Williams putting earthly position ahead of moral principle on gay issue, campaigner says

By staff writers
September 20, 2007

The UK human rights campaigner and propsective Green Party parliamentary candidate Peter Tatchell has reacted strongly to news that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will seek to persuade US Anglican bishops to backtrack on gay inclusion and equality.

He has accused the Archbishop of putting his own earthly authority ahead of moral principle.

Under pressure from groups opposed to the recognition of lesbian and gay people within the Anglican Communion, Dr Williams is to ask the Americans to ban openly gay bishops and halt the blessing and celebration of same-sex unions, the Guardian newspaper has reported.

The Archbishop is meeting the US bishops for six hours, today and on Friday 21 September 2007, at New Orleans' marble and glass multi-storey Intercontinental Hotel. The encounter takes place 10 days ahead of an ultimatum imposed by primates of the 77 million strong worldwide Anglican Communion, requiring the Americans to move away from Gospel-based inclusiveness or face formal sanctions and a second-class status.

Peter Tatchell, who is the Green Party's prospective parliamentary candidate for the constituency of Oxford East, said in response: "The Archbishop of Canterbury has betrayed his own principles and [has] betrayed the gay community by caving in to pressure from the extreme right-wing of his church."

He continued: "[Dr Williams] would not appease a racist or an anti-Semite cleric, so why is he appeasing homophobes within the Anglican Communion? He is allowing the church's agenda to be dictated by the voices of unreason and intolerance."

"By letting his concern for the unity of the Anglican Communion lead him to reward homophobic tantrums, Williams is putting his own earthly authority ahead of moral principle", declared the high-profile activist.

The Archbishop, whose previously stated personal view is that the traditions of church and Bible are compatible with lesbian and gay inclusion, is under intense pressure from both sides in an unseemly war within global Anglicanism.

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