A priest in Australia went on a homophobic tirade during the memorial of a woman who killed herself after struggling with her sexuality and claimed that “all gays should be shot”.
A parishioner at the Greek Orthodox church in Melbourne said that the priest launched into the vile rant while calling on church members to vote no in the upcoming postal survey on same-sex marriage.
Liz Tasipoulos told news.com.au that the priest screamed at the congregation as he made the outrageous comments.
Tasipoulos said: “The priest was screaming at us [that same-sex marriage] was blasphemy. The comments were so hurtful I couldn’t stop crying.”
The service took place on Father’s Day, 40 days after the woman killed herself.
In the Orthodox church, the death of a loved one is observed 40 days after they die.
Tasiopoulos said that she was shocked the priest ranted the way that he did, given that the woman’s family were at the service.
Writing on a Facebook page called “Greek Mums and Bubs” she recounted the situation.
“He pointed out everyone was to vote no.
“Then one lady stood up and said, ‘I’ll vote yes.’ The priest (said), ‘shame on you’. She walked out, and then we all did as the girl we were there for was gay,” she wrote.
“As we walked, the priest said that all gays should be shot. He was yelling at us all standing in the rain.
“I’m so disgusted by all of this that I will never return [to] church again.”
Tasiopoulos said that the rant caused a great deal of emotional trauma as people left the church in tears.
She added: “A young man was in tears. I tried to console him as he had only just had the courage to come out.
“I told him God loves you, we love you, ignore him, while the priest was screaming at us that it’s blasphemy.
“I can’t fathom this much hate on Father’s Day as (the deceased woman’s) father was having to listen 40 days after he laid his only daughter to rest.”
The priest has since apologised for the incident but said that he did not remember making the comments.
On the Facebook post which Tasiopoulos wrote but has since been deleted some people rushed to defend the priest.
They claimed that he had said “my mouth is my gun” in Greek and that it had been translated incorrectly or misheard by some people.
However, those who defended him did say that he had become unreasonably agitated when he was challenged on his discriminatory views.
Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact theNational Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.