In a statement opposing same-sex unions, the House of Bishops and Standing Committee of the Church in the Province of the West Indies tried to justify persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people, reports Savitri Hensman. Meanwhile human rights activists in the Caribbean and beyond continue to work for decriminalisation and protection from violence, causes that Anglicans worldwide should support.
I blogged earlier this week about statements from the socially conservative lobby group Christian Concern ahead of the local elections. They encouraged people to vote for candidates opposed to same-sex marriage.
The “Christian Right” in Britain – inasmuch as it exists – is not like the Christian Right in the US. Over there, conservatism on issues such as marriage and abortion seems to go hand in hand with right-wing views on economics and foreign policy. Over here, we have conservative Christian lobby groups with a far more narrow focus. Organisations such as the Christian Institute, Christian Concern/Christian Legal Centre and so-called Anglican Mainstream focus largely on attacking LGBT rights. They also speak out against abortion, Islam and the supposed marginalisation of Christians in Britain.
Cardinal Peter Turkson may have badly damaged his prospects of becoming pope by suggesting that child sexual abuse is not a major problem in churches in Africa because homosexuality is looked on negatively. The remark is not only offensive but also reveals a dangerous ignorance that may undermine attempts to protect children.
Evangelical Alliance general director Steve Clifford has criticised the influential evangelical leader Steve Chalke for changing his stance on homosexuality. UK-based Baptist minister Chalke now believes that the Bible does not rule out faithful, committed same-sex partnerships. While Clifford raises important issues, he is ultimately unconvincing.
The European Court of Human Rights has rightly declared that Christians who object to same-sex relationships do not have the right to use their jobs to practise discrimination. A critic of the ruling has claimed that they should have the same rights as conscientious objectors in wartime. This attempted parallel is inaccurate and misguided.