Friday, 9 November 2012

I Think We Should Give Justin Welby A Chance On LGBT Rights

I know, I am always the first to judge. When it comes to people like Nigel Evans or Chris Bryant, I often find it hard to forgive as well. If you found someone describing me as an unhinged radical marriage equality ranter, I think there would be plenty of evidence to back that up. Given that it affects me personally, it is hardly surprising I can get a little overly emotional on this issue.

However, I feel like so much progress has been on this issue, I can afford to try and be better. More constructive and more ready to listen. Don't get me wrong, I still think "compromise" is a dirty word but I've always been willing to defend religious rights on this issue so I'm not really compromising here.

Let us give Justin Welby, who will from March 2013 take over as the Archbishop of Canterbury, a chance. I'm not saying we shouldn't shoot his arguments down in flames when he gets around to making them, but let us hear him out first. What he has said about LGBT rights today seems to hold out some hope of a reasonable discussion,

"It is absolutely right for the state to define the rights and status of people cohabiting in different forms of relationships, including civil partnerships."   
"We must have no truck with any form of homophobia in any part of the Church. The Church of England is part of the worldwide Church, and has responsibilities that come from those links. What the Church does here deeply affects the already greatly suffering churches in places... like Nigeria."   
"I am always averse to the language of exclusion, when what we are called to is to love in the same way as Jesus Christ loves us. Above all in the Church we need to create safe spaces for these issues to be discussed in honesty and in love." 
Whilst some have already held this up as proof he is a bigot who doesn't support marriage equality, I think this is suitably vague enough to allow some flexibility on the issue of civil marriage too. And it is very important, far more important than marriage equality, that the Archbishop starts to tackle the dangerous homophobia of Anglican churches abroad, especially in Africa (and most especially Uganda where Anglican bishops have been supporting the "Kill the gays" bill). There is hope here, and I'm prepared to let him have the benefit of the doubt for now.

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penwing said...

Reading that, sounds like he would likely stay quiet on civil marriage (or at last relatively quiet/sane) but doubt he'll go as far as dropping opposition to (any) religious marriage...

Alex (idlely speculating)
x x

Jae Kay said...

Very much doubt he'll drop opposition to religious marriage in any circumstances, but every little helps.

Paul Brownsey said...

"I think this is suitably vague enough to allow some flexibility on the issue of civil marriage too."

Hmmm. I think it's sufficiently vague to cloak a determination to oppose even civil marriage but to be ever so nice about it and to offer oodles of 'compassion'.

When he speaks of the suffering of churches in places like Nigeria, isn't he talking of the persecution of Christians at the hands of Muslims and others? What may be in his mind is that if the CofE stays firm against even civil gay marriage over here, that might help Nigerian Christians to avoid persecution by Muslims.

Jae Kay said...

Hmm... reading it from that point of view does bode ill actually. Good point.