Sunday, June 9, 2013

Calling the C of E to account

As I reported in my last post, Andrew Brown in the the Guardian noted
If there is one thing that I have learned from the comments on this site in the last four years, it is that homophobia breeds hatred in return. A really significant proportion of the commenters who hate and despise Christianity do so because they feel that Christians stand for the hatred and contempt of gay people.
And for the CofE this is a powerful J'accuse.  While ABC Justin Welby admits that the C of E has treated LGBT people badly, he still voted to kill equality.  And despite the rumors, they were NOT in favor of blessings...

Gerry Lynch calls him to account:
Over the past 15 years, there has been a revolution in how same-sex relationships have been treated in law in the United Kingdom, as in most Western societies. The Church of England opposed nearly every step of that process, and in the few cases where it didn’t do so formally as a denomination, its Evangelical wing did so vociferously in the media, usually led in the public charge by Archbishop Carey and other senior bishops. And I mean every step – the equalisation of the age of consent; the abolition of the hateful Section 28; the granting of adoption rights to same sex couples; same-sex marriage. The introduction of civil partnerships was accompanied by an attempt to strip them of any social or spiritual meaning and constant denigration of gay and lesbian relationships; it remains forbidden to give civil partnerships any blessing in church. The outlawing of discrimination in employment saw the Church of England attempt to carve out as wide a scope as possible where it could continue to discriminate against queers. And, yes, it was about orientation rather than practice – ask Jeffrey John. 
That is the record. There is no point in trying to minimise or obfuscate it. A couple of hours with Google and Hansard will reveal it in almost every detail.
Justin Welby was mostly silent when all this was going on, and when he wasn’t he supported a homophobic party line.
But if the Church of England is serious about loving, including and accepting LGBT people, it needs to stop patronising us and it needs to stop deluding itself about its own record – for it deludes neither us nor society in general. 
‘Authenticity’ is one of the big mission buzzwords at present. There’s a need for a bit of authenticity here, and a good dollop of humility with it. If you only started saying nice things about same-gender relationships when the ‘threat’ of gay marriage emerged, be honest enough to admit it. As it stands, I doubt there is a LGBT person in the whole of England who actually believes you when you claim to oppose homophobia. 
The ‘party line’ is morally bankrupt and only leaves us divided and angry at one another. We desperately need some truth in the Church of England. In Christ, the truth is what sets us free.

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