Concerned by the recent well-publicised displays of homophobia and transphobia in Tauranga, Bay of Plenty resident and Rocky Horror Picture Show writer Richard O’Brien takes aim at the frequently-used excuse for discrimination: faith.

A belief in a supernatural being is something that most of us will tolerate as a little whacky but indulgently allowable.

A firm belief in a supernatural being that imposes his/her/their laws upon everybody, including those of us who prefer to exist in a more rational and evidential world, is not acceptable.


The Abrahamic religions all have one thing in common and that’s the man himself.

You may recall that he spoke to God and God spoke back to him. These days we have medication for such people. 

The God that he spoke to was called Yahweh, who, up until then, had been playing a minor or secondary at the best, role in some copper mines that later on (very likely) became the fabled mines of Solomon but by the time of Abraham, Yahweh had been upgraded and he alone ruled the heavens!

During one of their conversations, Yahweh instructed Abraham to take his lovely boy Issac up the nearby mountain, find a suitable alter-stone, tie the poor darling up and commit the act of infanticide so that he might prove to this jumped up Demi-god of metallurgy, just how much he loved him. Abraham went for it.

Thankfully an Angel appeared and said that he didn’t have to go through with it but in spite of Yahweh being the supreme thinker and knower of all things (except for just how much Abraham loved him apparently) he still, for some unfathomable reason, needed a primitive sacrifice.

Yes he had formed the universe, fashioned the stars and created life here on Earth still required an innocent creature to be slaughtered in a good-old-fashioned, loving and ritualistic sort of way.

It is errant nonsense, of course, and if we were to replace Yahweh with Zeus and Abraham with John Doe, we would all be astonished to discover that this sad tale had been instrumental in making men wear beards, become celibate (good luck there), go to war under the banner of the son of Yahweh, kill non-believers and any others who fail to fit into the narrow, mean-spirited remit of their depressing world – pray to walls, genuflect, ring bells, make money and sacrifice their commonsense.

Tribalism keeps the whole business in motion. We could abandon bits or all of it but it all becomes part of a groups identity with its rites and traditions and it helps to confirm who we are. It can provide fellowship and reassurance, but kind hearts are not exclusive to people of religious faith.

Here are three things that I insist upon:

One: the earth orbits around the sun.

Two: we are an evolved species.

Three: being born homo or trans is as natural as red hair.

None of us have asked to be born, or, when we are, to be male or female, short or tall, blue eyed or brown, straight or gay.

It happens. So suck it up and let us all get on with being who we are without having to justify ourselves for being who we are by default.

Fear, shame and intimidation are the tools of tiny minded bullies.

Make a change please. It’s time to wake up.