all the information and science available to us that ‘the church’ can still argue that sexual orientation is a matter of wilfulness.”
“It appears that justice is being held hostage by ignorance. We call on the bishops to enlighten the church and end this discrimination.”
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