An anonymous local has given $20,000 to a regional New South Wales church after outspoken priest Peter MacLeod-Miller publicly advocated for transgender young people.
Father MacLeod-Miller (pictured above) is head of St Matthew’s Anglican Church in Albury, in southern New South Wales.
He said his church received the generous donation as thanks after he spoke out against the Morrison government’s contentious Religious Discrimination Bill and its impacts on transgender students.
“I’m amazed [by the donation], I’m amazed on a number of fronts. I’m really encouraged that people feel so strongly and motivated about the welfare of younger people,” he told the Border Mail.
“I also feel that it makes me feel heartened knowing people have noticed that we’re trying to make a difference.”
The vocal LGBTIQ ally explained, “We can either be a tolerant, accepting and affirming community or we can be like Salem.
“People need to decide whether they allow equal opportunities for all kids.
“If there’s not equal opportunity for all kids, we’re in trouble as far as our values are concerned.
“I think our Australian values are on the line here.”
Religious discrimination debate made Albury priest ‘ashamed’
Anglican priest Peter MacLeod-Miller has advocated for LGBTIQ+ equality for many years.
Before the legalisation of same-sex marriage, he was a vocal supporter of the reform.
Last month, he conducted a ceremony at his church for a gay couple shunned by their own Armidale church after marrying.
And in the past week, Fr MacLeod-Miller spoke out strongly against the Religious Discrimination Bill. He argued for greater protections for gay and transgender students.
The priest told the Border Mail he had personally buried trans people and was subsequently very worried the divisive debate was putting “the most vulnerable” at risk.
“It makes me ashamed to belong to religious institution. I feel like an executive in a tobacco company,” he said.
He said the Morrison government’s priorities “perplexed” him and trans people were made “collateral damage” in the legislative agenda.
The priest also couldn’t understand “why religious institutions are so focused on discrimination.”
“When you realise the genesis of the bill, it’s not because vulnerable individuals are asking for greater protections,” he said.
“It’s basically political payback.
“[Same-sex marriage] passed and there was a promise to religious institutions that they would be given a weapon for the future.”
Fr Peter McLeod-Miller said the donation to his church affirmed his decision to speak out in his conservative religious organisation.
He said the money will go towards all-inclusive music scholarships for students through his church.
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