Archbishop of Canterbury condemns recent violence against lesbian and gay Christians

[Episcopal News Service] Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has described the recent violence and threats towards “Christians involved in the debate on human sexuality” as “disgraceful.”

Responding to a press release from Changing Attitude England announcing that gay leaders of the organization’s Nigeria branch were seriously assaulted, Williams said: “The Anglican Communion has repeatedly, through the Lambeth Conference and the statements from its Primates’ meetings, unequivocally condemned violence and the threat of violence against gay and lesbian people. I hope that this latest round of unchristian bullying will likewise be universally condemned.”

The Rev. Colin Coward, director of Changing Attitude England, who has also received death threats, said in an April 8 press statement: “The Anglican Communion has been in turmoil for 10 years since the 1998 Lambeth Conference passed a very negative resolution about homosexuality. The conflict in the church has intensified since then, with many bishops and other leaders making highly judgmental and often abusive comments and pronouncements about LGBT Anglicans.

“Such inflammatory statements lead some members of Anglican Communion churches to believe that threats and violence against those who are LGBT (or those who support a more open stance towards LGBT people) are not only justified but are authentic expressions of Christianity.”

Changing Attitude also published an open letter from 20 Anglican leaders to conservative church leaders expressing concern “about the use of incautious language” and urging them to “consider the effects of the language that they use.”

The letter, signed by 14 bishops and available here, said: “The discourse taking place in the Anglican Communion about the presence of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in our churches must be conducted in the context of Christian love and mutual respect. If it is not, then people will continue to perpetrate abuse and violence against LGBT people.”

 

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