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bloggers react to the LBC radio phone-in

Updated again Sunday 6 pm

Andrew Brown has written at CiF belief Welby’s argument against gay marriage has strength. But we can’t yield to moral blackmail

…Archbishops are not supposed to be Peter Singer-style utilitarians. And it seems to me that there are two things wrong with the Welby position from the point of view of Christian ethics. The first is surely that, while we have the right to make our own decisions about whether or not to yield to moral blackmail, we have no right to make them for other adults.

You might object that an archbishop is there to make decisions for other people, so different rules apply. But he is also there to set an example. And this leads to the second Christian objection to this kind of blackmail. Christians are called on to do what is right, and to trust that God will bring good out of it even if evil immediately follows. Failing to do what you believe is right is, in some lights, a kind of blasphemy.

Welby does not, in fact, believe in gay marriage, so he’s off that particular hook. And he has already said enough in favour of gay people to disgust the Ugandan and Nigerian churches. I don’t think you can accuse him of cowardice on this issue, even if he’s wrong…

Rachel Mann Justin Welby, Homosexuality and Unintended Consequences

…I do not doubt Justin Welby’s experience. As noted in a previous blog post I have lived in a country which criminalizes homosexuality. Changing Attitude and other organizations have consistently flagged up how very dangerous it is to be gay in the majority world.

In this blog post I want to examine the underlying logic of the Archbishop’s claims and question and problematize them. I apologize if my reasoning seems blunt and crude. I am currently fasting as part of EndHungerFast and my mind is not working at full tilt. Equally, I am very open to comments which help sharpen up my thinking in this area…

Symon Hill Welby, homophobia and the lives that are at risk

Savi Hensman Archbishop of Canterbury, equal marriage and safety of Africans

Gillan Scott Justin Welby’s debut radio phone-in was a breath of fresh air

Caroline Hall Archbishop of Canterbury Links Attacks on African Christians to Pro-LGBT Churches

Susan Russell Archbishop of Canterbury chooses pathetic over prophetic

Updates

Claire George has an article which in addition to her comments includes a transcript of part of the broadcast: [Opinion] What did Justin Welby say about Africa and Gay people?

The Bishop of California, Marc Andrus wrote A word on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statements

Kelvin Holdsworth You condemn it, Archbishop

This article is by the person who asked the archbishop the question that generated so much coverage of the programme: Rebel Rev lives up to her name

…I managed to get out just in time and asked the Archbishop the last question of the show. In a nutshell I was asking why, as priests, we couldn’t bless same sex couples and use our own conscience like happened when the remarriage of divorcees came about in church. This could be the case while we waited for a synodical process to go through that could change the rules to allow equal marriage in church.

I was shocked and saddened by Justin’s response. Much has been publicised and blogged about Justin’s answer by theologians and people far and wide in the Anglican Communion. As the person who asked the question and a bog standard priest in the Church of England I feel extremely let down by my institution and the Archbishop. He said that we couldn’t move forward with a more liberal agenda in the UK without it having a devastating effect on people in Africa. He told a story about standing at a mass grave and had been told the people were killed because of the liberal changes in America. That’s like wondering why a woman in a violent relationship who is murdered didn’t leave, instead of asking the murderer why he killed her. Violence always needs to be condemned. The Archbishop didn’t do this. Murder and homophobia are the issues, not liberalism in the UK. Can you imagine what would have happened if Gandhi had given in to the violence and not challenged the marginalisation and oppression at the salt mines? How different would the world be if Wilberforce wasn’t listened to because the slaves might have been further abused? What would have happened if the civil rights movement hadn’t progressed because people were scared of the violence of the KKK? Women are killed and maimed today because they are being educated. Just ask Malala. Does that mean we shouldn’t educate girls? Apartheid was atrocious in its outpouring of violence. Should we not have campaigned because more black people would have been killed? What Justin said put the power in the hands of the oppressors and those who wield violence.

Let’s be clear, it’s not only Africa that kills people because of homophobia. I live in London, a very cosmopolitan city, yet my neighbour was killed in a homophobic attack. I had a friend who took his own life because he couldn’t cope with coming to terms with his sexuality in the face of homophobia from his family, friends and church. There are many people hurt and trapped by homophobia and a lack of acceptance in the UK…

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Father David
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Father David

Of the 34 comments currently responding to the Archbishop of Canterbury answering questions on the radio phone-in 33 concern his linking of killings in Africa to gay marriage. However, Archbishop Justin did have other things to say during the course of the hour long programme. For example he made this extraordinary comment – ” I think the opponents of women’s ordination are wrong theologically.” It’s a long time since I have heard such an arrogant and crass statement emanating from the lips of an Archbishop of Canterbury. Does that mean that Justin Welby regards his new best friend in all… Read more »

Sam Roberts
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Sam Roberts

Either those who oppose women’s ordination are wrong theologically, or they are right. Pope Francis thinks they are right. ++ Justin thinks they are wrong. The Pope is free to express his views on the topic, so why should not ++Justin? The fact that Francis and Bartholomew are of one mind on this does not mean that ++Justin is wrong. There may be a case that ++ Justin has been ‘promoted beyond his abilities’, but if so I don’t think this particular pronouncement is evidence of it.

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

I think as Rachel Mann has written elsewhere, the killings are done for spurious reasons tied up with long-standing tensions and hatreds… and if one spurious reason (homosexuality in England) is removed, the killing for spurious reasons will still carry on, because the justifications for killing are spurious anyway. All that will be achieved is the suppression of gay and lesbian lives and acceptance in England, the corroboration of suppressions and mandate for prejudice elsewhere, and the trampling over individual and local church conscience by top-down demands for a uniformity that doesn’t even exist. No equivalent demands are made for… Read more »

Chris H.
Guest
Chris H.

Father David, he is trying for reconciliation by telling liberals that women priests are ok and that gays shouldn’t be attacked, etc. He’s also still trying to tell conservatives there is a place for them in the church still. But liberals won’t accept that any more than conservatives accept gay marriage. Nobody here liked Rowan for the last several years either, so I don’t think you can blame lack of experience. The sad fact is there are two understandings in the church and they are both mutually exclusive of the other. No archbishop is going to have peace until one… Read more »

William Tighe
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William Tighe

Oh, to be “a fly on the wall” when Welby decides to lecture the Pope and the EP about their “error.” He may not get very far with the EP, though, as I recall how, about a decade ago, William Swing, then the Episcopalian Bishop of California, wrote on his blog about how he had met with the EP and offered to “share” with him his views on WO – but the EP said he wasn’t interested, and would rather not “share.”

Clive Sweeting
Guest
Clive Sweeting

There has been little reference in this difficult debate particularly with regard to Uganda to the circumstances surrounding the conversion of that country. The ‘Martyrs of Uganda’, defined non-exclusively for the purpose of their canonisation (so that it has been argued that Anglicans figure in the total),were the page-boys of the ruling Kabaka in the central area of that country who chose voluntary death to submission to rape by the ruler. While deploring extreme penalties, acts and attitudes, it might be useful to study Ugandan susceptibilities in the light of these events.

William R, Coats
Guest
William R, Coats

To argue that something which happened many years ago (in which even the “cause” so stated is suspect) now provides the grounds historically for some identical event many years is of course spurious beyond belief. The assumption is, of course we must act (or not) to protect the Africans (a bit of neo-colonial reach is it not?) Well here is a thought, contrarian I am sure. If these Christians in Nigeria, etc. are so endangered by something we in America have done (or you in the UK may do), and are so defense-less, well then I say arm them! Yes… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Sam, there have been 5 Archbishops of Canterbury who support the ordination of women (Coggan, Runcie, Carey, Williams and Welby) all previous 100 opposed this ministerial innovation. There have been 266 popes and 271 Ecumenical Patriarchs who all oppose this break with Catholic and Orthodox tradition. Are you actually suggesting that 5 were theologically right and 637 were theologically wrong? If not how do we decide who is right and who is wrong? Where does true Authority lie?

RevPeterM
Guest
RevPeterM

You are right Susannah, these killings would have taken place in any case. At the rough end of the legal system in England it’s called the ‘Portsmouth Defence’ (after the naval town, not the diocese). In its basic form it goes like this: ‘He touched me on the trouser leg and called me “darling”. In my disgust I knocked him down and to teach him a lesson I took his wallet.’

It is no longer successful in court, but still works for Lambeth Palace.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

The CoE is about to vote in women bishops and will consider the theological question to be settled. There will be provisions for those who cannot accept this, but CoE itself will no longer believe 2 opposed things before breakfast.

Fr David, of course Justin Welby believes the Pope to be wrong on this. That’s hardly news!
And to have spent years discerning something and then come to a conclusion is hardly arrogant.
It may be wrong, but it’s not arrogant.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

As The Rev. Mervyn Noote said on the first thread:

“If this is the line of argument he’s resorting to, then he knows that he’s lost the argument.”

Chip Chillington
Guest
Chip Chillington

The Bishop Marc Andrus link is broken

http://bishopmarc.typepad.com/blog/2014/04/a-word-.html

ED: Fixed, sorry

Nathaniel Brown
Guest
Nathaniel Brown

“He’s also still trying to tell conservatives there is a place for them in the church still. But liberals won’t accept that any more than conservatives accept gay marriage.” What an extraordinary statement! I have yet to meet a single liberal who would say that there is not place for conservatives in the church, while I have heard, often, that liberals are “not real Christians.” What liberals are saying is that all Christians are welcome at the Table, the only “restriction” being that no one may exclude LGBT persons from full membership and participation in Christ’s church, or deny them… Read more »

Sam Roberts
Guest
Sam Roberts

Father David:

‘Where does true authority lie?’ Where, indeed?

Someone is right and someone is wrong. I suspect that only God knows the correct position. We are all free to express our views.

And sadly, whenever anyone says that they believe their view is theologically correct, it means (by implication) that the alternative view is (in their opinion)theologically wrong. It all-or-nothing, as a woman either can be validly ordained or she can’t. I don’t see Justin as having done anything wrong for simply stating explicitly what his position implies in any event.

Sam Roberts
Guest
Sam Roberts

William, Thanks for that. The Ugandan Martyrs are referred to quite frequently in discussions about homosexuality in Uganda. I first heard of the Martyrs when they were alluded to by African clerics arguing against gay rights at the 1998 Lambeth Conference. President Yoweri Museveni used to see the Kabaka’s apparent bisexuality as proof that homosexuality and bisexuality had existed in Uganda before the arrival of the Europeans, and therefore that they were part of Ugandan culture. However, the President’s recent conversion to an extreme anti-gay position has led him to comment that the Kabaka in question must have leanred homosexuality… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Guest
Simon Dawson

We need great caution when discussing the “Ugandan Martyrs”. The history of African culture in that area is quite contested. There is strong evidence that same-sex eroticism was a major part of the culture in many parts of Africa. In a culture where young men and women were raised separately, a boy would grow up to become the object of affection of an older boy, then progress to loving a boy of his own, and then move onto a third stage of heterosexual marriage. These same sex relationships were socially approved of, and seen of as the major way in… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

” Are you actually suggesting that 5 were theologically right and 637 were theologically wrong? If not how do we decide who is right and who is wrong? Where does true Authority lie?”

Until 1860, there were 15 American presidents who thought slavery was morally and politically correct. Until 1954, there were literally dozens of Supreme Court justices who thought “separate but equal” was morally correct.

The number of people who think something is “right” is not an indicator of whether it is or not.

Tobias Haller
Guest

Perhaps the greatest irony (and tragedy) is that Welby sees a connection (or easily accepts there is one) between same-sex marriage in America and England/Wales and violence in Africa, rather than seeing the more obvious (and verifiable) connection between violence against gays and violence against anyone, in Africa, America, England and Wales and where ever it takes place. It is violence he should be addressing, not marriage. I am also weary of folks who claim the overturn of the Biblical dietary Law offers no good analogy for overturning Biblical marriage law, appealing to Romans 14 (Paul’s call to abstain from… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“Where does true Authority lie?”

Authority lies with Jesus Christ, who broke substantial cultural taboos to teach, heal, and hang with women. It was Jesus who made a woman the first witness to the Resurrection. Woman can take comfort that Jesus treated us like human beings and called us to be his disciples. The rest is CULTURE!

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Clare George’s analysis on Welby’s remarks is spot on.

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

The continuing murderous rivalries and ethnic cleansing usually along tribal/religious lines continues in many countries across central Africa. The Moslem pastoralists of neighbouring Central African Republic have been all but wiped out or are in refugee camps in adjoining countries. The war raging in the Congo has taken over 5 million lives since 1994 some 3 million of them children. One could say that we hardly need reminding of all the stories of child soldiers, massacres, rapes and vile atrocities of every form that has racked the region for far too long, but it seems, reading the response of the… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Great rebuttal from +Kelvin.

I hope that all the world’s religious leaders stand up and say “no, Justin, you’ve got it wrong. The right thing to do is condemn the violence and the homophobia.” Our PB already has. Apparently she has a great deal more courage (and honesty) than Justin.

And then there’s that Ugandan bishop standing up for LGBT people in his country; he’s in danger of getting 7 years in prison.

That’s what courage looks like.

Randal Oulton
Guest
Randal Oulton

ED : The Bishop Marc Andrus link is broken again?

This other one seems to work; perhaps he keeps changing the typepad slug on it.

http://bishopmarc.typepad.com/blog/2014/04/a.html

ED: fixed again, thank you.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

The notion that one may categorize theology in favor of the ordination of women as either “right” or “wrong” is probably not helpful. What does need to be said is that the sexism, the discrimination against women’s equality that one finds articulated and defended inside institutional Christianity is unjust, wrong headed, and largely an embarrassment to those of us trying to hold onto some semblance of Christian believing in today’s world .

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

To quote Kelvin Holdsworth:

“When you encounter violence, you condemn it, Archbishop. When you encounter murder, you condemn it, Archbishop. When you encounter homophobia, you condemn it, Archbishop.

“You don’t appease it, Justin Welby. You condemn it.

“Why should any of us in any land expect anything less of you?”

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“For example he made this extraordinary comment – ‘I think the opponents of women’s ordination are wrong theologically.’ It’s a long time since I have heard such an arrogant and crass statement emanating from the lips of an Archbishop of Canterbury. Does that mean that Justin Welby regards his new best friend in all the world – Pope Francis – as being “wrong theologically”, not to mention Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch?” – Father David – NO, Father, What it does mean is that the Church of England – Catholic AND Reformed – has come to the decision that the correct… Read more »

WilliamK
Guest
WilliamK

Father David, I’m astonished at your appeal to numbers (apparently) as a means of determining truth. Majority vote (with the dead having votes a la G. K. Chesterton) is how truth is determined? In reply to an earlier post of yours, I cited the second half of Article XIX (“Of the Church”): “As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred; so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith.” Do you think this statement — to which I believe you swore an oath of… Read more »

Murdoch
Guest
Murdoch

What the Provost of St. Mary’s Cathedral Church, Glasgow (Kevin Holdsworth), said. Amen.

Chris H.
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Chris H.

Nathaniel, might I suggest that you take a look at some of the other posts on this site regarding women bishops and the fight to pass legislation allowing it and the Code of Practice offered? Other posts on gay marriage and bishops, too. For women bishops there were many calls that no provisions be made for traditionalists. Everyone has women bishops, full stop. Everyone does gay weddings. Several posters here have stated that only someone who is for gay marriage and women priests/bishops can be a “Real Christian”. Not Christ, faith, or baptism– gays and women are the real theology.… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Barak Obama is the 44th American President, that means that if 15 favoured slavery, 29 were against. A democratic poll of U. S. A Presidents would vote decisively against slavery.. So, Pat, my original question stands – how do we decide what is theologically right and what is theologically wrong? Where does true authority lie?

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

It seems that the Archbishop is manipulating the mass grave story in a very questionable way: http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2014/02/female-church-workers-raped,-killed-in-south-sudan.aspx

sjh
Guest
sjh

“Injustice anywhere leads to injustice everywhere” said Martin Luther King. What the church has yet to learn is that you will not build justice for everyone by excluding those you disapprove of. “Darkness does not drive out darkness, only light can do that” MLK again. If Christians and Muslims are to stop slaughtering each other it will be because they both learn this, not because LGBT rights are denied in the CofE. Where in all of this is the astonishing vision of Jesus of Nazareth which so inspired MLK?

Andrew Brown
Guest

Welby was *not* talking about the Sudanese massacre on LBC, but about a different, Nigerian one.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Father David: MY point was that for the first 80 or so years of American history, every President supported slavery. Once one didn’t, things changed. But was Lincoln wrong because 15 Presidents preceding him thought differently? While we live in a representative democracy (both in the UK and the US), and we pass our laws and elect our representatives by majority vote, we do not decide morality or theology on those terms. Indeed, the US Constitution contains specific language defending the rights of a minority to espouse views that differ from the majority. (We’ve not always done a good job… Read more »

John Wirenius
Guest

Fr. David, The Roman Catholic Church isn’t afraid to say to Anglicans that we are wrong when it believes so–it still does not recognize Anglican orders, and does not consider any church but itself to be a part of the Church Catholic, but a separated splinter. This is not, I am sure, said out of rudeness, but out of belief. So too with us. We can disagree without falling into the sort of dogging-and-catting that so long marred relationships. (E.g., referring to the RCC as “Our fallen sister,” or worse) And we should uphold the right, as we see it,… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

William, it has been said, not by me, of course, that the only thing that unites the Church of England is the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion, in that no one believes any of them! Perhaps this has been said because they owe more to the politics of the time when they were concocted rather than to true religion. Personally, I have a very high regard for the Bishop of Rome who hath no jurisdiction in this realm. As I’ve said before, he is the most Christ-like pontiff to sit on the throne of a Peter in decades and for… Read more »

John
Guest
John

I am a consequentialist (so I have been told). If it were the case that blessing or celebration of gay marriage in Britain were to lead to the deaths of Christians in Africa or anywhere else, then I think the good would be outweighed by the bad (even though the bad would be being fomented by some very unscrupulous people and carried out by some very deluded people, both of which groups would of course carry much, much greater responsibility than the celebrants or participants in such marriages). If someone like Bishop Francis of Sudan – a good person, in… Read more »

FD Blanchard
Guest
FD Blanchard

“…how do we decide what is theologically right and what is theologically wrong? Where does true authority lie?” Where ever true authority lies, it must be just and not arbitrary to be credible. A credible and legitimate authority would not be at war with experience, especially with our empirical and scientific experiences of the world. So far, reason, experience, and justice stand against an arbitrary reading of Scripture that seeks to legitimate an entirely arbitrary prejudice against gays and lesbians which may have plenty of historical precedent, but whose truisms wither into a toxic nullity when tested. A true and… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Fr David “how do we decide what is theologically right and what is theologically wrong?” You know the answer to that, you just don’t agree with it. The CoE has its own discernment processes for its theology and it believes that these enable it to work out what God wants for this church. Having followed the processes, it has now come to the firm conclusion that God actively calls women to be priests and bishops. Whether other churches aren’t getting the same call, whether they are not hearing it or whether they are ignoring it, who can say! It’s not… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

Why was so much attention given to Anne Widdicombe? After all, she left the CofE over 20 years ago because she couldn’t accept the right of the Church to ordain women. What was she doing on the programme? After all she has her own spiritual leaders now who no doubt welcome her support and leadership for whatever cause she now espouses. Why burden an Archbishop, whose orders and authority she doesn’t recognise. Or perhaps’, like some others, on here and elsewhere, she just can’t let go.

Nathaniel Brown
Guest
Nathaniel Brown

Chris, H – Thank you for your well-taken comments. I suppose to a degree, that I am the product of my church environment, being a member of an Episcopal Church in Seattle that actively welcomes all. We perform same-sex marriages, but while quite liberal, we welcome and include some pretty conservative members. We have had a few leave – possibly 5 or 6 – but this has been of their own accord, not the result of any conscious exclusion. The conscious, real exclusion I have encountered – rejected children being one element I have seen too much of – has… Read more »

JNWALL
Guest
JNWALL

In his comments, the ABC is committing the logical fallacy of reification, that is, claiming a causal connection between two independent variables. People in England, or in the USA, or anywhere, do many things, for many different reasons. People in Africa, or anywhere else, for that matter, also do many things, for many reasons. To claim a causal link between these two independent variables — i.e., that an action by people in the USA or in England directly leads to or causes an action in Africa, or somewhere else, as the ABC does in this interview, is to commit reification.… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

John, even if there was a link, which is by no means proven and I would dearly like to see some studies or other evidence that show a direct link between the murder of conservative, anti gay African Christians and mildly liberal churches in the West, we would still have to ask what is to be done about it. Would we have to cave in to bullies and become less equal ourselves? Or would we have to double our efforts to fight homophobia in our own country to become an example of how little there is to fear from liberated… Read more »

Andrew Brown
Guest

There is simply no way to demonstrate any causal link between whatever the Church of England chooses to do on this subject and what people in Africa choose to do toward their fellow citizens who are gay.

If that is the case can everyone who is urging us to set the Africans a good example please stop, since their efforts are clearly futile.

WilliamK
Guest
WilliamK

Father David, you asked: “Where does true Authority lie?”

In my view, the answer to your question begins with Matthew 28:18. Would you agree?

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“To claim such a causal link is to deprive people in Africa of their freedom to make their own decisions, as well as to inflate the significance of actions taken in England.” Precisely. As someone upthread said, it’s like an abusive spouse saying “now look what you made me do”. We would have to ask what Welby would have said about 9/11 had he been an archbishop at the time. “We should give these people what they want, as otherwise they might do it again”, I presume. Has he actually thought his position through? What he’s essentially saying is that… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Andrew,
but the claim is that our setting a good example and treating our own citizens as fully equals is causing actual bodily harm to conservative anti gay Christians in Africa.

If people really want us to stop behaving morally and ethically correct to our own citizens and if they want our own citizens to accept that lesser moral status, they have to do a little more than just claim that there is a link.

John
Guest
John

I don’t care whether the moral logic is repugnant – I do care whether there is a possibility that innocent people might lose their lives, which they would not otherwise have done. One might compare the former pope’s Ravensburg speech. He had an absolute right to give it. He had arguments. Nevertheless, innocent people lost their lives as a result of it, which they would not otherwise have done, and the speech should not have been made. That seems completely elementary to me (as a corrupt, fudgy, consequentialist). It might – I only say might – be the same with… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

And if we’re talking about potential links I would also like to point out another possibility. Lgbt people in Africa have told us that their churches have used the Archbishop’s stance in support for their own. “Look, even the Archbishop in a much more liberal church is not treating gay people as equals. He knows they’re morally inferior”. Changing Attitude in Nigeria have begged the CoE for years to speak out clearly against homophobia and violence. They have been met with a deafening silence. If my Nigerian friends are to be believed the terrible laws might not have been implemented… Read more »

Julia Evans
Guest

I offer the following as an interpretation of the positions and the nature of the relationship or covenant being established. Thank you, as ever, to Andrew Brown for his excellent analysis. Positions being established: The arguments for vilifying gay relationships are correct – there is no room for doubt – as they are based in a literal reading of the Bible. There is a link, which cannot be put up for question (again no room for doubt), between actions of gays in the UK and the persecution of Christians, whatever their sexual orientation, in several African countries. The protection (a… Read more »