The Rt Rev Graham Dow, the Bishop of Carlisle, has shocked the liberal wing of the Church of England by suggesting that the floods that have caused chaos and death across the UK were caused by God after he was provoked by the introduction of gay equality.

“This is a strong and definite judgment because the world has been arrogant in going its own way,” he said.

“We are reaping the consequences of our moral degradation, as well as the environmental damage that we have caused.”

He and the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, have argued that those affected are innocent victims but that the floods send a message to the British people on a collective basis.

The Bishop of Liverpool said:

“People no longer see natural disasters as an act of God.

“However, we are now reaping what we have sown. If we live in a profligate way then there are going to be consequences.

“God is exposing us to the truth of what we have done.”

While such views at a time when Britain is under threat from both terrorism and the weather will be considered unwelcome, they will do much to further align the Anglican Church with the Vatican.

Gay Humanists were unimpressed.

The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association’s chairman Jim Herrick said:

“The Bishop’s comments reveal a primitive, superstitious mind that belongs in the Bronze Age.

“If he thinks these floods are the result of pro-gay laws rather than global warming, then how come far more catastrophic floods afflict homophobic nations such as Bangladesh?

“People like Graham Dow bring religion into even more disrepute with such fatuous comments.

“No wonder people are abandoning the Church of England in such huge numbers when it is led by silly people like him.”