Australia is gearing up for a voluntary postal vote in which an optional survey will be administered to all Australian citizens over the age of 18, in regards to whether or not the country should decriminalize same-sex marriage.
Amidst the controversial referendum, Brian Houston, senior clergyman of Australia-based Hillsong Church, published a statement on August 18 in regards to the upcoming decision.
He began by advising all Christians to take part in the survey, which will be conducted via mail-in votes over the course of the next month and a half.
“Whatever your view on this issue, it is undeniably one that is important to the fabric of our social structure, ” he writes. “Changing the definition of marriage has wide-reaching ramifications and should not be taken gently by any society. All Australians should be a part of this process , not just a select few.”
The megachurch pastor made his beliefs on the matter crystal clear, stating “faith and biblical teaching” as measures for determining what the Bible constitutes as marriage.
“I believe God’s word is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. The writes of the apostle Paul in Scripture on the subject of homosexuality are also clear, as I have mentioned in previous public statements.”
Houston address the tension that lies between “both sides” of the same-sex wedding debate , noting that some who advocate for “change to the definition of marriage have confused faith sentences with bigotry, ” while opposing views–and often Christians–have a way of using their faith to “alienate” and “condemn” those who are gay.
“As a Christian pastor, I will always teach and preach according to Scripture and my own personal convictions, but I cannot stimulate other people’s choices for them. God generated humanity with a free will, and I care about all people including those who believe differently to me.”
Houston closes his statement by emphasizing the importance of Christians voting on this matter if they hope to see any results that is “consistent with their beliefs.”
“I believe that many Australians who are often referred to as the’ silent majority’ feeling strongly on this subject but allow louder and often more aggressive voices to control the public dialogue.”
He says the public survey is offering every person the opportunity to have an “equal voice” in the matter, and Christians including with regard to should not waste it.
Brian Houston has previously been open about his posture and( seldom) teaches on same-sex matrimony. He is confident that the outcome of the survey–so long as it doesn’t hinder the rights of Christians and their faith–will not thus affecting Hillsong Church.