Sunrise host David Koch blasts pastor at sacked Essendon CEO’s church as AFL club chairman toes game’s inclusivity line
- Andrew Thorburn resigned from the Essendon club over position with the church
- Thorburn held the job for a day until links to the controversial church emerged
- Sunrise host David Koch blasted a senior pastor from the church in an interview
A senior minister from a controversial church with links to former Essendon chief executive Andrew Thorburn has been rescued by Sunrise host David Koch.
Thorburn was forced to leave his role on Monday after just one day in the top job at the Essendon AFL club when he refused to step down as chairman of the City on the Hill church.
Essendon later said the church’s controversial views on abortion and homosexuality were in direct conflict with its values.
Koch invited City on a Hill Senior Pastor Guy Mason to respond to criticism of his church.
In a heated interview, Koch, who is chairman of South Australian AFL club Port Power, took the game’s line on inclusivity when he blasted the church.
Andrew Thorburn was forced to leave his role on Monday after just one day in the top job at Essendon AFL club when he refused to step down as chairman of the City on the Hill church
“Even the most conservative guy I think I know, Peter Dutton, called your views an abomination,” Koch said.
‘Comparing abortion to the Holocaust is not love, it is not inclusion.
‘There are so many other churches that are tolerant, that are inclusive. You all read the same book, why do you have this hard line and not so loving view?’
Mason defended the values of his church and threw his support behind Thorburn.
“I know Andrew is a great man, he’s a man of integrity, generosity, warmth, and he’s a man of faith, and I admire that in him,” Mason said.
He also said that Koch took a quote from 10 years ago and that the statement was not meant to be “inflammatory.”
“I would use different words today,” he added.
Mason also asked Koch to ask Thorburn if he wanted to know the ex-boss’s views on homosexuality and abortion.
“He wouldn’t be chairman of your board unless he shared the same views as the church,” Koch replied.
Earlier, a Christian lobby group said Thorburn was the victim of a ‘frightening’ and ‘toxic’ vigilantism in sport that targets Christians.
Koch invited City on a Hill Senior Pastor Guy Mason to respond to criticism of his church — and the two had a heated discussion
The City on a Hill Church has several locations in Victoria and has published strong positions on abortion and homosexuality online
That Mr Thorburn was given this ultimatum ‘is a terrifying thing for every Australian’, spokeswoman for the Australian Christian Lobby Group, Wendy Francis, told Daily Mail Australia.
Sydney radio talk show host Ben Fordham also entered the fray, accusing Essendon of ‘maligning’ and ‘cancelling’ Mr Thorburn for his Christian faith.
‘Essendon says: ‘This is not about defaming anyone for their personal religious beliefs’,” Fordham wrote.
‘Oh, yes it is. That’s exactly what happened.
‘He has been pushed out the door – because of his religious beliefs.
‘And he has been canceled because of his Christianity.’
Thorburn said he was “saddened” by the events that led to his decision to step down.
However, he hit back at his critics in a statement, claiming that ‘it became clear to me that my personal Christian faith is not tolerated or allowed in the public square’.
He added: ‘People should be able to hold different views on complex personal and moral issues and be able to live and work together, even with these differences, and always with respect.
‘Behavior is the key. It is all an important part of a tolerant and diverse society.’