Cross my heart

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made a pledge last Tuesday to address the issues of religious discrimination during this term of parliament.

Amos McEwen, 23, left his church when he was just 19 years old.

He says he didn’t feel comfortable staying in the church due to his sexuality.

“[The church] deemed homosexuality to be a sin. This meant that I couldn’t be myself there,” he says.

“The people around me had a derogatory opinion on homosexuality and hearing that was difficult [for me] to accept who I really was”.

Amos McEwen speaks about his journey leaving the church. Video: Andrew Du

Mr McEwen says he grew up barely knowing a single person outside his church group.

“After leaving the church, it was [like] a weight had lifted off my shoulders and my mental health was at a much better state,” he says.

“Young people are leaving the religion because it is so black and white.

“There is either right or wrong, [and] a lot of people who are part of the LGBTQ [community] realise they can’t be themselves inside the church that can’t accept them for who they are and as a result, they are looking for other lives outside”.

Mr McEwen says the bill would impact people like himself because he would be subject to more criticism, derogatory, comments and discrimination.

Morty Whelan, 30, left the church at 18, saying it was because of what she saw as general hypocrisy amongst members of the church.

Growing up with two abusive father figures, Ms Whelan says she found the church to be unhelpful at every turn.

Morty Whelan says she is much happier now since leaving the church. Photo: Andrew Du.

She says if she was still involved in the religion, the religious discrimination act may still affect her.

“If I got pregnant and wanted to have an abortion, if I had a doctor who was protected under the religious discrimination act, I might not be able to get access to that,” she says.

Categories: General