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AFL

Ousted Essendon CEO fires parting shot after quitting over ties to divisive Christian church

Jayden Collins

Published 
| Last updated 

Ousted Essendon CEO fires parting shot after quitting over ties to divisive Christian church

Ousted Essendon CEO Andrew Thorburn has made his parting shot to the club after standing down just one day into the job following links to a divisive church. 

The former NAB boss was less than 24 hours into his new position when information linking Thorburn to a highly controversial church was unearthed

He is the chairman of the City on a Hill, a church that holds strong anti-gay and anti-abortion views.

Credit: REUTERS / Alamy
Credit: REUTERS / Alamy

The institution was described as ‘absolutely appalling’ by the Victorian premier and Bombers fan Dan Andrews.

Following the disaster of yesterday, Thorburn released his own statement in which he warned that the debacle sets a ‘dangerous’ precedent for religious freedom in Australia.

He said, via Fox Sports: “Over the past 24 hours, I have received hundreds of messages of support and would like to thank all of those people, from a diversity of faiths and beliefs, who have reached out to me.

“Concerningly, many messages expressed genuine worry for jobs and employment prospects due simply to faith. 

“I believe that there are many Australians who fear the implications for their livelihoods, aspirations and participation in community life.

“It is troubling that faith or association with a church, mosque, synagogue or temple could render a person immediately unsuited to holding a particular role. 

“That is a dangerous idea, one that will only reduce tolerance for others and diversity of thought and participation in our community and workplaces.

“True tolerance, inclusion and diversity also includes people of faith.”

Credit: REUTERS / Alamy
Credit: REUTERS / Alamy

“Freedoms of thought, conscience, religion and association are fundamental human rights, explicitly recognised in Victorian law in our Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities and Racial and Religious Tolerance Act.

“I genuinely and passionately believe people can hold different views on complex personal and moral matters while being able to live and work together respectfully and harmoniously. That is true inclusion whereby our communities are enriched by difference.”

Thorburn also released a statement on LinkedIn yesterday (October 5) after the news became public in which he maintained his ‘love’ for ‘all people. 

Within the statement, he says: “Let me be clear - I love all people, and have always promoted and lived an inclusive, diverse, respectful and supportive workplace - where people are welcomed regardless of their culture, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation. 

“I believe my record over a long period of time testifies to this.”

He added: “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.”

Premier Andrews had denied any suggestion people may need to hide their religious beliefs to take on a leadership role.

He told reporters: “No, they might want to have a think about whether they should be perhaps a bit more kind-hearted, a bit more inclusive.

“Aren’t we all God’s children? Like, seriously, seriously, there’s no place for bigotry. There’s no place for stigmatising people.”

Featured Image Credit: REUTERS / Alamy. Action Plus Sports Images / Alamy.

Topics: Australia, Australia Afl, Aussie Rules Football

Jayden Collins
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