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UK Christians Should 'repent' Over Past Treatment Of Gays, Says Archbishop

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Christians should 'repent' over past treatment of gays, says Archbishop: Welby says historic support of homophobia was 'utterly and totally wrong'

By Louise Eccles - The Daily Mail,U.K.

PUBLISHED: 23:45 GMT, 28 August 2013 | UPDATED: 23:48 GMT, 28 August 2013


Christians should be ‘repentant’ about the Church’s past treatment of gay and lesbian people, the Archbishop of Canterbury said last night.

The Most Rev. Justin Welby told a group of traditional evangelical Christians that the Church’s historic support of homophobia was ‘utterly and totally wrong’.

He also acknowledged that many young people considered the Church’s views on same-sex marriage as ‘wicked’ and ‘plain wrong’.

The Archbishop insisted he did not regret voting against gay marriage legislation, but acknowledged that such views were seen by many as akin ‘to racism and other forms of gross and atrocious injustice’.

The Marriage Act received royal assent in July and gay couples in England and Wales will be able to wed from next year.

Yesterday, the Archbishop, speaking in London, said he stood by his decision to vote against gay marriage, which he believed was ‘rewriting the nature of marriage’.

But he said the Church must respond to changing cultural attitudes. ‘If the same thing happened again I would vote the same way as I did then, but I am continuing to think and listen very carefully as to how in our society today we respond to what is the most rapid cultural change in this area than there has been for a very long time. We have seen changes in the idea about sexuality, sexual behaviour.

‘We have to face the fact that the vast majority of people under 35 not only think that what we’re saying is incomprehensible but also think that we’re plain wrong and wicked and equate it to racism and other forms of gross and atrocious injustice. We have to be real about that.’

The former oil executive said the Government’s Bill in favour of gay marriage was ‘clearly, quite rightly, trying to deal with issues of homophobia in our society’.

He added: ‘The Church has not been good at dealing with homophobia. It has at times, as god’s people, either implicitly or explicitly supported it and we have to be really, really repentant about that because it is utterly and totally wrong.

‘That doesn’t mean that redefining marriage is the right way forward.That discussion is continuing and the Church is deeply and profoundly divided over the way forward on it.’

Benjamin Cohen, of campaign group Out4Marriage, said last night: ‘It is welcome that the Archbishop of Canterbury has recognised that the majority of people under the age of 35 do not consider same-sex relationships as anything other than normal.

‘They do see that attacking gay people for the gender of the person that they love is as evil and incomprehensible as attacking someone for being born black or disabled. People don’t chose to be gay just like they don’t chose their race.

‘I would not argue that the Archbishop’s stance was “wicked”.

‘All the way through the debate on same-sex marriage, those of us in favour of the change always maintained that churches, synagogues and mosques should be free not to opt in to same-sex marriage. This is their right.

‘Just as it is the right of the younger generations to question the relevance of these institutions if they reject a change in the law that most young people think is nothing more than equality.’

Earlier this month, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, admitted he questioned whether he had let homosexual people down during his time in post.

He said: ‘I know that is what a great many of my gay and lesbian friends would say that I did.

'The best thing I can say is that that is a question which I ask myself really rather a lot, and I don’t quite know the answer.’

source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...pent-past-treatment-gays-says-Archbishop.html