Long-standing New South Wales homophobe Reverend Fred Nile will retire from state politics this year, with Lyle Shelton likely to take over leadership of Nile’s Christian Democratic Party.
The 86-year-old announced he would retire in November after four decades in politics. He was first elected in 1981 after founding the party.
Nile backed Lyle Shelton, the former Australian Christian Lobby director turned conservative Christian commentator, to replace him.
He said the party’s state board had unanimously backed Shelton to take over his position in the NSW Legislative Council. The CDP’s State Council must also approve the appointment.
Nile said “representing Christ’s values in the NSW Parliament” was “the privilege of his life”.
“I’m delighted to be recommending Lyle Shelton as my successor. I’m confident this news will be received with great enthusiasm by our members,” he said.
“The need for unashamedly Christian voices in public life has only increased in recent years.
“I can think of no one better than Mr Shelton to carry this forward.”
Lyle Shelton declared it was “a privilege and honour” to succeed Fred Nile. He said Nile was “a courageous and often lone voice for Christ’s values” in politics during his career.
“There has never been a greater need for Christian ethics and principles in our parliaments,” Shelton said.
Fred Nile denies Christian Democratic Party has dwindling membership
Fred Nile, who turned 86 last month, founded the Christian Democratic political party in 1977.
He first entered NSW politics in 1981, and is the longest-serving member of the state’s parliament.
Last September, the NSW Electoral Commission warned they were considering deregistering the Christian Democratic Party because of dwindling membership.
However Nile denied the party had less than 500 members. He blamed the Electoral Commission’s deregistration notice on a paperwork bungle.
86-year-old infamous for his anti-LGBTIQ views
Fred Nile is notorious for his anti-LGBTIQ views going back decades. He has often described homosexuality as “unnatural, immoral, unhealthy and sinful”.
As recently as 2013, Nile claimed homosexuality should still be classified as a “mental disorder”.
On same-sex marriage, he declared the “homosexual lifestyle” is “incompatible” with marriage and the wellbeing of society.
Ahead of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in 2015, Nile put out a press release stating homosexuality “is in opposition to the concept of the natural reproduction of life”.
He called on police to shut down the Mardi Gras parade because it was “almost naked adults luridly imposing their sexuality to spectating, innocent children”.
For years, Nile also led a prayer circle on the night of the parade asking God for rain to protest the event’s “immorality”.
But a 2017 analysis of BOM data by Crikey exposed just how rarely Nile’s prayers were answered across the parade’s four decade history.
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