Do Unto Others

Peter Stokes, Saltshaker

Peter Stokes, Saltshaker

It’s a famous Christian precept, often called the Golden Rule. Treat other people the way you would want them to treat you. But some Christians seem to have forgotten this.

Take the Saltshakers, a small bunch emanating from the Crossway Baptist Church, consisting mainly of husband and wife team, Peter and Jenny Stokes. Peter has long been a fixture at marriage equality rallies in Melbourne, lurking on the fringes with his video camera, later posting footage claiming to prove there weren’t as many at the rally as police, journalists and organisers reported.

Lately, of course, Peter & Jenny are very worried lest the government ‘redefine’ marriage to include everyone, instead of people just like them. They’re particularly worried that good Christian businessmen and women will be forced to bake gay cakes, arrange gay flowers, take gay photos, and generally ‘participate’ in the carnival of sodomy known as gay marriage. Either that, or they’ll be discriminated against, demonised, thrown out of work, or forced to close their businesses.

On the other hand, it appears that Saltshakers are not above discriminating against, demonising and trying to destroy the livelihood of fellow Christians they happen to disagree with.

Matt GloverIn 2011 Matt Glover was a Baptist pastor in Lilydale, until he expressed his support for same sex marriage. The Salt Shakers immediately asked their followers to pray that God would ”improve or remove” him. Matt’s congregation obliged, meeting in secret before demanding his resignation. Married, with two small children, Matt lost his job virtually overnight.

Friends rallied round, PFLAG and Australian Marriage Equality pitched in, and Matt now makes a living as a counsellor,

as a chaplain in the aftermath of the Black Saturday bush fires, caring for families in their grief after unexpectedly losing a loved one, running a play group for homeless fathers, helping people recover from spiritual abuse, and in his extensive work with the LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) community of Melbourne. Since leaving church based ministry, Matt has been involved with palliative care, grief and loss counselling . . .  to do his part in ensuring as many people as possible get to experience “life to the full”.

He may no longer be a pastor, but I think anyone would say he is doing his utmost to live up to Christian values like love and forgiveness. The Salt Shakers, however, take a more Old Testament point of view. They have continued to pursue Matt right up to the present day.

As part of his work Matt runs a course called Encountering the LGBTI Community course aims to give participants a better understanding of LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) issues and culture. Introductory and advanced courses available, plus a theological half day for those that work in religious organisations.

Each course consists of face to face teaching, video presentation, personal stories and Q&A sessions with guest presenters. Regular guests include an intersex person, a transgender woman, a lesbian woman, and a same sex couple talking about raising their children in a blended family.

This course is accredited through the Australian Counselling Association and offers double OPD points for members.

For more information, please visit the “Encounter the LGBTI Community” website.


Jenny StokesFor this, the Saltshakers continue to hound Matt.

He is conducting his course yesterday and today at Shepparton Baptist Church. The Saltshakers tried to have the course cancelled.

They are particularly incensed that he continues to expose the dangerous and useless “ex-gay” therapies, sometimes referred to as “pray away the gay”.

Matt Glover has openly spoken against any counselling to help people deal with unwanted same-sex attraction. In 2013, he spoke on the ABC’s 7.30 program, where he stated that the orientation can’t be changed and called it ‘spiritual abuse’ to even try and change it!
In 2014, he participated in the ‘Inside Ex-Gay’ series with an interview on homosexual radio, opposing ‘ex-gay therapy’ – click here for the interview.

In contrast, the Saltshakers support and promote these fake “therapies” which have been responsible for so much pain, suffering and death, and have been fairly described as “mental torture”:

On the issue of homosexuality, we recommend that churches get support and assistance from ministries that assist people to deal with unwanted same-sex attraction (in Australia, the umbrella group for these ministries is Exodus Asia Pacific).

No wonder these kinds of  “Christians” are afraid their businesses might be hounded by LGBTI if marriage equality comes to pass: they assume we would hound Christian businesses as fanatically as they do. I suggest they dip into their bibles and read Matthew 7:5.

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)