|Anglican Bishop Richard Randerson counters issues raised by commentator Jim Peron's column on GayNZ.com which criticised Randerson.
Jim Peron would have more credibility as a commentator if he responded to things I actually did say rather than things I didn't.
The whole thrust of my article in the NZ Herald on 9 June was to positively and unequivocally affirm a society which is inclusive of gays and lesbians, and to report the motion agreed to by the Anglican General Synod last month which “acknowledges and honours the contribution that gay and lesbian Anglicans make to the life and ministry of our Church”. Ignoring such blindingly obvious and positive affirmations, Peron chooses instead to find fault on two fronts. On both he is in error. He first refers to a comment of mine in the Herald report of Archbishop Vercoe's views on 5 June in which he claims I “tried to justify those views as being ‘culturally' based”. At no point have I sought to justify the Archbishop's views, as my 9 June article made crystal clear. For the 5 June report I was asked by the Herald reporter why I thought the Archbishop would hold the views he did. My response was that the Maori membership of the General Synod had asked for many years that they not be pushed on issues of homosexuality as it was for them “culturally difficult”. The view attributed to me was hence not my own, but that of Maori General Synod members, although that difference was not discernible from the Herald report. I make no claim to speak for Maori on such or any matters. Peron's greater weight was reserved for a reference I made to reports of a survey by Dr Robert Spitzer on reorientation therapy for homosexuals. I made the reference because such reports are used by some churches as the basis for developing reorientation programmes. I went on to reject the conclusions of that report, citing the counter-view of Robert Epstein in the American journal Psychology Today, and referring to the harmful side-effects reorientation attempts have for members of the gay and lesbian community. Peron's objectivity rating would be enhanced considerably if he were to comment on the actual conclusion I came to rather than lifting one sentence our of context and giving it a totally opposite meaning. I support entirely the background Peron offers on the Spitzer study, and we are of one mind in rejecting its reported conclusions. I think I can claim to be the only current church leader in New Zealand who has positively and persistently affirmed an inclusive society. There are, however, others in the churches to whom Peron might appropriately address his comments. He would do well to be more discerning in his selection of targets. Bishop Richard Randerson - 14th June 2004