Prayer and poofters – protests against Baptist offer of help disappoints a Paihia pastor

There’s nothing stretches Alf’s liberalism and tolerance as much as intolerance.

But intolerance, sadly, is on the march.

A recent example is the outburst of indignation triggered by a Northland church’s organisation of a seminar offering to help people overcome their “same-sex attraction issues”.

This has sparked a furore on social media and in the gay community, according to the NZ Herald.

The talk, at Paihia’s Baptist Church, was advertised in Mid North community newspapers this week. The ad invited anyone who had problems with same-sex attraction, or a loved one who did, to hear the life story of a man who had overcome his issues.

He and his wife had helped many others, the ad said.

Is there hint here that it is compulsory for gays to attend this seminar?

Nope. Attendance would be strictly voluntary.

But gays and illiberals are kicking up a fuss.

The backlash started with a post on the Northland Grapevine Facebook page, which had more than 230 comments by noon yesterday.

Comments ranged from those who were appalled by the implication that being gay was a condition that had to be overcome, to those who defended the church’s right to host the talk or were concerned by what they saw as a threat to free speech.

Others saw the reaction against the talk as a sign of how far society had progressed in its acceptance of different expressions of sexuality.

But what progress is society making when a perfectly legal seminar becomes the target for ostracism?

The church’s Facebook page has been swamped with comments criticising the talk.

In the face of such opprobrium it is not surprising that organisers are preferring to lie low.

Pastor Bill Anderson did not wish to comment, saying only that it was a “calm, quiet little ad extending an offer of help to people who are hurting inside”.

He was disappointed with the attacks on him and the church, and that many people only seemed to show an interest in the church when there was controversy.

According to the Herald, an Ohaeawai woman’s Facebook post sparked the furore. She is named as Alissa Gibbs and she said she was “really riled” by the ad at first.

Why she or anybody should be riled by something she or they did not have to attend is a mystery.

But she does a splendid job of admitting to be intolerant of intolerance.

“I don’t think that sort of intolerance has a place in our little community. I wanted to draw it to people’s attention, I didn’t expect such a backlash and I didn’t intend people to jump down the church’s throat.”

However, she stood by her views that the ad was unacceptable. If someone was genuinely unhappy or confused by their sexuality, they should seek help from a trained professional, “not from someone who’s prayed their gay away”.

Ms Gibbs said she was considering a peaceful protest.

Obviously, this will underscore her intolerance of intolerance.

We may suppose she does not recognise the profound paradox.

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2 Responses to Prayer and poofters – protests against Baptist offer of help disappoints a Paihia pastor

  1. Neil Cameron says:

    Alf, I would strongly advise you get some facts about so called “help to overcome same sex attraction” before you criticize intolerance of it.
    Medical practitioners maintain that sexual orientation cannot be changed. They also insist, with ample evidence supporting their stance, that attempting to do so actually causes harm.

    People who go through such “help” are 8 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.
    The “help” is not actually help at all. It is snake oil drivel masquerading behind the deceitful smiles of people who claim to be offering a way to repair the conflict caused by the anti-gay sentiment and rejection they themselves impose on homosexuals within their own communities.
    Teaching people to hate an aspect of themselves and to fight against it is nothing short of contributing to & building mental health problems in those people.

    If the churches dont like gays, they simply need to tell the gays to stay out. To lure conflicted homosexuals in with false promises of “help”, and then to proceed with imposing damage is evil personified, irrespective of the fact that participation is voluntary.

    The only true help people who are gay can get is help in coming to terms with their truth.
    That is not the help these church based groups offer.

    There are moves around the world to have the practice of reparative “therapy” banned. This sort of medieval nonsense is not welcome in our world.

    • Alf Grumble says:

      A willingness to tolerate nonsense and people’s entitlement to turn up and see for themselves if the church can put them on the straight and narrow does not amount to an endorsement of nonsense. Otherwise Alf would be calling for bans on all sorts of things, from colour therapists to taniwha.

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