Image via YouTube
I LIKE Peter Tatchell … a lot! He and I have met up on a number of occasions at various LGBT+ rights rallies in London over half-a-century, and I was dead chuffed when he came to congratulate me on winning a lifetime achievement award in 2017 at a ceremony organised by the National Secular Society.
Image via the National Secular Society
But yesterday I found myself shouting “no Peter, NO!” when he told LBC radio that “discrimination is not a Christian value.” This was not the first time I’d heard him suggest that Christian leaders were betraying the very basis their religion—”love”—by treating LGBT+ folk as less than human.
Sure, the Christians babble on ad nauseum about love, but ever since it was set like a rabid dog on humanity it has done nothing but demonstrate hatred—hatred of anything it regards as the “other”.
Even the invasion of Ukraine has a significant religious aspect, one that I wrote about on OnlySky under the heading “Ukraine invasion part of a crusade for ‘Christian internationalism’.”
Image via YouTube
Tatchell repeated his view that discrimination was ”unChristian” when he was being interviewed by LBC radio about an apology issued to LGBT+ communities by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, above—an apology that he correctly described as “worthless.”
He told Gay Times:
The apology and repentance is worthless, given that the church continues to discriminate by denying LGBTs the right to marry the person they love.
That’s discrimination and discrimination is not a Christian value. It is putting ancient dogma before the emotional and spiritual welfare of Anglican same-sex couples.
The Church of England has made it clear that LGBT+ people are not entitled to an equal place within the Anglican communion. Their stance is reminiscent of the churches in the southern states of the US that refused to marry inter-racial couples during the segregation era.
In his LBC interview he referred to apartheid South Africa, saying that churches during that era refused to conduct inter-racial marriages. This is not quite correct. Even if a church wanted to conduct such ceremonies, they were prohibited by law—the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act—from doing so.
That Act, according to the architects of apartheid and the Dutch Reformed Church—aka the “Much Deformed Church”—was a necessary extension of the Bible’s prohibition of inter-racial marriage. Furthermore, the related Immorality Act prohibited sex between people of different races.
Ironically, one of the first people convicted under this act was a Dutch reformed minister who was caught in his garage having sex with a domestic worker. He was given a suspended sentence.
So what did Welby say? First there was that apology:
We want to apologise for the ways in which the Church of England has treated LGBTQI+ people—both those who worship in our churches and those who do not.
For the times we have rejected or excluded you, and those you love, we are deeply sorry. The occasions on which you have received a hostile and homophobic response in our churches are shameful and for this we repent.
He then added that the Church of England wants to offer blessings to gay couples but would not allow priests to marry them.
Paul Flynn, writing for Yahoo! summed up Welby’s words thus:
Another week, another disastrous pronouncement from the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on the Church of England and same sex marriage; a shambolic half-in, half-out botch job which even Welby conceded would satisfy nobody and anger many, on both sides.
Blessings will be doled out for same-sex couples, apologies shared for historically appalling behaviour, sowing deep divisions among the congregation, but same-sex marriage is still no way, no gay.
It never fails to amaze me that any self-respecting gay person would want to be married in a church, given Christianity deep-rooted homophobia. Seeing them react like little whipped pups whenever people such as Welby makes its abundantly clear that antipathy towards them will never go away is, frankly, sickening.
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