'He bombed my office, but I have forgiven him'

ACL leader forgives ‘gay activist’

Jaden Duong allegedly detonated a van full of gas cylinders outside the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) HQ in Canberra. It gutted the bottom floor of the office block, shattering the thick glass widows. He is to stand trial in the ACT Supreme Court charged with arson and property damage.

Duong has been described as a gay activist by several media outlets, based on court documents describing his work for a California politician and a LGBTI rights organisation. In other words he might be thought of as a person the ACL might find hard to love.

But when Eternity asked Lyle Shelton, managing director of the ACL,  if he had forgiven Duong, he responded, “Yes, I forgive him and did so a long time ago. I found myself praying for him as he sat just metres across from me in court yesterday.”

Duong attended the Magistrates Court this week  still bandaged and scarred from the explosion late last year. He had told hospital staff  he had attempted suicide and told the police he had not expected to be facing questions about the explosion. His internet records showed he had recently searched gay marriage in several countries and the ACL.

The initial ACT police statement said that after a short conversation with Duong on the night of the explosion “police were able to establish that the man’s actions were not politically, religiously or ideologically motivated.” The ACL has been concerned about this dismissal of motives since the bombing.