Leave the churches alone

I don’t like churches trying to impose their beliefs on society throw legislation. But I also don’t like people trying to get the state to interfere in the affairs of churches.

The Herald reports:

A homosexual man is taking the Bishop of Auckland to the Human Rights Tribunal after being rejected for training as a priest.

A hearing begins today following a complaint from the man, who says he feels discriminated against because of his sexuality.

It is understood the man – who is in a sexual relationship with his partner – has wanted to enter the church’s training programme for priests for years.

But after applying to enter after years of study, he was rejected by the Bishop Ross Bay, who approves entrants.

Bishop Bay told One News last night that he was simply following the church’s doctrines.

The man was rejected “by reason of the defendant not being chaste in terms of canons of the Anglican Church,” the bishop said.

That means that anyone wanting to become ordained needs to be in what the Anglican Church deems to be a chaste relationship – a marriage between a man and a woman or committed to a life of celibacy.

While I think their rules are a bit silly, I defend entirely their right to be able to set their own rules on who can be a priest or minister. I think it is bad that they even have to front up to the Tribunal.

If we want religions to keep out of the state, the state should also keep out of religions.

In a statement to the tribunal, the complainant says he “felt totally humiliated that I had spent six years of my life in study, for a process that I was not permitted to enter because I was a gay man and in a relationship”.

“My humiliation and disappointment continue to this day.”

He also claims that had he been unmarried but in a heterosexual relationship, he would have been allowed to train as a priest.

However, it is understood that is not the case and that Bishop Bay has rejected people in such relationships in the past.

Hopefully the case will get nowhere.

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