Australian police say blast at Christian group’s HQ not politically motivated

The damaged entrance to the offices of the Australian Christian Lobby Group in Canberra, Australia,

By James Regan

SYDNEY, (Reuters) – Australian police said on Thursday an explosion caused when a van drove into the headquarters of a conservative Christian lobby group in the national capital, Canberra, was not politically or religiously motivated.

The 35-year-old Australian driver of the van, which was carrying gas-filled cylinders, walked into a nearby hospital suffering severe burns and was in critical condition, Australian Capital Territory Police Commander Mark Walters said.

” … As a result of our conversations with the male driver of the vehicle, we have established that the actions of this individual are not politically, religiously or ideologically motivated,” Walters told reporters.

Walters would not elaborate further.

The driver of the truck ignited gas-filled canisters before smashing into the building that acts as headquarters for the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), which has been an outspoken critic of abortion and same-sex marriage.

ACL managing director Lyle Shelton posted a photograph on Twitter showing the burned-out van in front of the group’s headquarters. He said no staff were injured.

“I don’t know the motivation of last night’s attack, but the context of what I see here is in the context of multiple death threats and threats of violence that my staff have endured over the course of this year,” Shelton told reporters.

(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Paul Tait)