Christians Like Us is a fascinating televisual experiment in comparative religion, showing how even within the essential tenets of a faith there can be huge disparities in what adherents believe. In this two-part series, ten Australian Christians live together in a house for seven days.
So who are the housemates?
Tiffany – Anglican
Ordained at 29, this progressive priest advocates for LGBTQIA rights and promotes discussions within the church on same-sex marriage. A strong advocate for women in leadership roles, Tiffany wrote her thesis on Junia, the first female Apostle (Romans 16:7). Overall, she believes in change within the church, and is dedicated to building a more open community filled with God’s love.
Hannah – Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Born and raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Hannah is passionate and active within her faith. She travelled to the Philippines as a missionary and feels very strongly about being considered a “real” Christian (she prefers to be called a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, rather than a Mormon). Conservative and outspoken, Hannah is against same-sex marriage, abortion and pre-marital sex. As part of her faith, she abstains from alcohol, coffee, drugs and anything else considered addictive.
Steve – Agnostic
Now retired, Steve was previously a youth worker with the YMCA. From the age of 10 to 15, he was sexually abused by an Anglican priest, and spent the next three decades seeking justice. For years, Steve was very anti-church and an adamant atheist, but now says he is searching for a faith. He would love to understand, to belong, and to find answers and peace.
Chris – former Baptist
A gay Christian, Chris was a regular churchgoer until two years ago, when the marriage equality debate caused a rift within the Christian community. His disillusionment began a decade ago, after enduring a long period of gay conversion therapy built around debunked mid-20th century theories on sexuality. Last year, Chris began a petition to ban gay conversion therapy in Australia.
Assumpta – Former Hindu, now Anglican
Born into the Brahmin caste, Assumpta was raised a Hindu in a secular Indian family. Her father died suddenly when she was 16, sparking a crisis of faith and search for meaning that led her to the Anglican church. Conservative in her beliefs, Assumpta believes in pre-marriage celibacy. She signed a letter to parliament in 2018 requesting protection of religious freedoms.
Steve – Evangelical/RICE Movement
Founder of the Renewal and InterChurch Evangelism (RICE) movement, Steve is an itinerant preacher. RICE holds annual rallies in Australia and New Zealand, where young, mainly Asian worshippers congregate to praise Jesus. On a weekly basis, they also hold smaller prayer meetings with an evangelical style of worship that focuses on music and dance. Steve opposes same-sex marriage and abortion and believes everything in the Bible is true.
Marty – Pentecostal
A firm believer that the church should stand strong rather than change with the times, Marty is a fundamentalist who believes in Creation as described in Genesis. A senior pastor at a church called The Rock, he believes homosexuality is wrong – as is any sex outside of heterosexual marriage. Marty is also the CEO of Christ Mission Possible, a non-profit organisation that offers food and housing solutions for the homeless.
Jo – Roman Catholic
A Catholic religious studies teacher, Jo spends much of her time analysing scripture. Toting degrees in theology and performing arts, she attends a Jesuit parish, supports the idea of both married and female priests, and believes the church should accept homosexuality as a natural thing. She is also not really concerned about pre-marital sex, believing God has bigger things to worry about.
Carol – Uniting Church
An elder in the Brisbane Uniting Church, Carol is an obstetrician and gynaecologist who has performed abortions. She has reconciled her work with her faith, believing God gave us free will and intelligence – and should ultimately be the only one to judge her actions. Carol thinks being a good Australian Christian is more about actions than words, and as such is a big believer in social justice, charitable deeds and treating everyone as equal.
Daniel – Coptic Catholic
Born and raised a Protestant, Daniel converted to Coptic Catholicism after realising thousands of years of history had been missing from his previous religious instruction. He believes the respect and value of Christianity has ebbed away and considers the idea of women as priests is akin to “men trying to be the Virgin Mary”. Daniel thinks abortion is murder and marriage is sacred.
Christians Like Us airs over two nights at 8.35pm, Wednesday April 3 and 10 on SBS.