Christians Kicked Out by Australian Bar After Customers Complain That They Oppose Gay Marriage
A Christian group holding monthly meetings at an Australian bar has been kicked out by the owners after several customers complained that the believers were speaking out against gay marriage.
The Rose Hotel in Chippendale told organizers of the Theology on Tap meeting group that it can no longer gather at the pub's beer garden, Australia's The Daily Telegraph reported.
"We've experienced some backlash from customers, and within these complaints they have threatened not to return if these events continue. ... I was told by staff yesterday that worked the previous event that four different groups of people got up and left and, out of the two groups, we were told that they might not ever come back," the letter sent to the Christians read.
"It was about the debate of marriage equality that had frustrated these groups and our locals."
The meetings reportedly attracted between 200 to 300 people. What riled customers was a recent talk by American nun Sister Mary Patrice Ahearn who spoke about how Christians can cope when being attacked for their faith.
Ahearn warned that opposition to gay marriage, euthanasia, and other controversial issues are things that Christians can expect to be persecuted for.
The nun also said that common ground must be found between the two sides on the gay marriage issue, and emphasized that "persons with same-sex attraction desire love, friendship and intimacy as much as you or I do."
The event cancellation comes as Australia sent out a postal survey to gauge support for legalizing same-sex marriage. According to Reuters, around 12.6 million citizens sent in their responses.
The survey, which cost over U.S. $93 million to carry out, is nonbinding, but the government has said that if the majority of voters are in favor of the change, it will put out a proposal to make Australia the 25th country in the world to legalize gay marriage.
Christians have been feeling pressured amid the divisive debate and some churches have been targeted.
At least two churches were spray-painted in October with graffiti, with one message calling on those who vote no on gay marriage to be crucified.
Drew Mellor, head pastor of Glen Waverley Anglican Church in Melbourne, said that other signs compared Christians to Nazis.
"That's very unsettling for some of our older members of our church this morning," Mellor said.
"Some asked, 'Does that mean we're going to be bashed?'"
Mellor clarified that while he is voting against gay marriage, his parish welcomes gay members.
"We certainly have ministry with, long connections with people that would align themselves ... personally with the gay community," the pastor said.
"We wouldn't conduct a marriage service for a gay couple ... nor would we exclude anyone if they happen to be a gay couple in a marriage relationship."