For conservatives in the Sydney Diocese, His Honour Michael Kirby must be their worst nightmare. Kirby is proud to call himself a Christian and an Anglican. He is also openly gay. However, unlike the many gay Christians that have been beaten into submission by the prevailing Diocesan line, Kirby is not afraid to stand up and be counted. He is clearly an articulate thinker and knows his Bible well. And He's not the type of individual who can be quietly taken out of play by the Sydney Anglican thought police. In short, he is a worrying prospect for those ministers who are scared that their parishioners will think for themselves.
Last year, Michael Kirby suggested in an interview on the ABC that Cardinal Pell and Archbishop Jensen, of the Sydney Catholic and Anglican Dioceses respectively, made it hard for people to take a more tolerant attitude to gays. Enter Reverend Richard Lane, an obscure Eastern Suburbs Anglican minister. Rather than extend some degree of hospitality to Kirby to demonstrate that conservative Christians could indeed be loving towards the homosexual community, he manages to systematic validate Kirby's concerns by launching into a violent personal attack against the High Court judge. Likening Kirby to the infamous Herod of the gospel narratives, Lane then proceeds to suggest that Kirby is a "coward, liar [and] a deceiver". Charming, isn't it? And Lane has the audacity to suggest that this is "speaking to you the truth in love".
The one thing that I find rather shocking about Reverend Lane's malicious attack is its pure senselessness. I'd really love to know what he was hoping to achieve when he sent the letter. Even if Reverend Lane happens to be right on the issue of homosexuality, was he really naive enough to believe that Kirby did not know that his practice was condemned by many other Christians? And was he really so arrogant to think that Kirby had never examined the texts that conservative Christians so love to use to promote their homophobic agenda for himself? Reverend Lane's behaviour in this respect shows astounding ignorance. The only right thing for him to do under these circumstances would be to resign from his position as an Anglican minister if he truly loves the Lord and wishes not to further undermine the Sydney Diocese. Sadly, I suspect that Reverend Lane will not repent.