An argument has erupted among clergy members in the Church of England, after a priest wrote on Facebook that Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, was a “wanker” for continually opposing the Government’s attempts to legalise equal marriage.
Reverend Marcus Ranshaw, who supports equal marriage, wrote the message last night on Facebook, in response to Monday’s debate in the House of Lords, when the Archbishop said that many faith groups, including the Church of England were “hesitant” about the bill, and that the bill would mean that marriage is “abolished, redefined and recreated”.
On Tuesday, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby and other bishops in the House of Lords voted in favour of Lord Dear’s failed ‘fatal’ amendment, that could have killed the progress of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill into law.
Reverend Ramshaw said: “What really upsets me is nasty people such as Justin Welby robbing me of my faith in the church, he does not speak in my name and i think he is a wanker, but im not going to stop being a christian or a priest.”
Reverend Arun Arora, the Director of Communications for the Church, swiftly responded, saying: “Calling another Christian a wanker doesn’t work for me as a priestly response,” continuing: “I think any right-minded person would find a priest calling his archbishop an onanist to be utterly outrageous.”
The row got worse, with Reverend Ramshaw accusing the Archbishop of holding “a nasty, ill-judged opinion on homosexual relations”, which was propelling the church into “bitterness and anger.”
He acknowledged that his choice of language was perhaps not appropriate, but maintained his position, saying: “i accept that that term was wrong and for that i am sorry, but i hope he knows how much hurt he is doing to faithful, loyal christians who love the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Reverend Arora responded again to accuse his fellow priest of being “ungracious and a liar who breaks his promises”, as he did not immediately apologise.
Speaking to the Independent, Reverend Ramshaw, said: “I inadvertently said the Archbishop of Canterbury was a wanker in one single line…it was not a public platform, it was a personal post which I deleted at the request of the director of communications for the Church of England. I am genuinely sorry that I got cross for one second and just put in that one word.
“Why should I be so taken to task about this?…I have made a complaint to Facebook and reported him for threatening behaviour. I intend to make a complaint to Church House…this is not a way to treat any Christian…it is bullying, it’s nasty and it’s horrible and I will construct a complaint on that basis.”
Reverend Arora responded: “The issue of same Sex Marriage is an emotive one. There are a variety of views within the Church and much of that debate takes place online.
“I don’t think calling someone a ‘wanker’ is the best way of engaging. Whilst I am sure this will be water off a duck’s back for Archbishop Justin, I think it was right to challenge Marcus’ approach.”