- (Photo: Matt Prater Facebook)
The Australian pastor who called out Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for his support of gay marriage at a Q&A session earlier this week has said that he has been "overwhelmed by support" for his stance, which has thrust him in the national spotlight.
"I have been overwhelmed with emails of support! 95% Positive! I've had them from all over Oz, NZ, USA, Canada etc. The clip with Kevin on Q & A has had over 900,000 views," Pastor Matt Prater of New Hope Church in Brisbane revealed in a Facebook post on Thursday.
On Monday, during a televised Q&A session on Australia's ABC News channel, Prater stood up and asked why Rudd, a Christian, has changed his position on gay marriage ahead of seeking re-election.
"I just believe in what the Bible says and I'm just curious for you, Kevin, if you call yourself a Christian, why don't you believe the words of Jesus in the Bible?" Prater addressed his question.
The Australian PM, who has promised to introduce a bill for same-sex marriage within 100 days of being elected, responded that "the Bible also says that slavery is a natural condition because St Paul said in the New Testament: 'slaves be obedient to your masters,' and therefore we should all have fought for the confederacy in the US civil war."
Rudd added: "I mean, for goodness sake, the human condition and social conditions change. What is the central principle of the New Testament? It is one of universal love, loving your fellow man."
The Prime Minister added in another interview that the gay-marriage question is "not simply a question about policy but about my fundamental qualifications to be called a Christian."
"If you are going to cherry pick what's in the Bible, it deserves a robust response. There is nothing unique in what I said. It's about what constitutes continuing principles as opposed to those which change in terms of historical circumstances: slavery is one, discrimination against women is another and discrimination against homosexuals is yet another," he continued.
Prater said that among the positive emails he received backing his stance for traditional marriage was one from a gay person who appreciated the pastor bringing up the question.
"I think you did a great job on the show I'm a gay guy and I think it was good for you to ask why the PM has changed his view, I believe in marriage, should be between a man and a woman and I think the PM just changed for a few votes and the headline in the news so good on you mate God Bless," the email read.
Prater said in response: "Let's pray for guys like this, and let's pray for a powerful move of the Holy Spirit in the lives of all those in the gay community."
The Australian federal election takes place on Saturday, where Rudd will attempt to win a third successive term for the Labor government and will go up against opposition leader Tony Abbott of the Liberal Party of Australia.