Thinking Anglicans

"Justin Welby gets real on homophobia"

Updated thursday, twice

The Archbishop of Canterbury opened the new headquarters of the Evangelical Alliance today, and made some interesting remarks while he was there as these reports show.

Andrew Brown in The Guardian Justin Welby gets real on homophobia

…First, he admitted that the church was “deeply and profoundly divided” over the issue [gay marriage]. This is not at all what he said in the House of Lords at the time, when he claimed that all the major denominations opposed the bill. Yet there is very clear polling evidence from the Westminster Faith debates, to show that Christians, even evangelical Christians, are very conflicted about this, and the opinions of the lay members of the church much more resemble the opinions of unbelievers than they do their own leadership.

Second, he used the term “homophobia” in an honest way. There are still some evangelicals who claim it is a made-up term that refers to nothing in particular. Not so Welby. Gay marriage was, he said, an attempt to deal with issues of homophobia. “The church has not been good at dealing with it. We have implicitly and even explicitly supported [homophobia] and that demands repentance.”…

John Bingham in The Telegraph Archbishop urges Christians to ‘repent’ over ‘wicked’ attitude to homosexuality

The Most Rev Justin Welby told an audience of traditional born-again Christians that they must “repent” over the way gay and lesbian people have been treated in the past and said most young people viewed Christians as no better than racists on the issue.

Archbishop Welby, who as a young priest once opposed allowing gay couples to adopt children, said the church now had to face up to what amounted to one of the most rapid changes in public attitudes ever.

While insisting that he did not regret voting against same-sex marriage in the House of Lords, he admitted that his own mind was not yet “clear” on the wider issues which he was continuing to think about….

The Guardian also has this report from the Press Association: Young people think opposition to gay marriage is wicked, says archbishop.

The archbishop of Canterbury has said his stance against gay marriage could be seen as “wicked”. Justin Welby said he stood by his decision to vote against same-sex marriage legislation, but said opposing the move could be seen by some as akin to “racism and other forms of gross and atrocious injustice”…

The Evangelical Alliance itself has reported the event, but does not appear to have heard what the Archbishop said about homophobia: Welby calls on Church to model racial unity.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called on the UK Church to re-commit to unity across ethnic divides, 50 years after Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I have a dream’ speech…

Update

Paul Bignall in The Independent Archbishop of Canterbury: My gay marriage view can be seen as ‘akin to racism’

The Evangelical Alliance has now published this, Official opening with the Archbishop of Canterbury, with links to a video of the Archbishop’s address, and to audio from the official opening (Q&A session starts at 36:55).

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Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Is the penny beginning to drop? Congratulations to the ABC for entering the lions den of the new EA headquarters and saying it as it is. And how revealing that the EA report makes no mention of this at all.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Let ‘Festina lente’ thy watchword be.

And meanwhile, some of us in our sixties upwards have been waiting sixty plus years.

How’s that for social justice or ethics ?

Geoff
Guest

“Archbishop Welby, who as a young priest … “

And when would that have been?

Laurence
Guest
Laurence

Fortunately the EA have been outed by the quality press. They may not bury their heads in the sand forever.

No wonder Evangelical churches around the UK are in decline.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Praise the Lord!!!

“We have implicitly and even explicitly supported [homophobia] and that demands repentance.”

So right now I’m stranded across the Potomac River from today’s March on Washington – I couldn’t get there but I’ve been listening to the speeches, most of them including sexual orientation in the liberation movement inspired by MLK.

What awesome news from ++Justin! Obviously, I’m not going to agree with him about equal marriage. But what a step, a truly great step. A healing step. I am in tears.

Hallelujah!

Tim Moore
Guest
Tim Moore

Previously I have said Archbishop Justin has been unwilling to seriously deal with the issues around sexuality in the church. These latest remarks suggest he is doing so, at his own pace. Yet they neither compensate for, nor repair the damage caused by he and the bishops failing to read the pulse of how ordinary people’s attitudes – Christians included – have changed.

JCF
Guest
JCF

I simply CANNOT make sense of [para.] “we need to repent of our youthfully-DESPISED homophobia” set alongside “I don’t regret my [youthfully (et al) -DESPISED] vote against marriage equality”.

It’s just incoherent, +++Justin. You have to choose one or the other.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Incoherent? Why would it be incoherent to condemn homophobia and vote against ‘marriage’ between people of the same gender? Wasn’t this the same view held by his predecessor, and Christians of wide scope worldwide? People can condemn +Welby and +RDW for holding this position, but incoherent it isn’t.

Salopian
Guest
Salopian

If the Evangelical Alliance cannot be honest enough to accurately report the content of Archbishop Justin’s speech, how can they be trusted with the Word of the Lord ?

The EA’s refusal to be truthful in their report of events speaks volumes about them and I hope ++ Justin is made aware of their selective editing of what he has said , not least because he will then realize the true extent of homophobia and the problems he faces .

The EA have indeed been outed by the quality press (and TA!)

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“Incoherent? Why would it be incoherent to condemn homophobia and vote against ‘marriage’ between people of the same gender? Wasn’t this the same view held by his predecessor, and Christians of wide scope worldwide?” – cseitz – Christopher, are you being serious? I thought the whole problem for ACI, ACNA and GAFCON was the fact that the Church should support homophobia! That the Archbishop of Canterbury has roundly condemned homophobia (while admitting his personal doubts about Same-Sex Marriage) should not be too surprising for the rest of us. But for a member of ACI to even implicitly suggest that perhaps… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“Incoherent?” Well, yes. Once you come to the conclusion that all people really are created in the image of God, then it becomes illogical, at best, to discriminate, be it the state or the church. We are all part of God’s diverse creation. However, I can’t stress enough that it is a huge shift from coddling human rights abusers and feeding homophobia to calling for repentance. MLK said that you can’t legislate that a man love me, but you can legislate to stop him from lynching me… something like that. Getting to “first, do no harm” is a dramatic and… Read more »

The Rev'd Mervyn Noote
Guest

That’s a dreadfully Comical Ali moment from Evangelical Alliance. Ignoring a speech, made at the opening of your own headquarters, covered by every national media outlet, because it happens to present an inconveniently truthful picture of the world is just sad.

The leader of one of the last great bastions of counter-revolutionary sentiment is capitulating before the world’s media. Meanwhile, some are still pretending the absence of tanks in the streets is because the revolution hasn’t happened, rather than because it is already over.

Dennis (formerly in Chicago)
Guest
Dennis (formerly in Chicago)

Yes, Dr. Seitz, it -is- incoherent. If we are real people and our relationships are equal (which they are, that is not up for debate. period/full stop.) then standing in the way of marriage equality directly contradicts any condemnation of homophobia. It is the same as if one of the old segregationist governors of the deep south had stood in the doorway preventing desegregation of universities while at the same time saying that they condemned overt racism. Oh, wait, they did just that. Outside of the rabid segregationists, the “moderate” segregationists spoke out against racism and called for time for… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

It’s not incoherent, it’s a step along the journey. Even gay people didn’t think, decade ago when we first campaigned for civil rights, that we would ever want to marry or be able to. Awareness is a process, you don’t jump from Apartheid in one single big step to a black President. I am delighted that the Archbishop is serious about tackling homophobia, even if he might not yet know where that thought will eventually and logically lead him to. We should not swat people who are on a journey of positive development but encourage them. But, czeitz, we should… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Thanks for the helpful responses. +Welby’s view that the Communion is on the edge of a precipice is confirmed.

Susannah
Guest
Susannah

I agree that there is some frank recognition of just how disgusting many young people find the Church’s official opposition to homosexual relationships. However, words are one thing, actions are another. I feel a little wearied by top-down comments which express “tolerance” of gay and lesbian relationships. What I seek is *celebration* of gay and lesbian relationships. Then we’ll know there’s been a true change of heart and new conviction. When the Anglican Church allows individual parishes to decide how they believe, in conscience, they should be gay-friendly… When churches are free to *celebrate* gay relationships with public blessings, because… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Actually, Dennis, a closer analogy would be to those who denied being racist yet supported the miscegenation laws that prevented blacks and whites from marrying each other.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

That’s right, Pat, we support miscegenation laws and are homophobic bigots — that’s what concluding the BCP understanding of Christian marriage, as faithful Christian belief and practice, now amounts to. When homophobia is extended to upholding the standard Christian understanding of marriage then Rowan Williams, Justin Welby, and the vast majority of Christians living and dead are in reality supporters of miscegenation laws.

This is Thinking Anglicanism.

Who could possibly think this new version of required teaching and belief will not eliminate all opposition and demand division?

Christian
Guest
Christian

Cseitz refers to the BCP’s understanding of Christian marriage. Does that means he thinks that those who enter it do so because they are “brute beasts that have no understanding”?” Or is he rather in favour of the 1928 version that allows one to use another Preface? The same form of service allows for marriage without the possibility of procreation, which would imply that sexual relations are a means of relationship building. A possibility that is open to couples of the same gender. The opening up of marriage, once that step has been taken, is no more a redefinition of… Read more »

badman
Guest
badman

cseitz, you rely on the BCP marriage service – but the Book of Common Prayer understanding of ordination was that it was for men only, and the ordination of women is now accepted widely in Anglicanism, so there is nothing unthinking about allowing for progress in our discernment since 1662. Similarly, you rely on what you call “the standard Christian understanding of marriage”, but our standard Christian understanding of race has changed so why not of marriage in the light of our changing understanding of normal human sexuality? Lambeth Conference resolution 24 of 1930 referred to “the Christian obligation on… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“What I seek is *celebration* of gay and lesbian relationships. Then we’ll know there’s been a true change of heart and new conviction.” I agree very much. But I do think this is a vital step. It takes some of the heat out of the equation, and that’s a much better place for meaningful dialogue. To me, as an American, it seems that ++Justin will not go on the attack towards TEC as did Rowan. That’s a mighty relief. It also appears that ++Justin is open to dialogue, which is incredibly positive. This is a moment for English LGBT Anglicans… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

Those scare-quotes you use, cseitz, around the word *marriage*, in regards to same-sex couples’ legal vows? As ‘marriage’? THAT is homophobia. As such, it’s completely coherent that *you* oppose marriage equality.

Just trying to be even more helpful.

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

I suppose the Alliance are concerned as well about their funding from Churches.

However as a UK teacher I have noted that pupils are far more assertive about homophobia, but there are a few(a smaller and decreasing minority)who still use the word gay as a negative term.

Schools are still slow to pick up on this, unlike a pupil using racist language.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

RIW, as a civil partnered mother of 2 teenagers I have to say that “gay” is a word with two meanings. One of them means homosexual and my girls and their friends have absolutely no problems with gay people. The other means “unpleasant, unlikeable” etc. and is used in that context by the same people. Both girls used it quite freely around us, not even once thinking that anyone could link it to homophobia. The negative meaning of the word was massively fashionable about a year or two ago but is now fast disappearing, as most youth slang does over… Read more »

John
Guest
John

It’s not incoherent to hold those two positions. It’s fairly clear, isn’t it? that Welby has been badly shaken by the public and parliamentary debate over same-sex marriage and is trying to secure two things: (1) to get those Evangelicals and others who can’t shut up about homosexuality to shut up, because he realises how badly it’s playing; (2) to move the C of E to a position where in practice it accepts same-sex marriage, whatever the ‘private’ views of many (not all) of its leaders. Both things are sensible, and will, I imagine, command majority support right across the… Read more »

Danny Webster
Guest
Danny Webster

Hi,
The comments reported in the press were made in response to a question following ++Justin’s speech, the audio of which is on the Evangelical Alliance’s website. The main report on the EA site covers what he said in his speech rather than the topic the press chose to take the opportunity to quiz him on. This isn’t about ignoring what he said.
Danny Webster
http://www.eauk.org/church/stories/official-opening-with-the-archbishop-of-canterbury.cfm

Tom
Guest
Tom

Some very thoughtful and impressive comments here. The thing that strikes me, though, is that Welby made a fatal and fateful mistake when he voted against the Second Reading of the government’s bill (for that is what it was – a vote AGAINST hearing the arguments) and Hansard does not allow that to be forgotten – ever. Of course he’s got to try to defend it now but I bet he regrets it and didn’t do what Bp Stevens the convenor did and abstain. Of course he had A. Minichiello Williams beating him up about low bishop attendance……….

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

I completely agree with Tom. That he voted to cut short the democratic process and to stop all the other Lords from debating the issue further and voting on it goes way way beyond “voting against marriage equality”.

I dare say it is one of the reasons some of us now find it very difficult to trust his words.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Dr. Seitz:

I am inclined to reply, “You said it, not I”. if you do not see that the same people now making your arguments against same-sex marriage were making those very same arguments against inter-racial marriage 50 years ago, then you are blind.

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

Danny: thanks for your helpful clarification. However, the Press having highlighted the matter, and the Archbishop having said what he said about it, it would be helpful for all if you could now say how the Evangelical Alliance responds, wouldn’t it?

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

Welby’s position appears to be that old joke of American politics: “these are my principles fundamental to my being, but if you don’t like them, I’ve got others”. He was firmly opposed to same sex marriage, in that he not merely voted against it, but attempted to remove the ability of others to vote for it by shortening the debate. His church published endless screeds (labelled “briefings” and “position papers”) which dismissed as fundamentally wrong and wrong-headed the mere idea that same-sex marriage could be countenanced, never mind enacted. Now it’s been passed, with his position simply ignored (all those… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

That’s right. All those fusty old BCP rites that stipulated in the rubrics and in the biblical texts read and in the vows and in the charge and in the prayers and in the blessing: no miscegenation!

Geoff
Guest

Christian points out the trouble with cseitz leaning too closely on the words of the marriage service. In the current Canadian text, we have the following: Marriage is for the spouses’ “their mutual comfort and help, that they may know each other with delight and tenderness in acts of love [and that they may beblessed in the procreation, care, and upbringing of children].” Allowing for some variations of circumstance around procreation – and the liturgy does allow, hence the parentheses – none of these purposes is at odds with a marriage between two people of the same gender. So no,… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Interested Observer, what do you want from him? Damned if he changes, damned if he doesn’t? From the beginning he has criticised homophobia in the church. He’s the first one to tackle the evangelicals head on. But he’s in this half way place where people genuinely believe that they can object to the extremes of anti gay sentiment while maintaining an equal but different outlook. And yes, he made a terrible mistake when he voted for the fatal amendment. It cannot be done. He will discover this. I’m always surprised that when previously staunchly anti gay people change their mind,… Read more »

Laurence
Guest
Laurence

In England, ‘BCP’ means ‘1662’, and that was superseded long since for the pastoral offices – and much else !

But even 1662 could not be said to rule out the marriage of man on man, or woman on woman.

We have had a number of rites since then and all emphasize relationality over gonadal variety.

Laurence
Guest
Laurence

So, Welby’s speech said not a word on gay rights and homophobia, only the Q & As following it. This is not what we were told, not what was reported on TA ! So we have been commenting about what did not happen. This is much less encouraging than it seemed. I don’t think there will be much for us to hear of any substance, until the Church of England expresses some kind of regret for letting us lgbti down so badly down the decades, and right up to the Vote in the House of Lords, when the bishops put… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

PS–it is good to see the SCOT has deep-sixed the “Dennis Canon” artifice.

I thought this was a death blow:

See TEX. PROP. CODE § 112.051 (“A settlor may revoke the trust unless it is irrevocable by the
express terms of the instrument creating it or of an instrument modifying it.”).

Property in TX belongs to the people whose names are on the title. Think of that.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Laurence
That’s not quite correct. In the main speech he does mention homophobia, albeit briefly.
The Q and A session that followed was planned as part of the event and took place in full view of the audience, not off in a corner with only journalists. So the answers he gave were all heard by everyone, and now form part of the public record. And can be listened to in full via the EA website link given above.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“Welby’s speech said not a word on gay rights and homophobia, only the Q & As following it.”

Does it matter, as long as he said it?

JCF
Guest
JCF

“But even 1662 could not be said to rule out the marriage of man on man, or woman on woman.”

Laurence, while I would MUCH prefer it stated “man with man, or woman with woman”, I think your principle point (contra cseitz) stands. The fact that the BCP *states* the terms of marriage in male/female terms, does not means it LIMITS marriage to male/female couples.

And Dr Seitz: while, Lord knows, I’m as guilty of the sarcastic-dominant post as any here at TA, could you please dial it back a little? Thanks!

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

Erika, I would be happy to see Welby change his mind, if there was any evidence that he had changed his mind. He’s reaffirmed his belief that voting against SSM was the right thing, ie that although he accepts it’s going to happen, he still things SSM is wrong. He’s also recently reaffirmed his position that sex should only take place in marriage, marriage he thinks should be denied to gays. How is he not homophobic if his position is that all homosexuals should be celibate? And if that isn’t his position, how does he square his positions with regard… Read more »

Commentator
Guest
Commentator

If the Archbishop of Canterbury wants to show that his position on the issues surrounding homosexuality has changed in ANY way, he has a simple means of showing it. He could give permission for those who are homosexual and in episcopal orders to be open & honest about this. The personal damage to the present Archbishop would be minimal, as HE did not ordain them. There could be great personal relief for those thus allowed to re-establish their close relationship with the truth and the Provinces of Canterbury & York could then put forward names to the CNC with a… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

And there we have it ‘Interested Observer’. It is all about sex, and particularly the shiboleth of no sex outside marriage. The ABC has got himself into the catch 22 position. No sex outside marriage, gays can’t marry, gays can’t have sex because they can’t marry. The poor man is terribly conflicted yet doesn’t yet seem to recognise those conflcts. One has to give him the benefit of the doubt and accept that he is trying to understand the world as it is. He also seems to be beginning to see the sheer nastiness of much of the church’s respose… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“He also seems to be beginning to see the sheer nastiness of much of the church’s respose to gltb people “ But he sees that as a PR problem, not a problem of decency and principle. So far as I can tell, Welby’s personal position is that homosexuality is wrong, homosexuals should repent and stop doing those things that they do, and ideally should stop being homosexual. Adoption, marriage and other institutions of the state should be closed to them, and although they shouldn’t be actively punished for their sin, it should be made clear to them that they are… Read more »

FD Blanchard
Guest
FD Blanchard

I agree with Interested Observer here. There’s no change in substance, only a change in tone, and that change is more about damage control than about any change of mind or heart.

I think the same thing can be said about Pope Francis’ recent statements.

FD Blanchard
Guest
FD Blanchard

I’d like to think that Erika is right, that we are being too hard on the Archbishop, but as Gertrude Stein once said about Los Angeles, “There’s no there there.”

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

I hear you, Interested Observer. What you say sounds plausible. I sincerely hope you’re wrong.

Laurence
Guest
Laurence

No ‘sacramental (or any other kind of) assurance’ in a lying, deceitful Church .

Paul
Guest
Paul

Except that Stein said that about Oakland, CA, not LA.

FD Blanchard
Guest
FD Blanchard

“Except that Stein said that about Oakland, CA, not LA.”

There’s still no there there.