Thursday, 21 March 2013

Media coverage of Archbishop Welby's views


The Archbishop of Canterbury has given TV interviews to several journalists ahead of his enthronement at Canterbury Cathedral this afternoon.

Meanwhile John Bingham at the Telegraph reports on Archbishop Justin Welby’s olive branch to gay rights groups and also Archbishop ‘convinced’ role will eventually be held by a woman.

The Most Rev Justin Welby, who will be enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral later today, sent a message to Peter Tatchell, the veteran human rights campaigner, last night inviting him to meet face-to-face.
In was in response to an open letter in which Mr Tatchell accused the Archbishop of being “homophobic” by opposing gay marriage and said that Anglicans had “colluded” in extreme suppression of homosexuality in Africa.
The gesture is likely to further infuriate leaders of the Anglican Church in Africa and the southern hemisphere – several of whom are said to be preparing to snub the Archbishop by absenting themselves from a celebratory get-together for primates after the enthronement.
The invitation for a meeting is in stark contrast to the relationship between gay rights groups and previous Archbishops…

The Open Letter to Justin Welby from Peter Tatchell can be found here.

The Guardian has several articles:
Peter Walker Archbishop of Canterbury admits to gay ‘challenge’ for church and Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury – in his own words
Andrew Brown Justin Welby’s ascension shines light on powerful evangelical church
Andrew Atherstone Justin Welby is no fluffy spiritualist – he’s the tough leader the church needs

And there is another article by Andrew Atherstone published at Fulcrum (though written for Church Society) Archbishop Welby and the E-Word.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 21 March 2013 at 10:30am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

I am a priest in the Diocese of luapula ,in zambia for the last 20 years working mostly in rural parts of the country.
The issue of gay rights and its advocates has gone on in our church endlessly and is slowly eating away the church like a my pat of the world people rarely make public their sexuality and every body is aware of of the fact that sex and sexuality is cardinal in life and it is taking place every day. The question we often ask in this part of the world is , if one chooses their sexual orientation, why must they make it public? that is to say, if they are gay or lesbian or transexual, why should it be a public matter for the whole church?
Is it not for one's need to attract attention, for pride and prestige,so that the whole communion is to focus on one group of people?Could jesus have tolerated this?
In my view, in as much as we appreciate the presence of such orientations let it not be the focus of the church , to lead even to the failure of people innocent ministry.Rather keep your orientation to your self and together let us focus on the Gospel, evangelism nd all that tends towards true christian manliness.
I pray that we may be one in faith, love and hope.

Posted by: Fr Michael Kamutambo on Thursday, 21 March 2013 at 11:11am GMT

Orientation is not a choice but a given. However, I am interested to learn what is the exact nature of "true Christian manliness".

Posted by: Commentator on Thursday, 21 March 2013 at 3:04pm GMT

Fr Michael,
if you ask us to respect the local situation in Zambia, can I ask you what you would advise the Church of England to do in its own local setting, where the Government is introducing marriage equality and where gay and lesbian people and their friends and families are already leaving the church because they see it as discriminating, patronising and anti-Christian?

The world in the various countries of the Anglican Communion is very very different and if we are to bring people to Christ, we must respond to our local situation.

Zambia is not ready for recognising same sex relationships as valid.
We are not able to return to a time where most of us believed that people choose their orientation. And we do not like to live in a society where people have to hide who they are and to pretend that their love is not a great gift from God.

The only thing we can do is to stay together as a Communion but to disagree about homosexuality.

It has worked with other major topics - not all Provinces have women priests, for example, but no-one says that the Communion must split because of it.
It can work for this too.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 21 March 2013 at 4:12pm GMT

Fr Michael, I appreciate the tone of your note here. I also would love to see the church focus on mission to those in need. Here are a few thoughts.
1. Sexual orientation isn't a choice, it is a fact of birth as much as gender or race. The science on that is rather conclusive, as is the experience of LGBT persons.
2. Some countries are experiencing a movement for equal rights that is similar to the movement for equal rights for African Americans in the US and for women in many countries. This is reflected in the churches in those countries.
3. If certain bishops, including Rowan, had not tried to intimidate, isolate, chastise, or otherwise assert influence in churches in other countries (like Rowan punished TEC in the US), then the work of gay rights could potentially have remained regional issues, and not taken up so much time and energy of the international communion.

I note that it is those who wish to perpetuate oppression who have made gay rights such a big focus in the larger church. Oppression always sucks up energy and resources.

One place where everyone should come together is on the basic right of everyone to live in peace, including gay people. The horrific laws against gays in Uganda is of deep concern. Martin Luther King said that you can't use the law to force a man to love him, but you can pass laws to keep that man from killing him. The international community and church needs to exert pressure to see that gays are not killed for who they are.

For the purposes of mutual understanding, some of us in the Western Churches absolutely believe that God made us all in God's image, black/white, male/female, gay/straight. All of the conversations and inclusion in the life of the church flows from that theological belief.

It's important for the church to act justly as their conscience and beliefs demand. At this point in some countries, justice and compassion as exemplified by Jesus Christ, means inclusion.

I think that bishops, including the ABC, should not meddle in other countries affairs. And that we should work together on common interests, such as compassion and justice for the poor.

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 21 March 2013 at 4:44pm GMT

Dear Father Michael,

Your point of view was widely held in the UK also in previous generations, but we now have a different understanding about the fundamental nature of people's rights in relation to their sexual orientation.

A case in the UK Supreme Court in 2010 included the following observations by Lord Hope, one of our most senior Judges:

"For many years the risk of persecution in countries where it now exists seemed remote. It was the practice for leaders in these countries simply to insist that homosexuality did not exist. This was manifest nonsense, but at least it avoided the evil of persecution. More recently, fanned by misguided but vigorous religious doctrine, the situation has changed dramatically...

...unlike a person’s religion or political opinion, it [i.e. “sexual orientation or sexuality”] is incapable of being changed. To pretend that it does not exist, or that the behaviour by which it manifests itself can be suppressed, is to deny the members of this group their fundamental right to be what they are...

...They are as much entitled to... freedom of self-expression in matters that affect their sexuality, as people who are straight."

Posted by: badman on Thursday, 21 March 2013 at 5:45pm GMT

Fr. Michael -

Thank you for writing. I would merely note that this is NOT a private matter. Who one shares one's life with is a very public matter. What you do with your wife at home may be private, but the fact that you have one is public. So it should be for gays and lesbians too.

Posted by: andrewdb on Thursday, 21 March 2013 at 6:19pm GMT

'if one chooses their sexual orientation, why must they make it public? that is to say, if they are gay or lesbian or transexual, why should it be a public matter for the whole church?'

Father, please tell me do heterosexual couples marry in your Church ?

Are these ceremonies held in private or at public liturgies ?

Are they occasions of huge joy, delight and divine grace which transform the lives of all concerned in the celebration of prayer and sacrament ?

If so, how can you say with any appearance of consistency the words I quote above ?

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Thursday, 21 March 2013 at 9:42pm GMT

Dear Father Michael,
Thank you for writing. Others have said that being attracted to one's own sex or the opposite sex is not a matter of choice (I never chose to find men attractive, it just happened). What I want to say is that I do not know a single person who chose to make their being attracted to their own sex public as a matter of pride. They did it for two reasons. Firstly because they did not want to be dishonest - to lead people to think they were straight when actually they were gay. Secondly, they did it because they saw people being bullied and attacked because they were gay. They wanted to stand up for others, to say: 'Hey, don't bully that young boy for you have no respect because you think he is gay. Look at me, you respect me, and actually I am gay too.'
for most of them, this was not an easy thing to do, but because they did it, gradually our western society came to see that many fine, good, people were gay, not because they chose to be, but because they just were.

Posted by: Rosemary Hannah on Friday, 22 March 2013 at 12:14pm GMT

Good for Peter Tatchell.

Posted by: Counterlight on Saturday, 23 March 2013 at 4:09pm GMT

I wonder what the TA reaction to this Gay author's position might be?

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 at 4:59pm GMT
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