Far-right extremist jailed for homophobic abuse at inclusive church

far right extremist neil erikson metropolitan community church
Photo: YouTube

Far-right extremist Neil Erikson has been jailed after he stormed into an inclusive Melbourne church and hurled homophobic slurs and abuse at parishoners.

Erikson (pictured) entered a Mother’s Day service at Melbourne’s Metropolitan Community Church in May 2019 with two women, while live-streaming to followers online.

A few minutes after a bible discussion began in a room at the queer-friendly church, Erikson stood up in front around 20 parishioners and asked, “Does your church marry Sodomites?”

Erikson hurled further abuse, including calling the parishoners “degenerates” and “not Christians, you’re a bunch of “fa___ts”.

The court heard Erikson initially refused a demand to exit, and a scuffle allegedly broke out between him and a male parishioner.

The incident occurred a few months after the New Zealand mosque massacre. Last year witnesses told the court they feared Erikson would get violent.

Last year, a Melbourne County Court judge found Erikson guilty of disturbing a religious service and jailed him for 70 days over the incident.

Erikson later appealed his conviction, ultimately unsuccessfully. On Thursday, County Court chief judge Peter Kidd said the sentence was too long and re-sentenced him to 40 days jail for the incident, AAP reported.

Judge Kidd said Erikson’s attendance at the queer-friendly church was calculated to denigrate and interrupt.

The extremist’s actions were intentional, significant and impactful and the resulting punishment needed elements of general deterrence, he said.

MCC leader blasts ‘disgusting, traumatising’ Neil Erikson incident

Last month, Reverend Susan Townsend told an appeal hearing Neil Erikson’s disturbance had traumatised some of the MCC’s parishioners. Many identify as LGBTIQ+.

“To have somebody come in and directly offend members of the church, it was disgusting,” she told the County Court.

She said some were so traumatised they couldn’t return to the room where the incident occurred.

“We were all very shaken. Two members of our church refuse to go into that room after that incident. A number of them had counselling,” she said.

“Our church is meant to be a safe space for LGBTI Christians, because at that stage there were so few safe spaces.

“What Mr Erikson did was take away that aspect so that we no longer had a safe space to worship.”

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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1 Comment

  1. Peter Turner
    1 September 2022

    Jacinta Ardern had the right idea when it came to the man who shot members of the Mosque over there.
    These scumbags seek publicity and notoriety.
    Deny them both. Refuse to use their names and make sure their social media sites are shut down.
    Forty days in jail is patently insufficient.

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