Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Archbishop: Church must be "safe place" for gay and lesbian people

The Anglican Communion today issued this press release:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has said that the churches of the Anglican Communion must be safe places for gay and lesbian people. His comments come in a welcome to an interim report on the Anglican Communion’s Listening Process, a commitment to listen to the experience of homosexual people. Dr Williams warns that the challenge to create the safe space for their voices to be heard and for their dignity to be respected is based on a fundamental commitment of the Communion.

“The commitments of the Communion are not only to certain theological positions on the question of sexual ethics but also to a manifest and credible respect for the proper liberties of homosexual people, a commitment again set out in successive Lambeth Conference Resolutions over many decades. I share the concerns expressed about situations where the Church is seen to be underwriting social or legal attitudes which threaten these proper liberties. It is impossible to read this report without being aware that in many places – including Western countries with supposedly ‘liberal’ attitudes – hate crimes against homosexual people have increased in recent years and have taken horrifying and disturbing forms.

“No-one reading this report can be complacent about such a situation, and the Church is challenged to show that it is truly a safe place for people to be honest and where they may be confident that they will have their human dignity respected, whatever serious disagreements about ethics may remain. It is good to know that the pastoral care of homosexual people is affirmed clearly by so many provinces.”

In his statement, Dr Williams paid tribute to the work of Canon Phil Groves and the team at the Anglican Communion Office involved in coordinating the Listening Process. The interim report, comprising summaries of the Communion’s 38 Provinces’ progress on the issue, has been posted on the Anglican Communion website and can be found at
Read the full statement here.

We must observe that while the Archbishop singles out "Western countries with supposedly ‘liberal’ attitudes," the Archbishop of Nigeria has brought the full force of his office to bear on behalf of a law that would imprison gay people and those who advocate for their human rights for a five-year prison term. If the church is to become a "safe place," then perhaps we should begin by not seeking to put gay men, lesbians, and their supporters in prison. The Archbishop of Canterbury has not once criticized the Nigerian church for its active support of this legislation.


Anonymous Deacon Charlie Perrin said...

I have lost all respect for Mr. Williams. I've read a post comparing him to Neville Chamberlain. It was written that he should act more like Churchill and less like Chamberlain. I don't think he's even in Chamberlain's league. At least when Chamberlain returned from his talks with Hitler, England was still independent from Germany.

3/29/2007 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Maxima said...

This is great info to know.

11/10/2008 8:53 AM  

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