A California preacher, the Reverend Jim Reynolds, has outraged gay activists in Ireland by holding a conference at a Belfast church entitled ‘The Lepers Among Us’ claiming that he can turn gay people straight.
"We had people in who are Christian, we agree about Jesus about the love, the church," the pastor told Ulster Television as gay groups protested outside his church.
"We all agreed that we had hurt them and we confessed to them.
"The Church has sinned against them but we do disagree about the fact they want to live life in a homosexual relationship and we don't think that's the will of God.
"There is a disagreement but I respect their right to disagree with me."
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His event was held at the Orangefield Presbyterian church as gay rights groups picketed outside.
John O'Doherty from the Rainbow Project said: "We find the use of the term leper to be very offensive, we can't understand why the organisers have decided to go ahead with this title when there's so much outrage about it.
"If this title was used about disabled or black community it wouldn't be acceptable and shouldn't be acceptable to LGBT community.
"We're here to say let us be ourselves let us live our lives, stop telling us there's something wrong with who we are, that we're sick and need to change."
Core Issues trust who paid for the conference and two others to beheld in Britain and Ireland is on the record stating that sexual preference can be changed.
One of their documents states: “There is a growing body of research evidence indicating that sexual preference is neither immutable, innate nor chosen. As a consequence of our basic sinfulness we all have desires that we do not choose to have but we do have choices with respect to what we do about them. As a consequence our sexual identity can be reinforced or altered by either gender-affirming or gay-affirming lifestyles or therapies. CORE works with people who voluntarily seek to change from a 'gay' lifestyle to a gender-affirming one. This is sometimes referred to as a “sexual re-orientation” process.Merely abstaining from homosexual activity, although admirable, cannot be regarded as healing. Heterosexual preference is the goal of gender-affirming therapy and this may lead to marriage.”
In a statement, Orangefield Presbyterian stated that the buildings are used by a wide range of organizations and local businesses.
The church stated the content is a matter for organizers.