Challenges to ABC’s Denunciation of Homophobia

Deborah Orr has written at Cif that The Church of England is homophobic, despite Justin Welby’s trendy-vicar act

…Presumably, he thinks “homophobia” is being personally rude and aggressive to gay people because they are gay, but that asking them to kindly observe the “heterosexuals only” sign is fine, as long as one is polite about it. He is wrong. He and his church discriminate against people because of their sexuality, so the Anglican church is homophobic. Since it’s an established part of the state, the state is homophobic. In part. It’s all a bit of a curate’s egg.

The idea we’re all supposed to accept is that the Church of England is an innocuous purveyor of spiritual pomp and circumstance, unifying state, crown and church with tradition, ceremony, and most importantly, great outfits, accessories and interiors. Otherwise, all the prelates are off helping their communities as well as they can, marking life and death’s big occasions, organising fetes and occasionally mentioning to the government that poverty is miserable. Quite where fighting against the development of a secular morality that seeks to protect the rights of all responsible citizens fits into this is hard to say.

Of course, the Church of England would probably be happy to go with the UK flow, self-preservation having always been its primary concern, were it not for the fact that it wants to preserve its worldwide communion just as much as it wants to preserve its 26 undemocratic places in the House of Lords.

Can it really be right that we have to accept a homophobic established church trying to vote down progressive legislation just because that might upset its really homophobic members overseas? The rest of us have had to come to terms with the fact that the days of empire are over, and also that they might, just might, not have been all they were cracked up to be. Why the Anglican church believes it can and should defy that logic is a mystery that surely can’t endure much longer.


The BBC Sunday programme carried a discussion about the report, featuring The Revd Jan Ainsworth and Bishop Alan Wilson. The item starts at 35 minutes, 45 seconds into the programme. This is worth a listen.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento, T.A. on Saturday, 17 May 2014 at 10:00am BST


Thanks to Simon Sarmiento of ‘thinking Anglicans for drawing our attention to the article by Deborah Orr in the Observer’s ‘Comment is Free’ section at the weekend.

We are also indebted to  Thinking Anglicans for this radio link to the BBC interview regarding the Archbishop of Canterbury’s published guidance on tackling rampant homophobia in Church of England schools. The question of how the church squares this message with its opposition to same-sex marriage, is discussed by the Rev Jan Ainsworth and Bishop Alan Wilson. This particular part of an interesting programme of interviews on other subjects important to the religious sphere is found near the end of the broadcast – at the 36 minute time-mark.

(All of the subjects discussed in the programme are worth listening to).

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand 

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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