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Wednesday 08 October 2008

WGN Presbyterians stand against exclusion

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News Staff - 28th September 2008

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"Religious homophobia divides families"

St Andrew's on the Terrace Presbyterian Church in Wellington is taking a stand against previous Presbyterian General Assembly decisions to exclude gay and lesbian people from leadership positions in the Presbyterian Church.

'For The Bible Tells Me So' film poster

This Tuesday night, on the eve of the 2008 General Assembly, the parish will hold a public screening of a new documentary For the Bible Tells Me So from 7pm, with a panel discussion to follow.

"At a time when the issue of homosexuality is polarising the Church on an unprecedented scale, this compassionate and insightful new documentary focuses on some of those caught in the crossfire," explains Senior Minister Dr Margaret Mayman.

Through the experiences of five Christian families, the film shows how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child.

"Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, the film also provides a useful deconstruction of the arguments used to justify homophobia by the church, and explains the cultural and historical context of the biblical verses that are frequently misinterpreted as condemning homosexuality," says Mayman.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion on the impact of religious homophobia on families in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Panellists are Dr Mark Henrickson of Massey University, and author of the Lavender Islands study on lesbian, gay, and bisexual New Zealanders; Elizabeth Kerekere of Out There! Queer Youth Development Project; and Fraser Paterson, Presbyterian Minister with daughter New Zealand Film Maker Robyn Paterson.

"We are concerned the religious homophobia continues to divide families and forces gay and lesbian people to make a choice between their faith and their sexuality," says Mayman.

"On this occasion we celebrate triumphs of the human spirit in the stories of people of faith who love and include the breadth of God's family. We are determined to continue to be a vocal and visible presence in the Presbyterian Church, reminding our denomination that such love is of God."

St Andrew's and a number of other Presbyterian Churches around New Zealand have stated that they will not discriminate against gay and lesbian people, and people in de facto relationships who were also covered in the exclusive legislation, and will choose people for leadership based on their gifts and their sense of call.

The trailer of 'For the Bible Tells Me So' appears below.