2 Jun 2019

Destiny Church's Brian Tamaki says 'sorry' to gay community, but still doesn't agree with homosexuality

6:54 am on 2 June 2019

Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki has apologised to members of the gay community if they have been hurt by his comments about them. But he hasn't changed his beliefs, and doesn't agree with homosexual activity.

Brian and Hannah Tamaki have launched the Coalition New Zealand party.

Brian Tamaki. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

He held an event at his church in South Auckland on Saturday to - in his words - "forge a new relationship between Destiny Church and the gay community".

"An apology - sorry - if any of the gay community, or that community, believe that anything I've said has hurt them, then that needed to happen, because that's not what I'm into. And nobody likes the cycle of hate and division," Mr Tamaki said.

Mr Tamaki was supported on stage by James Laverty and Jacqui Grant, who are members of the gay and transgender communities. His apology was met with a standing ovation from the thousands of people in attendance.

He loved all people, regardless of their religion or lifestyle, and that they were neighbours and he loved everyone as he loved himself, he said.

"The hostility is not toward them. There is no hate," he said. "We will treat you just the same as we treat each other."

In 2016, he said same-sex marriage and murderers caused earthquakes and other natural disasters.

"What I said there? Well that's my opinion. That opinion was not based on any one person, but generally speaking.

"I gotta say the media took it out of context. That was never what was said or reported. But at the same time, there is a definite link to natural disasters and to a type of activity."

When asked further about that, he said he didn't believe earthquakes are caused by homosexual activity.

"Yeah, in Leviticus. We're quoting Leviticus. But it doesn't matter now ... that was then, this is now."

He seemingly tweeted support for Israel Folau earlier this year and last year, after the rugby star said gay people would go to hell. Mr Tamaki was asked about that on Saturday.

"You'd have to ask Israel. That's history. I'm thinking about this tonight.

"This is Destiny Church - Brian Tamaki and the gay community, well some of the representatives of it, in a moment we've decided to put the past behind us."

When pressed on his position on Mr Folau's statement, one of Mr Tamaki's supporters tried to end the media stand up. Mr Tamaki was then asked if he believed homosexual people go to hell.

"That's not my job. I don't go around talking like that. No, I don't say that, I've never said that, and I never said that in the tweet either, that gays go to hell," he said.

"Do you believe that now?" a reporter asked.

"No, I don't."

Hannah Tamaki

Hannah Tamaki at the launch of the Coalition Party. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Mr Tamaki was asked about the particular timing of this announcement, a week after his wife Hannah fronted a new political venture, the Coalition Party.

"If you think we did this so we could get the gay community to vote for us, you're wrong. I don't think they will," he said.

He mentioned the Christchurch mosque attacks as evidence New Zealand should not be divided and should be more loving and tolerant of diversity.

"I think we're getting more mature in our nation. We're starting to realise, especially after the events of Christchurch, we've got to be able to accept one another, first of all as people.

"Our religion, our beliefs, or our lifestyles aside, I think that's important because I think we've been warring on the outside."

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