Bishop who thinks he’s being ‘bullied’ by the ‘gay agenda’ wants to keep conversion therapy

Destiny Church bishop Brian Tamaki speaking at a service

A bishop who thinks he’s being “bullied and overpowered” by the “gay agenda” is now trying to stop progressive, pro-LGBT+ legislation being passed in New Zealand.

Brian Tamaki, the self-appointed bishop of the Destiny Church, condemned the LGBT+ community in an article published on his own website in August.

In the wide-ranging piece, Brian Tamaki hit out at New Zealand’s left-leaning government for introducing the Self Identification Bill, which would allow trans people to legally change the gender marker on their birth certificates.

He also hit out at a bill that seeks to ban the traumatising practice of conversion therapy, which has been discredited by almost every major psychiatric body.

In his article, Tamaki said the LGBT+ community is “aggressively” dominating cultural discussion.

“Most sane, good people (particularly parents) are too afraid to speak or express what they deeply feel about the sexualisation gone wrong in this generation,” Tamaki wrote.

The controversial religious figure went on to claim that the self-identification legislation will mess with people’s identities.

He also said efforts to criminalise conversion therapy is part of a wider push to “discredit and normalise an out-of-control sexual confusion assault upon a wounded world”.

Tamaki went on to suggest that banning conversion therapy would see “good parents being criminalised for being… good parents”.

Bishop Brian Tamaki has been condemned for his ‘ignorance’ around conversion therapy

The bishop has been heavily criticised by Conversion Therapy Action Group New Zealand, an organisation that is pushing to have the practice outlawed.

“To call banning conversion therapy the greatest attack on freedom of religion… is sheer ignorance,” the group wrote on Instagram.

“Brian Tamaki and Destiny Church aren’t advocating for religious freedom, they want the absolute right to abuse queer people. The era of religious bigotry must end.”

The news comes just weeks after New Zealand’s government announced its plans to ban conversion therapy. The legislation would make attempts to change a person’s gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation punishable with up to five years in prison.

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern first promised to ban the practice during her election campaign in 2018.

While moves to ban conversion therapy have been welcomed by some activists, others have been critical of the wording in the bill.

Speaking to The Guardian in July, anti-conversion therapy activist Shaneel Lal said the bill would impose a prison sentence  for people who cause “serious harm” through the practice.

Lal questioned how conversion therapy survivors would prove that they had suffered “serious harm” as a result of their experience.

Speaking to the LGBT+ news outlet Express in 2018, Ardern committed to outlawing conversion therapy.

“This is a prime example of where an element of our system allows for quite damaging activity, which in modern New Zealand should just not be happening,” she said.