New Zealand Church Pastor Condemned for Promoting Gay-to-Straight Therapy

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By Reissa Su | May 1, 2014 1:34 PM EST

A church pastor in New Zealand has been condemned for his controversial comments about gays. Bill Anderson, who lives in the small town of Paihia, said, "gays are going to hell, and they can only avoid eternal damnation by healed of their homosexuality."

REUTERS
A gay rights activist holds a rainbow flag during a protest against a verdict by the Supreme Court in New Delhi December 15, 2013. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

According to 3News, the pastor is promoting the healing of homosexuals with his gay-to-straight conversion therapy. Mr Anderson said he wasn't a homosexual and does not know any gays. The pastor claimed that homosexuality and lesbianism "is not normal."

When asked if someone could become a gay Christian, Mr Anderson replied with a resounding "No!" and proceeded to argue that homosexuals were "riddled with diseases." He said gays should be "dealt with." Mr Anderson said he doesn't know why other churches accept gays.

Trevor Easton, leader of LGBT support group outline denounced Mr Anderson's promotion of gay-to-straight conversion therapy. He said people like Mr Anderson "fear people they don't understand." Mr Easton was incredulous when he saw the pastor's interview. He said a person cannot be converted to be gay or straight.

In February, a leading American psychologist has criticised the UK media for bashing mental health professionals who offer "conversion therapy" to gay people. Dr Phillip Sutton, director of the International Federation for Therapeutic Choice, has published an academic paper with detailing how the media works to prevent mental health professionals from providing counselling, education guidance and therapy for "unwanted same-sex attraction and behaviour."

LGBTQ Psychotherapist Association Gaylesta said treating something that is not a "disorder" is not therapy but homophobia.  The group said gay conversion therapy is a threat to the LGBT community.

People who have undergone the so-called treatment have a bigger chance of becoming suicidal and self-destructive.

Gays accepted in NZ army

Despite the church pastor's promotion of gay conversion, New Zealand's army does not shun gays and accepts them the way they are. New Zealand has topped the LGBT Military Index for its inclusion of lesbians, homosexuals, transgender and bisexual soldiers in the army as neighbouring country Australia ranked fifth overall.

The Centre for Strategies Studies based in Hague measured the LGBT Military Index based on admittance, tolerance, persecution or exclusion of gays and lesbians in 103 armies in countries worldwide. New Zealand's army emerged the most tolerant in its inclusion of homosexuals with the UK and Netherlands both in second place.

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(Photo: REUTERS / )
A gay rights activist holds a rainbow flag during a protest against a verdict by the Supreme Court in New Delhi December 15, 2013. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
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