Controversial speaker, James Parker has been invited by the Macquarie University Catholic Society to speak about how Gay people can be reformed by Catholicism. An announcement on the Catholic Society’s website states, “after much controversy and the possibility of our event being cancelled by the university the good news is that James Parker is still coming to give FOUR talks at Macquarie University.”
Three of these talks have already gone ahead, whilst the next two are to be held tomorrow. Macquarie University has encouraged students to protest the event if anyone desires to do so.
James Parker has made a name for himself within the Catholic community as an “Ex-Gay” who was reformed by the teachings and healing powers of the Catholic Church. His views have sparked outrage amongst various communities, having at one time stated:
“For a child to be taken away from its biological father and mother, from whom it is created, can often be traumatic enough. For lawmakers and society at large to then hoodwink the same child into believing that two men or two women can provide the necessary maternal and paternal love and care needed for it to mature into a balanced identity is at best deeply delusional and at worst further destructive to the child’s well-being.”
Parker continues to travel to various educational institutions to preach these views. Just last week, at the University of Sydney, Parker held a lecture titled ‘Men + Women = Made for each other?’ that concerned students of the LGBTQI+ community and its Allies. In reaction to the online protests at the Sydney campus, the universities own Catholic Society said, that the “event, society and speaker do not and will not promote or endorse gay conversion therapy in any way.”
However, Pulp reported that despite these claims, Parker’s speech suggested that he found Jesus Christ through “average therapy” which has subsequently raised alarm bells amongst the Macquarie University student body. Parker went on to say that an “exploratory journey alongside reparative prayers” allowed him to discover that he was molested by a primary school teacher for 3 years. (See the full article HERE)
This has been interpreted by some as a way to link sexual abuse to homosexuality as a mental disease- an idea entirely unwelcome by Macquarie University and the vast majority of its students.
This is not the first time that the Macquarie University Catholic Society has found itself in hot water over its guest speakers.
Just last year they sparked controversy after organising a ‘Life week’ event which featured both pro-life and anti marriage equality speakers. Some of the speeches included ‘Same-sex marriage won’t effect you? Consequences and considerations’, which likened same-sex marriage with polygamy and talked about the harmful effect of same-sex marriage on children, as well as ‘Planned Parenthood and the commodification of human life’, where it was alleged that “pro life ideologues” refuse to accept the “horror of their actions” and that women who accessed abortions had “killed unborn children.”
Due to protests by a number of Macquarie University students at last year’s events, as well as the university’s “grave concerns”, it seems the Catholic society are no longer holding these talks in the Central Courtyard, this time settling for lecture halls and tutorial rooms, as indicated by announcements on their website.