New Zealand Reverend: If the Church Doesn’t Start Supporting Gay Rights, It Could Be Left Behind ‘As a Relic’

Long-time readers of this site are aware of St-Matthew-in-the-City church in Auckland, New Zealand. They’re known for their support of equal rights for the LGBT community and putting up the best billboards ever.

Like these:

Reverend Glynn Cardy, the vicar of the church (at least through October) just spoke out in favor of the new gay marriage law with words we’re *so* not used to hearing in America:

… Cardy said that with the passing of the law, the state had moved well ahead of the church.

“I think the church for many years has been seen as a model that tries to promote good values in society and I think the church has done that well in times in pointing our different issues of justice and promoting honesty and kindness,” he said.

“I think that society and science have said that gay people should be treated like anyone else and if the church continues to discriminate the confidence society has in it will diminish.”

He said the church could be left behind “as a relic” and needed to change to have society’s confidence as a moral body to be listened to.

Other church leaders interviewed for the article had nothing but contempt for the guy:

Anglican Church spokesman Lloyd Ashton said he didn’t want to comment because Reverend Cardy “says what he says” and he didn’t want to engage with it.

Ray Coster, moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, said: “By upholding the historic Christian understanding of marriage as the loving, faithful union of a man and a woman, we are being faithful to what we understand Christ is calling us to as a church.”

Reverend says gay people should be treated with love and respect… and his “brothers in Christ” can’t even bring themselves to say, “I agree.” How pathetic is that?

As reader Dave writes, “I am still not convinced to join up” with Cardy’s church — and I’m in the same boat — but wouldn’t it be nice if what Cardy said was the norm instead of something worthy of a news article?

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • ShoeUnited

    No matter if his intentions are just to save congregations, money, or souls; at least he’s trying to outreach. That has to count for something. What he says about becoming a relic is a reality most leaders don’t want to face. Since I’m no diviner of the future or internal workings of people I have to trust that he’s doing this out of kindness rather than ulterior motives.

    That said, it’s nice to see people standing up for what’s right to them rather than what they’re told.

  • newenglandbob

    Newsflash: If it is a church, it already is a relic.

  • Jasper

    They must hold onto the bigotry, because if that part of the Bible is wrong.. what else is? Liberal Christians seem to be focusing explicitly on what Jesus said (while accidentally referencing Paul’s works occasionally, etc)… but that restricts the “valid” parts of the Bible to … what, 1%?

    Is a book where 99% of it is ruled invalid and immoral something worth following?

    • Esquilax

      Right now, the church is in the weird null space between rejecting an idea, and claiming that it was theirs first, all along. The same thing happened with slavery, civil rights… pretty much every good social change that goes against the words in the bible. These guys are running out of ground to dig in their heels as society drags them kicking and screaming ever forward, and the leaders of christianity just happen to have the misfortune of being the ones in command when their position has to start changing.

      The next generation will have it slightly easier, and five or six generations from now will have it easiest of all: they’ll be the ones taking credit for equal marriage rights in the first place.

      • Jim Tarvin

        Well said …

      • Harry Underwood

        Is that somewhat like the “not-invented-here”-ism (NIH) – “it’s not good enough to use because we didn’t make it (unless we acquire a firm with the necessary tech)” – that often plagues whole industries (i.e., software)?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Not_invented_here

  • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

    “Left behind”? I wonder if that was intentional though subtle snark.

  • Bill P. Godfrey

    Thinking about the church claiming credit for the abolition of slavery, I can imagine churches claiming credit for gay equality in 200 years.

    • viaten

      I can see the timeline now. 100 years: “We helped”, 200 years: “It was our idea.” 300 years: “If it wasn’t for us …”

      • Esquilax

        I think you’re timeline is a bit extended: you’ve got christians today claiming credit for the civil rights movement only a few decades later. If there’s one thing you can depend on, it’s the theists’ desperate need to snaffle up every good thing they can find in the name of their god, as quickly and shamelessly as possible.

        • viaten

          I know it’s extended. I was fitting it to the comment I was responding to but wanted mainly to suggest the progression it could take.

        • Periphrastic

          Credit entirely, no, but he was the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., you know? Big role there for certain churches from the beginning. Different for slavery, where it at least seems to me as somebody who grew up Congregationalist that it mostly had to do with whether the churches in question were more Northern or Southern institutions. And for this–even the denominations that have made great strides are clearly doing it in response to a larger movement that was going well before any of the major Christian organizations were on their side.

          But as the desire for credit seems to go inversely to the actual amount of effort involved–hell, I think an awful lot of conservative churches still disapprove of civil rights laws as being emblematic of government intrusion–I would guess that means that the Southern Baptists and Mormons will be acting like they were totally always pro-marriage and pro-family regardless of gender before the century’s up.

          And St-Matthew-in-the-City will have moved on to something else entirely and will still be getting called agents of Satan by those same people.

    • Tjas

      if we are alive. do not test GOD that’s what the law of GOD says.

  • viaten

    What will become of all those anti-gay bible verses? I guess they can always be “metaphorically true” in some way.

    • Guest

      They will be explained away as not refering to consensual gay relationships, or being only for the Israelites or only forbidden inside the temple. Or else they belong to a different ‘dispensation’ and after Peter had that dream, it’s okay now. There are already Christians pushing these interpretations. As gay marriage becomes accepted by the mainstream, these ways of interpreting the text will become standard.

      • viaten

        I would not be surprised with their coming up with ever more lame explanations that would just raise more questions. It seems it’s always “context”, “metaphor”, “superseded”, or else those verses might eventually join others that are just not talked about anymore.

  • Hat Stealer

    Maybe one day they can leave behind the whole ‘human sacrifice’ thing as well.

  • Erp

    Well he is speaking at the Sea of Faith conference which is an extremely liberal Christian group (the type that have got God down as a metaphor). Cardy might even be a conservative by their standards.

    As for the ‘clobber verses’ in regards to gays in the Bible, as liberal Christians can point out there (a) aren’t that many and (b) some aren’t dealing with consensual relationships (one of the ones attributed to Paul uses a rare Greek word that we don’t know the meaning (it has been translated as homosexual, masturbater, using male child sex slaves, etc.); Sodom and Gomorrah deal with rape and cruelty to strangers not consensual sexual relations). If they can get around slavery in the Bible and most have, they can get around homosexuality (and subservience of women).

    • Jim Jones

      There are 8 verses that speak to some form of homosexual relationships.

      There are 8 that condemn bad weighing scales.

      Which verses get people most riled up? How many protests are there when corporations put 13 oz of coffee in a 16 oz jar? Letters to the paper?

  • Brian Fletcher

    Even if they ALL churches change their stance on gay marriage, I still hope they ALL become relics.

    • Tjas

      I pray the lord wont be to angry at our action. I pray we do not lead others a stray like in the days of old.

  • Matt Bowyer

    Change “could be” to “will be.” Maybe even to “should be.”

  • Spuddie

    The reverend is showing something sorely lacking in virtually all religious figures when they address the public, a sense of humor. Gotta love that

  • Rain

    we are being faithful to what we understand Christ is calling us to as a church.”

    Sounds pretty definitely positively maybe. “We are being faithful to what we definitely positively maybe understand probably Christ is calling us to as a church, we think.”

  • Harry Underwood

    When Wiccans and other Neopagans, many of them being former Abrahamists, can practice their spirituality in front of their home altars and (may or may not) still wear such spirituality (literally) on their sleeve (and neck), what is the need for attending church services as a weekly assembly?

    What use is an arbitrarily-determined “scripture” when the idea of a central text – especially a non-expandable, non-amendable central text – emanates from a time when literacy was in the single digits and no printing press existed?

    Just wondering, since the idea of church and other edifices being “relevant” – at least in the way that the poor vicar understands it – seems rather obsolete from my standpoint. Or at least that the purpose and place of ecclesiastical institutions in this world is very much in flux.

    /Disclaimer: I’m an atheist and I have Wiccan friends.

  • Guest

    Because homosexuality is the only important issue in the world, and I’ll bet a generation that thinks so will itself be left behind as a relic.

    • islandbrewer

      Strawman much?

      • Guest

        Strawman? You mean a comment refuting the basic statement in the post? Please, do yourself a favor, look up straw man.

        • islandbrewer

          Please show me where in the original post where it is stated, or even intimated, that “homosexuality is the only important issue in the world” as you suggest.

          If you fail to do so, then you are mischaracterizing the original post. If you are mischaracterizing the original post, you are constructing a strawman.

          Please do yourself a favor, and think before you type.

    • Dez

      No that’s the anti gay bigots generation of the past that will be forgotten just like the generations against women and blacks have been pushed to the trash can of bigotry. My generation and the next are just fine with gays.

  • Anna

    It’s also worth noting that the disapproving church leaders quoted in the article aren’t fundamentalists, but an Anglican and a Presbyterian. These are the people that moderate Christians like to point to, but their attitude here is no different from that of their more conservative brethren.

  • Tjas

    It best that they take it up with GOD. please do force people to go against HIS wishes. I accept any humans as we can not judge. Law was given just accept it. P.S I have gay grand mothers and they understand. You cant force it on people. if the bible hasn’t already stated many cities fell got burnt because of such things. Luck we have grace. Then only He Will Judge. Do not change the ways he has set. everythings a test that what the bible say. read it properly and you will know

  • Tjas

    Wow that Add above just mocks GOD actions. Poor Humans he must think we always getting it wrong. When will they get it right. The ruler has Just been mock, The master planner has just been mock. And the artist thinks its funny. Well its not me that draw it but I pray he not lose his mind too far.

  • Bub

    The bottom line is that in the vast majority of churches in New Zealand if you are gay (no matter how “good” you are otherwise and no matter how faithful and long term your relationship) you will be treated as unwelcome dirt. The churches do a really good job of driving people away.


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