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It’s (still) a sin: Why the Anglican church reaffirmed a 1998 anti-gay resolution

It’s (still) a sin: Why the Anglican church reaffirmed a 1998 anti-gay resolution

Jamie Wareham
Jamie Wareham
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TL;DR: The Anglican Church meets once every ten years. In their latest ‘Lambeth’ gathering, the church leaders voted to reaffirm a nearly 25-year-old ruling that being gay is a sin, to the dismay of many LGBTIQA+ who have faith.

Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the global Anglican church, caused great upset this week when he said a 1998 declaration that gay sex is a sin was “not in doubt”.

He made the comments at a once-a-decade conference with 650 Anglican leaders in attendance.

He said that, for “a large majority” of conservative Anglicans, questioning biblical teaching was “unthinkable”. And to do so could cause issues for the church.But Welby also said he wouldn't discipline or exclude churches that do conduct or bless same-sex marriage. Equally, he warned the conference that in liberal democracies, not shifting this traditional teaching would also create problems for the church - The Guardian

The background

The resolution that's caused the upset is known as Lambeth 1.10. It states that:

The Holy Scriptures and Christian tradition teach that human sexuality is intended by God to find its rightful and full expression between a man and a woman in the covenant of marriage, established by God in creation, and affirmed by our Lord Jesus Christ. Holy Matrimony is, by intention and divine purpose, to be a life-long, monogamous and unconditional commitment between a woman and a man.

It was brought to the conference to be reaffirmed by South Sudanese Revd Justin Badi, along with others who said the Anglican Communion had “for too long been driven by the views of the West” - Church Times

The reaction

The reaffirmation has been welcomed by many across the Church, but here in the UK, it's faced a big backlash.

Over 90 bishops, including eight archbishops, have since signed a statement saying they believe “LGBT+ people are a precious part of God’s creation," adding that "LGBT+ people have historically been wounded by the church and particularly hurt by the events of the past few weeks. We wish to affirm the holiness of their love wherever it is found in committed relationships" - The Independent

Meanwhile, comedian Sandi Toksvig took to Twitter to talk about the credible death threats she'd had from evangelicals. She also criticised the Church for focusing on this matter, in the face of other pressing matters like war and poverty - SkyNews

"This is a serious matter. The lives of LGBTQ+ people are at stake here. I have had several credible death threats over the years, sometimes requiring the very kind assistance of the police hate crime squad. Each and every one of those threats have come from an evangelical Christian. Inevitably they have wanted to kill me on God's behalf" - Sandi Toksvig

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Why does this matter?

Alongside many LGBTQIA+ people who have faith and are members of the Anglican church being directly upset and disappointed by the decision, there is a wider issue at play.

Jayne Ozanne, who leads the Ban Conversion Therapy Campaign, explained that Lambeth 1.10 encourages so-called 'conversion therapy’ and "negates the God-given love between two individuals" - The Guardian

"Yet again priority has been given to saving a manmade institution over protecting LGBTQ+ people’s lives. It is a stick with which many of us have been beaten and will continue to suffer under around the world." - Jayne Ozanne

Jamie Wareham, he/him, gay queer disabled - A note from me:

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