A man promoting a new book about his gay Christian lifestyle was told in an email by an Auckland church pastor to kill himself.
Jim Marjoram emailed around 400 churches in Auckland about his book on the struggles of living as a gay Christian, It's Life Jim.
Mr Marjoram says the response was largely silence, aside from one email yesterday from Pastor Logan Robertson of Westcity Bible Baptist Church.
"We are not interested in your filthy lifestyle or book," Mr Robertson wrote. "Romans 1 clearly says God has rejected homos and they are worthy of death. You cannot be saved.
"I pray that you will commit suicide, you filthy child molesting fag."
A copy of the email posted to social forum Reddit went viral and the church has received a number of outraged comments on its Facebook page. Mr Robertson says he stands by his comments.
The Westcity Bible Baptist Church describes itself as a church with "a vision of reaching the lost souls of Auckland" and a "family-oriented Bible-believing Baptist church located in west Auckland".
"We believe anything and everything found in the King James Version of the Bible," the church's website says.
"I was stunned someone in New Zealand could do this," says Mr Marjoram. "It knocked me because there are actually people like that. I would say to him, Jesus would not have said anything like that."
Mr Robertson told Sky News he's unrepentant.
"I believe every single one of them should be put to death. Obviously Christians shouldn't be doing it. I'm not going to do it. It's the Government's job to be doing it."
Mr Robertson, a husband and father who preaches from his west Auckland home, has since received death threats.
"I wouldn't wish that on anyone," says Mr Marjoram. "I would say to people, please don't. The guy's deceived and a fruit-loop, but he doesn't deserve the same type of treatment."
Human Rights Commissioner Richard Tankersley says hatemongers who attack gay people have no place in New Zealand.
"New Zealanders who preach hate and violence are fundamentalists; they are extremists and they are the problem."
Attacks on gay and transgender people were a reminder that hate and intolerance exists in New Zealand, Mr Tankersley says.
"This is an appalling case and I know most New Zealanders will find it offensive and unacceptable."
He is urging anyone who sees hate attacks whether it be in a pub, church or on social media to stand up.
"Let victims know they're not alone, but crucially let perpetrators know New Zealanders will not stand by silent while they spread hate and violence."
Mr Marjoram told Fairfax Media the comments were very painful as he has battled depression and suicidal thoughts throughout his life.
"Not being able to resolve the fact that I was gay, something unaccepted in my faith, was very painful.
"There are 40,000 denominations of Christianity across the world and they all cherry-pick what they want to believe," he says.
"I've taken a step back because the Bible is so ambiguous. It was probably never meant to be taken so literally."
Mr Marjoram battled to reconcile his faith with his sexuality throughout his life, and took to counselling gay people to be straight with his second wife for nearly 15 years.
"My wife had had lesbian encounters as well; we were so deep in denial. All the time I was drifting deeper into mental illness.
"She died in 2011 and that was when I was like, 'I've had enough', and starting writing this book."
He says he has received an overwhelming amount of support from all around the world.
Mr Marjoram's book launches tomorrow night. For more information visit his website.
- If you or someone you know is battling depression Lifeline provides 24-hour telephone counselling on 0800 543 354.
source: newshub archive