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Christian CEO Forced Out Of AFL Club

by | Wed, Oct 5 2022

Former banking boss Andrew Thorburn believes his fleeting appointment as CEO of the Essendon AFL club lasted just 30-hours because his “personal Christian faith is not tolerated or permitted in the public square, at least by some and perhaps by many.”

He was forced to step down from ­the Essendon position because of his role as a church chairman.

In a statement the former head of the NAB said: “I was being ­required to compromise beyond a level that my conscience ­allowed,”

He added that: “Despite my own leadership record, within hours of my appointment being announced, the media and leaders of our community had spoken. They made it clear that my Christian faith and my association with a Church are unacceptable in our culture if you wish to hold a leadership position in society.”

“This grieves me greatly – though not just for myself, but for our society overall. I believe we are poorer for the loss of our great freedoms of thought, conscience and belief that made for a truly diverse, just and respectful community.”

“My faith is central to who I am. Since coming to faith in Jesus 20 years ago, I have seen profound change in my life, and I believe God has made me a better husband, father, and friend. It has also helped me become a better leader. That is because at the centre of my faith is the belief that you should create a community and care for people, because they are created by and loved by God and have a deep intrinsic value.”

His position became untenable for the club when sermons opposing abortion and homosexuality from pastors were found on Mr. Thorburn’s City on a Hill church website.

James Morrow writes in The Daily Telegraph: “Thorburn’s church, like pretty much every other church that claims to follow the Bible, says that marriage is between a man and a woman and that sex outside marriage – whether gay or straight – is a sin.”

“This has been the position, incidentally, of the three monotheistic religions – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – since time immemorial.”

While the greater Essendon club community welcomed Mr. Thorburn’s resignation, a leading Melbourne Christian is planning to quit the club.

Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne Peter Comsensoli admits he no longer feels welcome as an Essendon supporter.

National Director of the Australian Christian Lobby Wendy Francis says: “The Essendon Football Club promotes themselves as safe, inclusive, tolerant, diverse and welcoming, but their hypocrisy has been starkly exposed.”

“Their so called tolerance and diversity, however, is only extended to those who know better than to question the latest woke manifesto regarding sexuality, gender identity, and even abortion.”

“Too bad if you adhere to a biblical concept of sexual behaviour.”

“Christians and all Australians will be watching the federal Labor government carefully to see how they fulfill their promise to introduce legislation outlawing religious discrimination in this term of government.”

James Morrow observes it’s only Christians who are made to pay the price for their beliefs.

He writes in The Daily Telegraph that back in January, Greater Western Sydney AFLW player Haneen Zreika refused to wear a “pride” round jumper because it conflicted with her Islamic beliefs.

She was allowed to simply sit out the game without penalty or punishment because her circumstances were “complex”.

“Contrast this with the way players for the NRL’s Manly Sea Eagles were dragged for days because they said their Christian beliefs forbade them from promoting what they believed were sinful practices via ‘pride’ jerseys.”

“The double standard is blatant.”

James Morrow concludes: “This is about about whether one is allowed to have a differing opinion on questions of morality, framed through the prism of one and only one particular religion, and still be allowed in public life.”

“A tolerant society allows people their private beliefs.”