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Analysis: Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury and his views on LGBT rights

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  1. It will be interesting to see if Dr Williams returns to his more understanding and empathetic approach to LGBT issues when he moves to academia and away from church leadership.

    1. Did he ever realise he had moved from academia into church leadership?

    2. It would be hard to think of anyone less like a leader.

    3. Mary Marriott 19 Mar 2012, 5:20pm

      Even if he does it wont do much for me as I’ve felt so disillusioned by his blowing hot and cold

  2. Good riddance to him and those terrible eyebrows!

    It could be the gap toothed wonder Sentamu who replaces him. Either way I can’t see the stance on gay marraige changing until a younger person, who is in touch with the modern world takes the helm.

    1. Don’t make assunptions that younger people will be more accepting. not only is it ageist but it’s also foolish

      1. Good point.

  3. Roberto Franciosa 16 Mar 2012, 4:07pm

    Against equal marriage but FOR the spread of Sharia.

    Good riddance to the old devil.

    Replace him with Rowan Atkinson. Anything would be any improvement.

  4. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has been asked by Pope Benedict XVI to speak to the 2012 Synod of Bishops, which will meet at the Vatican in October.
    Maybe he’ll dance across the Tiber?

    1. I daresay he wouldn’t, and in the unlikely event he did – they would not have him. They usually have ecumenical speakers at these Synods.

      1. Well, there’s always the Ordinariate. He wouldn’t be a bishop anymore because he is married, but I’m sure they’d let him keep the mitre.

  5. I think Rowan is a decent fellow, who was put in an impossible position between the liberals and the right-wing elements of the Church.

    1. Courage was needed in the job, a quality that to this day has eluded him. In my book courage is essential for decency. Without it one is merely meek, however ‘blessed’ that may be.

    2. I agree – and not the best person to be put in charge of such a potentially volatile mix.

    3. Mary Marriott 19 Mar 2012, 5:23pm

      He chose to speak for lgbt in the Body’s Grace to the lesbian and gay christian movment; and to the gay clergy Consultation etc.

      He chose to renage as soon as he set foot in Labeth Palais

  6. Chess players must be very busy …

  7. Dr. Sentamu is an enemy of gay rights and was one of four English bishops who refused to sign the Cambridge Accord that had these three points:

    1)) That no homosexual person should ever be deprived of liberty, personal property, or civil rights because of his or her sexual orientation.

    2) That all acts of violence, oppression, and degradation against homosexual persons are wrong and cannot be sanctioned by an appeal to the Christian faith.

    3)That every human being is created equal in the eyes of God and therefore deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
    Hard to believe any religious person could object to those tenets. But he did.

    His race will probably help him become the next Archbishop of Canterbury. (And PLEASE don’t make any racist comments!! Aside from being ugly and beside the point, our opponents will use any racist comments against us.)

    1. His bigotry is on par with a dictator. He is evil.

    2. His race will probably help him become the next Archbishop of Canterbury. (And PLEASE don’t make any racist comments!!

      that comment is like a mysogonist saying she only got the job cause she a woman

      21+ shows this site is full of scum

      1. I don’t think there’s any way you can get past Sentamu’s race as an issue, as he’ll be the first black ABoC (first non-Anglo-Norman in nearly 1000 years) if he is appointed. And the thumbs-ups may just be for alerting us to Sentamu’s evident lack of support for the concept of equality.

        1. You really don’t see it. He’s only there cause he’s black is the same as saying he’s only got the job cause he’s gay.

          Weird you guys are so ready to discriminate and then say he has no concept of equality

          the irony

          1. Some people do only get the job because they are black, women etc. its the pc culture of positive discrimination, so is it discrimination to assert that someone got their job because of discrimination? no just fact.

          2. Not only, I don’t think anyone’s saying that. But you can’t ignore that it will obviously play a part, even if a small one – I don’t think much is gained by pretending it won’t.

    3. I think he is too old, to be a credible replacement.

  8. Good riddance.

    Anyone who places church cohesion ahead of human and civil rights is an awful human being.

    1. Well said

    2. That may be, but maintaining church cohesion is part of the job description, isn’t it?

      1. That’s like the SS Camp guard saying “I was only obeying orders”. But worse, because he is the head man.

  9. Craig Denney 16 Mar 2012, 4:23pm

    The Archbishop of Canterbury has ‘resigned’ because he could not take the pressure.

    They are dropping like flies and now we should go in and finish them off!!!

    Sorry I’m an ex-soldier and what I really mean is we should not allow these bigots any breathing space, they are in disarray and are falling apart. Allowing them space to re-group would be a mistake.

    We have the opportunity here to silence these bigots for ever.

    1. Hear, hear!

    2. An opportunity to silence bigots.

      Like “We had to shut him up in order to secure free speech”.

      Or “to save the village we had to destroy it”.

      1. I took a less literal interpretation of the comment.

  10. Time to start the search for the next homophobic, woman-hating, anachronistic relic then. Given the diminishing influence of the church in the UK, what are the odds that someone will be chosen who appeals to the places where the church is rising. It’s going to be Sentamu, a more vile and loathsome extremist (rather than a doddering old duffer like Williams).

    1. No shortage of candidates!

  11. Better the devil you know that the devil you don’t. Replacing Williams with Sentamu would be a ghastly disaster.

    Williams will quite possibly soften again in his views once he’s left. It is said that he once attended a gay pride march back in the day. A photo of that would be dynamite and I bet someone has one somewhere.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 16 Mar 2012, 4:36pm

      It will be a disaster no matter whom they select. Williams is a coward! I only hope there is a real schism between the Episcopalians and that they break off communion with the Anglicans altogether which will force them to find funding for their missions elsewhere, the bulk of which currenly comes from the wealthier Episcopalian branch in America and Canada. The other disaster is that we have state religion in the first place, it should be disestablished forthwith. Maybe this campaign of hate from the religious nutters against same-sex civil marriage will launch a movement to do just that. Give them a dose of their own medicine for a change. Nothing would give me greater pleasure. They’d better be careful what they wish for.

  12. Robert in S. Kensington 16 Mar 2012, 4:31pm

    Rowan William I’m sure will not change his approach after stepping down. He will be replaced by a hard-liner in light of the marriage equality consultation. Clearly, he has no backbone or courage to confront the bigotry in his church. He is disengenuous to say that the church supports Civil Partnerships. It does NOT simply because it’s gay clergy in a CP are supposed to remain celibate. It’s nothing more than offencive and insulting as well as demeaning. Does he really think that gay clergy in such a union remain celibate? Of course they don’t.

    1. billywingartenson 20 Mar 2012, 8:48pm

      AT least the gay clergy have their natural sex fun with other gay clergy.

      its the unmarried / unmarriable clergy who rape children world wide.

      Add to the carnage- the catholic church condems masterbation – but ignores it when their priests masterbate children.

      We still live in the dark ages of human insanity, until religion is most seen as nothing but a sick joke to provide money, power and ego satisfaction to pedos.

      Burn them all at the stake – alesson we learned from the catholic church’s doing that to women. Same btw with some protestants.

      by a former catholic priest – main site –

  13. Craig Denney 16 Mar 2012, 4:43pm

    If they give the job to a hard-liner like Sentamu then they will be cutting their own throats. The church needs to get with it, fast! Giving the job to him will only serve to quicken the Churches terminal decline as being out of touch with the majority of people in this country.

    1. Let’s hope he does get the job. Better to have an insider bring the house down!

  14. soapbubblequeen 16 Mar 2012, 4:59pm

    So the tiara-wearing old fart resigned from an institution that promotes intolerance and hatred. Who cares?

  15. Robert in S. Kensington 16 Mar 2012, 5:31pm

    Even if Williams changes his approach after leavining, it still would not alter the fact that he chose bigotry as archbishop. I would have had more respest for him had he said…”The church does not accept same-sex marriage but it does respect the right of those same-sex couples who wish for civil marriage”. It could have changed the entire polemic altogether and probably softened the negative tone in the media. I’ve lost all respect for the man, sorry.

  16. It was impossible for Williams both to fight his supposedly liberal (actually just less irrational) corner as Archbishop and fulfill the main brief on the job description – keep the church together. The CoE is now dominated and bullied by emboldened doctrinaire evangelicals who are allowed to play their game scot-free – ‘you can only be in the the same church as us if you do what we say.’ The ‘liberals’ have little defence against this, since they by nature believe in tolerating diference for the sake of unity and are tempted to accept bullying to preserve it. If a bigot like Sentamu gets Canterbury the CoE’s trajectory towards being a closed cult will speed up with a vengeance and it will lose all remaining credibility as a ‘national church’. Personally I can’t wait. It will make disestablishment pretty much irresistible.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 16 Mar 2012, 7:39pm

      Disestablishment is something I’ve supported for decades. I wonder why there has been no movement on that? The CoE won’t select another “liberal”, not going to happen. Either way, it’s already on the path to irrelevance. Long may that continue.

  17. Bye bye Dumbeldore, you won’t be missed. He would probably be a decent chap if he could shake off the shackles of his religion.
    Given the rise of the vociferous evangelicals, I’m certain Sentamu will be the next AoC to drive the CofE further rightward and thus complete the transition of the CoE into a fascist organisation.

  18. To be fair to him, he’s steered the church through patches where it could really have been rather serious for them, he’s kept the communion together here and across the pond rather well all things considered. Fingers crossed for a more liberal new one, but they’ll have an…interesting challenge

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 16 Mar 2012, 7:37pm

      Across the pond, he hasn’t. The Episcopalians haven’t stopped consecrating gay hierarchy and aren’t likely to. I’m hopeful a final schism will take place, long overdue. A more liberal archbishop isn’t in the cards, not in this current climate of hate and intolerance. Far too many of them are opposed to same-sex civil marriage, in fact the majority are so nothing will change. They thought Williams was far too liberal.

    2. Why is unity inherently praiseworthy? When the hardline homophobes and misogynists stamped their feet and threatened to split if their buigotry wasn’t pandered to, why does placating them count as a good thing?

      Surely a far more MORAL approach would have been to tell the bigots that their bigotry was unacceptable and if they couldn’t put it aside then them leaving would be a good thing?

  19. Brian Hamilton 16 Mar 2012, 6:32pm

    I loved him in “Mrs Doubtfire”

    1. He’s a multi-talented actor and many faceted that’s for sure.

  20. The CoE, like other churches, receives no direct subsidy from the government. But as I understand it, like other churches, they pay no taxes on their vast holdings because they are considered “charities” (although some might consider many of them to be more like hate groups than charities). They also receive favorable financial treatment in several other areas (including interest on the money they hold in banks). And many churches receive subsidies indirectly from the government from English Heritage.

    Paying no taxes IS a subsidy. It’s taking money out of your pocket to use against you in order to pontificate (excuse the verb) against your human right to marry the person you love.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 16 Mar 2012, 7:33pm

      About time that stopped then. Maybe a national movement to make it happen. Give them a dose of their own hatred for a change. Nobody should be exempt from civil laws and as far as I know, paying taxes is a civil law and requirement of all citizens who work for a living.

      1. The bishops themselves pay taxes, but that is their private money, not the Church’s. The Church itself is a charity, and so its capital isn’t taxed. Because the Church is a charity, rather than a citizen, how can it work for a living?

        If you wanted the Church’s funds to be taxed then you would need to tax other charities as well.

        1. What rubbish. You simply abrogate the principle of law which says that the promotion of religion is a proper charitable object.

    2. “Paying no taxes IS a subsidy”. Only if you give the word subsidy a new and very different meaning to the one generally intended.

  21. Father Dougal 16 Mar 2012, 7:22pm

    John Jeffrey for Archbishop!

  22. If it wasn’t for their continued influence in parliament and their privalged seats in the HoL I wouldn’t care less who will be the next Archbishop.

    Dr Williams has been truly useless. Whether the new one will be better or worse I don’t know if it really matters. I just hope the governmet treats them as irrelevant in todays society. I certainly do.

    They are collectively going to be vicious to us over the next yr or 2 while gay marriage is being discussed and their true colours will be obvious to all.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 17 Mar 2012, 4:54pm

      That’s why I’ve advocated for decades for the abolition of the HoL. It’s anachronistic, undemocratic and does NOT represent the people in any way, shape or form. especially atheists and those of the non-Abrahamic denominations. The sooner it’s gone, the better which would herald swifter passage of any legislation.

  23. I wonder why Rowan has chosen to wear yellow?

    1. he’s wearing Gold, probably because he’s an Archbishop but also possibly because it was the liturgical colour at the time of the photograph, basically the great Festivals (such as Easter Sunday).

  24. de Villiers 16 Mar 2012, 9:22pm

    It’s a shame, really – the totality of it. His academic writing on theology is outstanding. Really outstanding and learned and liberal. I have often drawn much understanding from it.

    1. In what respect has has your understanding as a gay person , possibly with as a gay person with faith , progressed under the ABC?

      There’s a world of difference being an outstanding academic and a leader of the Church of England and his leadership has been quite frankly pretty wet..

    2. Dr Robin Guthrie 17 Mar 2012, 1:52am


      The analysis and interpretation of re-interpretations of a mythical series of characters based on linguistic misinterpretations of a series of novellas covering 2000 years written by self interested parties.

      Perhaps his time would have been better served discovering a cancer cure.

      1. de Villiers 17 Mar 2012, 7:18am

        You could say the same about any firm of literature or poetry.

        1. Dr Robin Guthrie 17 Mar 2012, 8:45pm

          Eh. No you couldnt.

        2. de Villiers 19 Mar 2012, 12:45pm

          Of course you can. Theology is the textual study of ancient literature, the re-interpretation of it and the understanding of the underlying meanings.

          To say that time is better spent on a cancer cure than theology or literature is to conflate two concepts – that of external achievement and rational enquiry with that of internal introspection and artistic understanding.

    3. Yes, I now understand a thousand reasons to not say what I believe in..

      My belief is that he just has a sore bottom after all those years sitting on the fence…

      1. Yes, it’s caused him IBS (irritable bishop syndrome) and forced him to retire to St Sinecures College

        Twas ever thus…

  25. So he amde pretty speeches for equality and “tolerance” but then opposed our rights whenever he could whenever it mattered

    That makes him a homophobe with a vague idea of PR. Nothing better. At least the hateful pope is honest with his bigotry

  26. A Sentamu appointment will destroy the Church! Is that such a bad thing? Will the last person turn the lights out!

  27. Rowan Williams – according to Newsround: “…. the most senior person in charge of the Church of England, apart from the Queen and God of course.”

    1. Dr Robin Guthrie 17 Mar 2012, 1:48am

      You forgot the Catholic Church.

      If it was not for them refusing King Henry the Eight his divorce there would be no Anglican church.

  28. Dr Robin Guthrie 17 Mar 2012, 1:46am

    I have never understood why all of these Abrahamic religions have created huge structured organisations in order to further a very simple premise.

    “Love thy neighbour as thyself”.

    It is not complicated, so why the need for all the flowery ridiculously ever dressed nonsence.

    “Faith” is just that. Faith in whatever God it is, so why the need for all these earth based faith managers drawing salaries.

    Their faith must be very weak if they need these edifices to keep them in line with their religion.

    1. I take you’re being ironic!

      Just in case, one word: Power

      1. Dr Robin Guthrie 18 Mar 2012, 1:28am


    2. de Villiers 19 Mar 2012, 12:48pm

      Really – faith is much, much more than that. If you do not understand it, just admit the same rather than trying to interpret something through a lens which does not admit such an inquiry.

      Theology as a discipline requires proper intellectual effort in the same way as any subject of the arts.

  29. He’s only 61. You’d have thought 161, looking at the state of him. And he didn’t look much different at 51. You’d have thought that would have given those Archbish selectors a clue 10 years ago.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 17 Mar 2012, 4:50pm

      He needs Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine of “What Not To Wear” to help him. Get rid of that awful age-inducing beard and a decent hair cut for crying out loud. It’s enough to turn anyone away from the CoE. He and his church are totally out of touch as it is, no wonder congregation numbers are dwindling.

      1. And no wonder he’s cosying up to the Orthdox lot – the look fits in with them.

  30. The man is a disappointment and a real “sell out!” In light of his academic background,instead of leading the way for positive progressive change in his church and as an enlightened example for other faith denominations like the Roman Catholics and ‘Religious Right,'” he bought into their old corporate mentality,biblical literalism and dogmas.He became a follower of flawed theology instead of a leader and positive change agent.

  31. Carl Rowlands 17 Mar 2012, 11:59am

    We had hopes of Rowan, he unfortunately turned out to be a gutless wonder!

  32. ScottishPaul 17 Mar 2012, 1:05pm

    Toodle pip!

  33. To be replaced by a goofy intolerant homophobe from Africa. And backed by Murdoch. Another nail in the coffin of the sky fairy. And they wonder why churches are empty Bring it on.

    1. billywingartenson 20 Mar 2012, 8:49pm

      save us a lot of bullets when we finally rid the world of the curse of the west – christian-islam

  34. poooo push deviants 17 Mar 2012, 9:39pm

    Harry. Are you in favour of full marriage equality, including those incestuous that cannot conceive and those in multpile partnerships? If not, why not?//

  35. What a disappointing and cowardly man.

  36. Paul Halsall 18 Mar 2012, 11:26am

    Although I disagreed with Archbishop Williams over homosexuality (I welcome gay and lesbian bishops and equality in marriage), I have heard him speak and read his writings. He is a major intellectual, and perhaps one of the most intellectual perceptive people to have reached a major public role in British history.

    I am very sorry to see him go.

    I hope and pray he successfully sees through the full acceptance of female bishops before he retires; I hope and pray his “Anglican Covenant” fails; and I hope and pray his previous support for gay people will be able to manifest itself in his retirement.

    1. You waste your time praying. How curious.

    2. Katie murphy ex catholic family 20 Mar 2012, 9:05pm

      your an optimist. People like williams are living in the 5th century. Chances of him changing are small, though miracles do happen.

      As for the current pope in rome, who Unexcommunicated a bishop williamson holocaust denier, a hanging from the basilica of st peters would be appropriate. After a reconvening of the nuremburg trials.

  37. Oh Dear, Oh Dear ! what a shame that the archbishop, whose ability to keep together, the warring arms of the anglican church is to resign. He was as much use in the job as a chocolate fireguard, and unfortunatley,his successor may do a better job (and that wont be difficult!), which wont be good news for humanity, if history is anything to go by.

  38. .poo push deviants' 18 Mar 2012, 5:14pm

    Harry. Are you in favour of full marriage equality, including those incestuous that cannot conceive and those in multpile partnerships? If not, why not?

    1. Oh good, you came back. OK, I want to know what happens if I say,

      “I believe in equal marriage only between 2 non related individuals of opposite or same sex. I believe this based purely on my own selfish, prejudiced beliefs”

      So now what? Is it like Highlander – there can be only one hypocritical bigot so you absorb my power and become even more bigoted?

      Or does winning just means that you get to go on top? Just if that’s the case then we need to educate you that terms like faecal passage don’t pass as dirty talk. And don’t even get me started on finding a man size paper bag :P

  39. I hear he is taking the Caiaphas Chair in Theological Prevarication at Cambridge. God help any good man taking his place.

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