Fighting Father Battles for Youth – Inner City News January 26th, 2004


Reverend David Smith has used the boxing ring as a way of reaching some of the Inner City’s most troubled youth but it is his hard—hitting approach to religion that has landed him in strife with the Anglican Church.

The reverend, who is known as the Fighting Father, has ruffled the feathers of the more traditional clergy members over the years in pursuit of ‘the good fight,’ and now, with the publication of his first book, Sex, the Ring & the Eucharist he, has been hit with a fresh wave of controversy.

He has accused the modern church of behaving like Christianised golf clubs that a re out of touch with most people in the community.

Reverend Smith has called for a

revamp of attitude from the diocese to better reach those pe ople in the communitv searching for support and forgiveness.

While the Sydney Anglican Diocese did not wish to comment on the book, Reverend Smith said the diocese had taken issue not with his criticism of the ecclesiastical system but with a few four-letter words contained within.

“So much of the church nowadays reeks of a sort of insipid middle-class moralism that really does care more about smoking and swearing than it does about domestic violence or world hunger” Reverend Smith Said

“The Sydney Anglican Diocese is made up of people who are out of touch with the underside of Australian society. The average guy in the street wouldn’t have a clue what people in the ministry are on about.’’

Having once been a problem teenager himself, carrying knives and bike chains, Reverend Smith said the biggest problem laced by young people was a lack of something to believe in.

“Our teenagers don’t believe in anything bigger than themselves,” he said.

For Reverend Smith, it was boxing that gave him the sense of belonging he was searching for and helped him get back on the right side of the tracks.

“1 suspect that Jesus and the apostles would feel more at home in the average boxing gym today then they would in the average church,” he said.

“Jesus was a rebel against the institution and when you institutionalise that, it’s very hard to stay rebellious.”

Sex, the Ring and the Eucharist is available from

Inner City News
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About Father Dave

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four
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