A homosexual man is taking the Anglican Bishop of Auckland to the Human Rights Tribunal after being rejected for training as a priest.
A hearing begins today following a complaint from the man, who says he feels discriminated against because of his sexuality.
It is understood the man – who is in a sexual relationship with his partner – has wanted to enter the church’s training programme for priests for years.
But after applying to enter after years of study, he was rejected by the Bishop Ross Bay, who approves entrants.
Bishop Bay told One News last night that he was simply following the church’s doctrines.
The man was rejected “by reason of the defendant not being chaste in terms of canons of the Anglican Church,” the bishop said.
That means that anyone wanting to become ordained needs to be in what the Anglican Church deems to be a chaste relationship – a marriage between a man and a woman or committed to a life of celibacy.
In a statement to the tribunal, the complainant says he “felt totally humiliated that I had spent six years of my life in study, for a process that I was not permitted to enter because I was a gay man and in a relationship”.
“My humiliation and disappointment continue to this day.”
He also claims that had he been unmarried but in a heterosexual relationship, he would have been allowed to train as a priest.
However, it is understood that is not the case and that Bishop Bay has rejected people in such relationships in the past.
A spokesman for the Anglican diocese of Auckland, Jayson Rhodes, said he could not get into details of the case.
“The best way for both sides of this to be heard is before the tribunal, rather than through the media.”
A suspected bomb blast struck a Catholic church in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha on Sunday, police said, wounding a number of people.
Sectarian tensions have been simmering in east Africa’s second biggest economy after two Christian leaders were killed in the predominantly Muslim islands of Zanzibar earlier this year and there have been attacks on Muslim leaders and mosques.
“Some kind of explosion went off at the church. It is believed to have been a bomb but we don’t know what type of bomb it was,” Tanzania police spokesperson Advera Senso said.
Senso could not confirm if anyone had been killed in the attack or how many had been wounded.
Tanzania’s foreign affairs minister Bernard Membe said in a message on Twitter he was “deeply shocked” by the explosion.
President Jakaya Kikwete has warned about rising religious tensions in several televised addresses.
Anglican Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, Rt Rev Dr Howard Gregory, is suggesting that the media have more to offer.
“While we expect the media to be truthful in reflecting what is happening in our midst, I submit that the journalistic community has a significant role to play in the shaping of our society,” he said. Gregory said the view that media only reflect what is going on is a cop-out.
“If the journalistic community is simply going to reflect the dynamics and values of society, then we are in deep trouble.” Speaking at the World Press Freedom Day Forum at The Knutsford Court Hotel on Thursday, Bishop Gregory said a spirit of individualism is permeating societies and institutions of governance and commerce are taking more control over citizens’ lives. He said there seems to be no exploration of the values which are informing the decisions being made and the extent they influence society’s choices.
“It seems to me it will take a free press with guts, as well as institutions of civil society to educate the population and expose these areas of our national life,” he said…