Sir Ian McKellen and Simon Callow, two of the UK’s most prominent gay actors, have spoken out against Bishop Joseph Devine.
Devine, one of Scotland’s most prominent clergymen, expressed his disproval of Sir Ian’s recent honour from the Queen in a controversial speech to St. Aloysius College in Glasgow earlier this year.
Devine claimed that LGBT activists were part of ‘a giant conspiracy’ which ‘we [the Catholic Church] neglect at our peril.’
The Catholic News Agency reports that Devine viewed LGBT activists as ‘a very small group of people, but very active and organized – and extremely indulgent.’
According to TheTimesOnline, Sir Ian said in a speech at a dinner for Stonewall:
‘From the pulpit, homophobia is preached by some arrogant religious leaders who think their beliefs are superior to our inborn and, some would say, God-given nature.
‘The Bishop of Motherwell addressed his flock and told them how appalled he was that I had received an honour and that 100 years ago I would have been imprisoned like Oscar Wilde.
‘He feels that the Roman Catholic Church is beleaguered in some way. ‘
Meanwhile, Simon Callow told The Sunday Times:
‘The bishop is in my view a profoundly ignorant and stupid man in his views.
In response to Devine’s criticism of the gay community’s alignment with Holocaust victims, Callow said:
‘If he finds it offensive that gay people want to celebrate those gay people who died in the Holocaust — which was a large number of people — then he’s also profoundly unchristian.
‘The church is shocked by how quickly attitudes have changed.
‘All churches have thrived on prejudice.
‘It’s a means of keeping people under their control and I think they are really shocked at how quickly the world has moved on, especially as it isn’t the world they would like it to be, so they cite biblical incidents as being the word of God.’