Trent Zimmerman tells Martyn Iles: “I have no intention of repenting being gay”

Federal Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman has a clear message for Martyn Iles, the head of the Australian Christian Lobby.

“I have no intention of repenting being gay,” the Liberal member for North Sydney said during his appearance on the ABC’s Q+A program on Thursday night.

The declaration came as Iles, the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby defended his organisation’s advertising campaign that rolled out this week calling for controversial rugby played Israel Folau to be reinstated, and their many campaigns against LGBTIQ+ people.

Iles told audience member Alain Millet that it was unfair to describe the Australian Christian Lobby as purveyors of hate speech against gay, lesbian and transgender people, arguing that the organisation was on a mission to “save souls”.

The ACL leader said the Folau’s comments  had been misrepresented by the media, and the sportsman’s list of people who needed to repent to be saved was simply a fundamental part of Christianity.

“I think it’s crucially important to understand what Israel Folau said, because it actually answers everything for me.” Iles said.  “The media have repeatedly said that Israel condemned homosexuals to hell, condemned homosexuals to hell, and that’s what they’ve said. Now, that is not the overall point of the post that he made. It’s taken as a whole that is not even the main thing that he said or the point that he was trying to make.

“What he said was that sinners are destined for judgement – and, yes, Christians understand that as hell – and all of us will stand before God and we’ll all be judged. But then he turned to the other side of the coin, and he said, ‘And forgiveness awaits to all who repent and put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ because He died for our sin and He offers us a life unto God.’

“He said all of that in his post. And either you believe both sides of that coin, in which case, you are free – you have condemnation and salvation, you have judgement, you have release, you have repentance, you have faith – or you believe neither side of the coin, and good luck to us all if we don’t, and you don’t have a problem.

“And if Israel Folau can lose his livelihood because he said that, then we should hunt out every single Christian in this country who works anywhere and fire them on the spot, because they all believe it and they have all said something similar.” lles said.

Iles argument is Folau had not singled out homosexuals in the social media post that saw him dismissed from his contract with Rugby Australia – Folau believes, according to Iles, that everyone needs to repent to God.

When Zimmerman was asked for his thoughts, he made his declaration that he certainly wasn’t going to be repenting. Later he expanded on his view saying he wasn’t up for

“But I think… But I can tell you… But your interpretation of seeing that path to God, it involves me in some way repenting who I am, and I’m not prepared to do that under any circumstances, even if I was Christian.”

Zimmerman said he believed Folau’s dismissal was justified because it was a workplace and contract issue.

“I’d say two things. Firstly, one – if you’re a first-grade rugby player, you have higher responsibilities and higher expectations on you. But secondly, this is also a workplace issue. This is about showing respect for people, be they straight or gay, that you’re working with. And I just don’t think that effectively telling your work colleagues that you think that they’re likely to go to hell is a particularly conducive way of encouraging people in the workplace.” Zimmerman said.

Labor MP Anika Wells questioned if the ACL had better things to do than run expensive newspaper advertisements that focus on highly paid rugby players getting new contracts.

“You know, in the Bible, there are 3,000 references to poverty and alleviating poverty, and very few references to homosexuality. So, why can’t the ACL spend their capital, their time, their campaign resources on alleviating poverty in this country? Why can’t you campaign for a rise in JobSeeker?” Wells asked.

Iles said the majority of charities in Australia had a Christian ethos, but his organisation was focused on important political debates.

“ACL has a certain area that we focus on, which is the political realm” Iles said.

While the exchange between Martyn Iles and the other guests was heated, it didn’t held the program improve in the ratings. Since the show was moved to Thursday nights it’s struggled to attract significant audiences. Last night’s outing saw the show’s lowest ever ratings with just 228,000 views turning in to the broadcast.

OIP Staff

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