Anglican priest coming to lecture on gay rights
'DEAR Christians, some people are gay, get over it. God'.
Messages like this one, posted regularly outside the Gosford Anglican Church, in the NSW Central Coast, have made Father Rod Bower a 'rogue figure' among conservative Christians with his progressive views on human rights and social issues.
Father Bower is coming to Lismore to offer the Annual Diversity Lecture at SCU.
Other examples of his messages to the Gosford (and Australian) ' Christmas Island, intentional systematic child abuse' and 'Bless the burqa'.
But the priest's visit to Lismore is to focus on the human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people.
"I have been invited to deliver the diversity lecture at SCU on Tuesday," he said.
"Last time I was in Lismore it was 15 years ago, so I am looking forward to visiting the place to see how the is city recovering from the devastation from the floods.
"They've asked to focus specifically on human rights issues for LGBTQI people, so I will be focusing on marriage equality and other human right issues raised for gay and lesbian people as well.
"For instance, one of our laws at the moment (says that) if one of the partners in a married couple transitions (from one gender to the other), then they have to get divorced, and that's a human rights issue that has to be addressed.
"The theme of the lecture is 'It's Time'."
Father Rob Bower was born in the Hunter Valley where he grew up in a cattle farm.
He went to the seminary aged 27, and then served as a priest in Cessnock, Dee Why in Sydney and finally in Gosford for 18 years.
Married and with two children and three grandchildren, the clergyman attributed his high national profile to social media.
"Without social media I would be speaking to the choir," he said.
"If you have a message that resonates with people, then they do the work for you and will share it.
"When deeps spirituality meets deep human questioning, the matter resonates with every human being," he said.
Father Rod Bower said he understands people from within Christianity and other religions he works with -such as the Muslim faith- disagree with hi on the topic of gay rights.
"There are many people who disagree with my particular take on this issue, from different churches and religions and some people in the politically conservative community, but I think the important thing is to engage respectfully in dialogue.
"We can agree to disagree. While we disagree, we must recognise that society is moving in a certain direction, and how do we do that in the most productive way even for those who disagree," he said..
QSCU Society, in association with LEXSA, School of Law and Justice and the Equity and Diversity Office invited the Anglican priest to deliver the 2017 QSCU Diversity and Public Lecture.
- At Southern Cross University, Lecture Theatre B231 Military Road, Lismore, on Tuesday, May 2, from 1pm. Tickets via Eventbrite.