Front page tripe
Seriously, Mahurangi Matters? What tripe is this you are putting on our front page (Rodney activists seek gay conversion ban – MM August 15) You’ve got plenty of better news than this in your pages. This petition is plain hypocrisy. Surgeons are allowed to surgically attempt to alter a person’s biology, the Sallys (God bless ’em) are allowed to help alcoholics change their lives around, NZ Corrections are allowed to help thieves change their ways, life coaches are allowed to help people reach their goals of earning more money ... But counsellors and Christians aren’t allowed to support someone, coming to them of their own accord and free choice, wanting to change their sexual behavioural responses to same-sex attraction? Come on and get real. New Zealanders can have “consensual sex” but can’t have “consensual counselling”? This is an issue of human rights – denying therapy to a person even if it is based on their choice. As long as the therapist is willing to counsel, and the client is wanting this, there should be no problem. As for you publishing Ms Amanda Ashley’s comments that conversion therapy in New Zealand involves electric shock therapy where is your journalistic integrity publishing such made-up statements? At least fact-check your sources. Now get out there and cover some real stories, like hidden brothels in residential areas, or teenagers getting abortions and contraceptive injections by the thousands in NZ schools while parents are fully in the dark.
Henoch Kloosterboer, Snells Beach (abridged)
To be clear, Ms Ashley did not claim that electric shock therapy was used in NZ, only that some conversion therapies employed this method – Ed.
Freedom under threat
The front-page article (MM August 15) features the story of a group of Rodney activists presenting a petition to Parliament seeking to ban “gay conversion therapy”. This is the latest step in an ongoing process by the LGBT community to seek widespread acceptance of the view that their lifestyle is absolutely normal, and should not be challenged by anyone. Advocating the possibility that gay people can be changed from what they are, is clearly a threat to the gay agenda. To seek for legislation banning such conversion therapy is going well beyond the free expression of the LGBT viewpoint. It is an obvious attempt to get practices expressing the opposite viewpoint outlawed altogether.
This has a clear connection to the current debate about the extent of free speech in our nation. It is one thing to strongly disagree with the opposite viewpoint to one’s own. It is an altogether different thing to then seek to get practices expressing the opposite viewpoint outlawed. No freedom loving person would wish to take away this right from others.
The next step such activists will take is to seek the passing of legislation which decrees that those who say that gays can or should be changed, will be guilty of so called “hate speech” and liable to prosecution. What is happening to our democracy?
Peter Armstrong, Warkworth
I am appalled that you present an answering comment from David Riddell (MM August 15), blaming same-sex attraction on ‘social, emotional or sexual damage in the formative years’. Are we about to re-enter 1920, rather than 2020? The Human Rights Commission says:
“So-called ‘conversion therapy’, sometimes known as ‘reparative therapy’ is a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Such practices have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades, but due to continuing discrimination and societal bias against LGBTQ people, some practitioners continue to conduct conversion therapy.” This information should have been contained in your article, along with information that LGBTQ orientations do not constitute an issue requiring treatment. It is normal human behaviour.
Deborah Pickstone, Port Albert
Support for Starrenburg
Precious human life was never conceived by other than man and woman. Unlike some churches these days, who choose to ignore their own workshop manual, I am well versed in and very aware of the teaching of that most enlightening book the Bible on such matters. Although I don’t belong to any church, I welcome the move by John Starrenburg to form a Christian political party (MM August 15) and will contact John to give him my wholehearted support. Should the cunning “hate laws” come to be, then people will be punished by expressing free Christian views and opinion. Unbelievable. Good on you John Starrenburg.
Terry Harris, Mangawhai
There are two issues which have been linked in Mahurangi Matters over the past few weeks. They are ‘treatment of gay people’ and ‘freedom of choice’. It began when a local baker named Kath chose not to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple because she did not agree with the concept of gay marriage. Jill Mortlock (MM August 15) writes about us all having freedom. Apparently, that freedom does not extend to Kath having freedom to say ‘no’. In the same issue, there is an article about banning ‘conversion therapies’. Ms Ashley feels that those who are unhappy with their sexual orientation should not be allowed to seek help. Why not? Are they not free to make their own choice? And why should those who offer the help then be labelled as criminals? It seems that freedom in New Zealand is not for all, but only for some.
Raewyn Algie, Algies Bay