The Salt Shakers, a right wing Christian organisation, has announced in a private letter to their supporters they will cease operations in Australia. The organisation, like the Australian Christian Lobby, have been relentless in their opposition to anything LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) including Mardi Gras, the Safe Schools program, marriage equality and same sex couples adopting. They are one of the few conservative Christian organisations left who have not swayed in their promotion of gay conversion therapy.
In the private letter, founder of the Salt Shakers, Peter Stokes, gives two main reasons for the closure. One being his age and the other that there is no one to take on the role. “I turn 70 next year and Jenny will pass the 60 mark this year” and “finding that suitable person, with the background and skills to continue, has proved difficult” Stokes reveals in the letter.
Anthony Venn-Brown, founder of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International, an organisation that promotes LGBTI acceptance and equality within the Christian community has often been the target of the Salt Shakers anti-gay activities including email campaigns against him.
“I certainly welcome the closure of the Salt Shakers. It is to be expected. To use a biblical analogy ‘the writing is on the wall’. The closure of conversion therapy groups such as Exodus in the US and Living Waters in Australia reflect that some, at least, are facing reality. The wave of understanding and of LGBT people in society, the media, corporate world, churches and sport is unstoppable. Also, many of the anti-gay evangelical leaders are way past their prime. Their messages, once aligned with the ignorance that existed in society, are now seen as extreme.” Venn Brown said.
The growing acceptance of LGBT people in the church and society is something Stokes acknowledges “We were disliked by the world, and sadly, by many within the church, for the stands that we have taken on so many issues over the years.” Stokes said.
“It is difficult to tell exactly how influential the Salt Shakers are as there are no figures of exactly how many supporters they have engaged. The demographic would definitely by up in the senior years. Resistance Thinking, the Salt Shakers attempt to engage youth since 2007, has not been successful as evidenced by their Facebook page will small membership and articles placed rarely even getting a like let alone a comment. Since 1994, the Salt Shakers have been active in disseminating false and misleading information, and at times lies which has fuelled letter writing activities by their supporters to politicians. The world is changing. Peter Stokes never will. One less anti-LGBT voice in Australia is most welcome”, Venn-Brown concluded.
The Salt Shakers will hold a ‘Farewell Celebration Dinner’. Saturday October 15 and officially close December 31 2016. Liberal Senator Eric Abetz of Tasmania will be one of the speakers.
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