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Archbishop of Canterbury: Church opposition to equal marriage was ‘overwhelmed’ by equality supporters

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  1. Recognition of biased opinion chasing away “believers” leading to emergency change of tack on the off-chance that we will forget the protracted and church-endorsed hatemongering opposition?

    No bloody chance.

    The church got its hands filthy on this matter, don’t let them try to whitewash it with platitudinous sops regarding the very homophobia that they helped propagate.

    1. Well said, this is about marketing the church, nothing more.

  2. Derek Williams 5 Jul 2013, 7:35pm

    Religion is the scourge of the homosexual.

    1. WantsToKnow 5 Jul 2013, 7:40pm

      Correction: Religion is the scourge of humanity…

    2. Mind you, sometimes gays can be their own worst enemy.

      1. Tim Chapman 5 Jul 2013, 9:57pm


      2. Beelzeebub 5 Jul 2013, 10:40pm


        For fighting back against those who wish to deny us human rights based on their belief in an imaginary deity.

        I don’t think so

        VICTIM no more.

        Get it.

      3. Sacre bleu 6 Jul 2013, 4:06am

        Doug, I’m going to stick my neck out here and say you are right, BUT we are no different to straights in that respect. I’m not sure of your context – with respect to equal marriage rights we are surely NOT our own worst enemy.

      4. Jock S. Trap 6 Jul 2013, 7:57am

        The minute you separate people from society and label them is the minute you lose any argument.

      5. How, exactly, can I be an “enemy” to the concept of equal rights? How can I possibly threaten that concept? As a gay man, what might I do to make legitimate the withholding of equal rights from me?

    3. Br Graham-Michoel 15 Jul 2013, 8:32am

      That’s just silly ( though one must be mindful of the original meaning of the word silly ). From what reasoning do you arrive at such a comment?

    4. religion is the scourge of humanity

      Here is an example list of christianity in Europe

      Here is the catholic church supporting the maniacs who ran germany in the 1930s and 1940s

  3. CH Brighton 5 Jul 2013, 7:45pm

    I can’t work out whether he is admitting or at least recognising that the Anglicans’ over-riding message on this issue has been a hateful one. Is he now trying to rescue the image of his organisation or truly trying to comprehend the message society is sending him? And by the way Archbishop please don’t include me in your philosophy of all-pervading human sin – it’s part of your religion’s way of putting everybody down.

  4. Let’s see how the Bishops perform next week during the SSM bill report stage…plenty of time for them to say something positive then and who knows some of them may have the “grace” to vote for the bill (although I doubt it). Fine words from Welby, but I suspect empty ones as usual!

    From memory the Bishop of Leicester has put forward an amendment to allow faith schools to teach that gay marriage is wrong…what’s that going to do for homophobic bullying!!!!!

  5. Robert in S. Kensington 5 Jul 2013, 7:50pm

    Empty words, Welby, and I don’t buy it. It’s the f_cking church that’s at the heart of the dissention towards the Marriage Bill that aid and abet hate groups such as C4M, Christian Concern, Anglican Mainstream and others.

    What’s this bloody nonsense about the idea of marriage as covenant? Civil marriage has nothing to do with covenants or bloody religion either.

    I’m so sick of these loons playing with our lives and rights as if its a game, a very sick one at that.

    I hope after this whole freaking Marriage Bill is done and over with, more serious attention is given toward disestablishment of the CoE and abolition of the Lords.

    1. Sacre bleu 6 Jul 2013, 3:56am

      ‘Empty words, Welby’ – You are right Robert, Welby is just a sanctimonious weathervane.

  6. Michaelandfred 5 Jul 2013, 7:57pm

    Here’s a thought, your bishop ness, maybe it’s ALL those people who are actually hearing the word of god. Europe, England, America (north and south) you plead for people to pray and defeat this “evil,” yet the majority grows and pass it does.

    Maybe the masses are the ones hearing gods voice for love of all his children, if not why are you losing this fight?

    1. Graeme Thompson 12 Jul 2013, 3:26pm

      “if not why are you losing this fight?”

      Ermm, because the world is falling away from faith and going to the Devil?

      He will reign for a season, and believers will suffer all manner of bestiality, but when the most joyous marriage of Christ with His Church comes, the final battle will have been won. I hope you decide to be on the side of history. God bless.

  7. The christian church have changed their minds on plenty of things over the past centuries when they have realised the nonsense they spout has been seen as the bullshlt it is.

    This is the instiutuion that once adamantly said the world was created in 7 days, that slavery was okay and that women didn’t deserve equal rights to men.

    When they realise that public opinion outweighs their rhetoric, they’ll suddenly become gay friendly, and the passage in leviticus about homosexuality will be as ignored as the rest of the vile hate speech in that book.

  8. allwaysniceman 5 Jul 2013, 8:00pm

    Holy man with sense of big tolerance. As Pope John Paul too.

    1. Commander Thor 5 Jul 2013, 8:16pm

      Awesome! I take it you no longer oppose gay marriage either.

      Funny how church leaders always oppose progress, fight it with every dirty trick in the book, and then claim they supported it all along when they inevitably lose. Remember, the Catholic church admitted Galileo might have had a point afterall…in 1992.

    2. Blinkered apologist nitwit. There’s a reason the collective noun for believers is “flock” (you do realise that the shepherd was never a altruistically benign force, right?)

    3. Said the spider to the fly 6 Jul 2013, 4:00am

      Oooohhhhh, the irony of your name…… even better, your spelling of allways is as good as your judgement.

  9. He had his chance to set an example to his hateful followers on this very issue and he chose to go with the bigotry.

    A bit late now isn’t it to start talking about dealing with bullying in CofE schools? His words and those of the other haters in his flock have already done the damage.

    How dare he tell me I am a sinner. Let him speak for himself. He doesn’t speak for me or anyone I know. And that is something the religious bigots haven’t yet figured out. They still believe their dogma actually means something.
    It doesn’t.

  10. Mumbo Jumbo 5 Jul 2013, 8:15pm

    So, what is he doing to control his bishops in Africa?


    1. Yes, I noticed he mentioned “gay people executed in Iran” but not those persecuted in Anglican Christian countries in Africa….a very carefully worded example of persecution, too scared to criticise African countries!!

  11. I must be in an uncharacteristically generous mood this evening, because I say – only slightly grudgingly – good for Welby for at least admitting they’re out of touch with popular opinion.

    In the end his support, or lack of it, doesn’t really matter but at least, unlike his otherwise worthy and well-intentioned (if hopelessly woolly) predecessor, he’s talking about gay rights. A step in the right direction at least?

    1. Helge Vladimir Tiller 5 Jul 2013, 9:12pm

      Good comment, Rehan ! Shortly about The Norwegian Church : The absolute majority of the priests in our Church ( I’m not a Christian myself- ) rejoice same sex marriage. And most of them, I am sure, would like to perform this ceremony in churches. Which at this time is forbidden. But a BLESSING, after the actual wedding ceremony, ( taking place in for instance the Town Hall ) can be done in a church.
      I will be extremely happy THE DAY same sex marriage is a fact in English society. You fight so much and intensively for this right. That very day I intend to go out, and enjoy a nice dinner together with friends- we will eat and behave decently, in a top restaurant ; English manners of course !

    2. BrGraham-Michoel 15 Jul 2013, 8:40am

      I feel strongly that you are right, and I also give some praise to the archbishop for being honest – and the bottom line is, I believe he is an honest man. His predecessor also had great difficulty in juggling the massive array of opinions from throughout the Anglican Communion. One must remember, he is not a CEO or managing director.
      The rest of the world will of course always go its own way, regardless of what the AC and their leaders have to say ( or direct ) on the matter. Already numerous churches are in the process of drawing-up SSM liturgies. It is inevitable.

  12. “It is utterly horrifying to hear of gay people executed in Iran, or equivalents elsewhere.”

    I’m guessing this is the closest he’s ever going to get to criticising the persecution of LGBT people in countries with large Anglican populations.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 5 Jul 2013, 9:47pm

      And what about the persecution of LGBT people in his own back yard since Henry VIII? We’ve yet to hear an official apology for the harm his cult has caused and continues to cause. They posture about it but they do nothing. I wish the British public would wake up from its deep slumber and demand disestablishment.

      1. Sandgroper 6 Jul 2013, 4:15am

        As an Australian, I am very thankful that our State and Church were separated in our Constitution and I can’t imagine it ever changing. The majority of the religious seem to want to keep the two separate.

    2. Helge Vladimir Tiller 5 Jul 2013, 10:03pm

      Activists say that between 6000 and 9000 gays , lesbians and transgender people have been executed in Iran after the Revolution in 1979. A devilish union between religion and politics ! I have been connected to Iranian resistance since 1980. And remember that this massacre started immediately after Khomeini came into power. ( just for Your info. )

      1. nixiotemba 6 Jul 2013, 12:39pm

        being a transwoman in Iran is possible, being a transman I’m not so sure

  13. Actions speak louder than words archbishop. It’s your move still.

  14. Scott Larsen 5 Jul 2013, 9:16pm

    I am sorry but my spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion just doesn’t get it: He acknowledges a shift towards equality when it comes to marriage, yet says in so many words the Church must stand against this ever-growing popular shift. And they wonder why people worldwide has written off the Church…

    1. Sacre bleu 6 Jul 2013, 4:36am

      ‘they wonder why people worldwide has written off the Church…’

      Slow learners?

    2. Br Graham-Michoel 15 Jul 2013, 8:42am

      You might be better off having God as your spiritual leader.

  15. Why doesn’t someone sit down with the good bishop and SHOW him how his church is misinterpreting the very book upon which they pretend to base their faith?

    The vast majority of biblical quotes used to justify antigay attitudes are either 1) taken completely out of context, 2) complete and erroneous mistranslations of the original, or 3) cherry picked amongst a slew of other prohibitions which the church clearly chooses to ignore.

    1. Because it shouldn’t matter. Whether a 2,000 year old book says we’re the most evil thing ever or the most amazing thing since creation is irrelevant. I don’t want a powerful organisation – that has representatives in our government deciding my rights, running schools for our youth – to base whether we should be treated as human beings on whether they’re interpreting an ancient tome correctly or not

      Homophobia is wrong and hateful. REGARDLESS of what the Bible says. And if the bible supports homophobia then it is wrong and hateful too as are people who use it as a tool for prejudice

      1. Sacre bleu 6 Jul 2013, 4:17am

        ‘Homophobia is wrong and hateful.’ – You are right, who would want to go to a heaven which condones slavery, homophobia, stoning of people etc etc etc

    2. The good bishop has obviously decided that the Bible is wrong since he is ignoring Leviticus 21:20 and appearing at the altar with defective vision

    3. How are the strict constructionists managing to hide the constant stonings and killings required by Deuteronomy Chapter 22? The numbers must be in the millions every year, given that when a man finds his bride is not a virgin, the men of her city shall stone her until she dies (21) and if a man commits adultery with a married woman, they both must die (22). Who needs “reality TV” when you can watch a good stoning or adulterers being killed!

      I’m obviously missing something since I’m “an abomination” but isn’t this the inerrant word of god they’re ignoring?

  16. Tim Chapman 5 Jul 2013, 9:44pm

    He talks of “people of God gathered by the Holy Spirit walking together in a way that leads to the greater glory of God” and calls it “reality”. Does he ever listen to himself?

    And I’m sick of this man hinting that he’s got it wrong (apologising for his church’s attitude in the past and now acknowledging a few home truths) but proposing no rectification.

  17. GulliverUK 5 Jul 2013, 9:55pm

    I’m not sure if it’s too late, or too soon.

    Granted he wasn’t actually Archbish when several of the Church of England bishops were making incredibly offensive, vile, dehumanising derogatory statements, specifically designed to degrade our dignity and well-being – and it felt like a bullying, mobbing attack. They were full of lies about us, calculated to set others against us. Jesus would have been appalled :-p

    When he did get in I had hoped, and for a time it even seemed, like he might be reasonable. Then he turned nasty and offensive, and made his own vile and dehumanizing statements about us, and right now I’m not in any mood for any forgiveness.

    For those that do believe, see if you can teach this fcukwit how to talk without being offensive about us – and then teach Sentamu as well. That will be the most important first step.

    They made this debate and legislation intentionally hurtful to us with hateful intentions. That’s not the mark of intellectuals, but of a mob.

    1. St Sebastian 6 Jul 2013, 3:14am

      “not the mark of intellectuals, but of a mob”

      True, even the general populace ‘mob’ got it before these spooks.

  18. There are 2 things I don’t like about him: his face!

    1. Sacre bleu 6 Jul 2013, 4:21am

      Me too, the two faced hypocrite.

  19. Makes vague speech.

    Then continues homophobic business as usual, has the usual suspects speak utter hateful bile without consequences and does absolutely nothing to combat homophobia

    But notice the clever shiftiness – implying that executing gay people in Iran is the homophobia to speak out against, not, for example, the Uganda kill the gays law the Anglican church is involved in, or the homophobic hatred at home sponsored by his church

  20. chairface 6 Jul 2013, 1:41am

    “Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has admitted that the Church of England’s opposition to equal marriage was “utterly overwhelmed” by those who support equality for same-sex couples.”

    His Grace The Most Rev and Rt Hon The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury has undeniably a Ph.D. in stating the bleeding obvious.

  21. essexgirlbecky 6 Jul 2013, 1:52am

    The Archbishop announces that the Church of England will be instituting a programme across all its schools to eliminate homophobic bullying. Good news surely? Well yes, but to present this as a great step forward is stretching the point; all schools have a legal duty to do this already, and are assessed on it by Ofsted.

    So instead of an apology to the thousands of students whose school careers have been blighted by the failure of the C of E to tackle homophobic bullying in the past, the Archbishop is making capital on the fact that it is belatedly seeking to make good on its legal responsibilities. A good friend of mine would describe this as chutzpah!

    1. GulliverUK 6 Jul 2013, 5:18am

      Since religion caused homophobia in the first place, it’s good they will tackle it in schools — only, given most of the homophobic language I hear if from Bishops, wouldn’t that be a better place to start? I mean, where do children take their cues from?

      The basics of the statement also appear on p2 of the DM today, and re-reading it I note it is an acknowledgement they have lost — but there is nothing further which might suggest they should or will tone down the very highly charged rhetoric. I mean Welby was ranting on, being homophobic and derogatory just two weeks ago. Has he had a sudden epiphany? Is this his Road To Damaskus moment?

  22. A pragmatic archbishop for sure but so pompous – “in reality the people of God gathered by the Holy Spirit to walk together”

  23. Why should the church be “overwhelmed” by a civil law which will not interfere with their beliefs or effect them in any way?

    No one is being forced to enter an SSM. nor is any church being compelled to officiate.

    1. I think he means the church will be overwhelmed because, in time, society will accept wholly that a same sex marriage is absolutely no different to an opposite sex marriage.

      What this will do is destroy the Church’s ability to speak authoritatively to the State on matters of belief and morals. It will, in time be no more important to us than a National Trust property, rather nice and pretty, interesting even, but thanks, it’s well and truly the past.

  24. It is disingenuous of Welby to pretend to address homophobic bullying while he still pretends that homosexuality per se is a sin.
    Religion is the problem with it’s careful mistranslation of scripture and misinterpretation of same providing an excuse for religious based homophobic bigotry.
    As Gove is responsible for the proliferation of schools under the control of religious sects he needs to ensure that homophobic attitudes are not being fostered and spread.
    The idea that simply to be homosexual and to live out the life that naturally follows from that orientation is a sin is not supported by honest interpretation of scriptural sources.

  25. Jock S. Trap 6 Jul 2013, 7:55am

    “Predictable attitudes were no longer there”

    Seriously? Not sure the man was listening to the same debate. The language used has been even more worse than that used in the Commons. Let’s not forget the disgusting amount of wrecking amendments from within the House of Lords.

    Supporting the opposition against Equal Marriage, then trying to drum up against homophobic bullying seems somewhat hypocritical since making marriage equal will go a long was to showing that being Gay show Not be an issue.

    Sadly those extremists within religion will always take 2 + 2 and make 9 as they just don’t get it.

    It seems religion will do whatever it takes to stop the continuous loosing of control it has over the people and the state.

    But they need to learn that religion is and will always remain a choice. A choice from within to teach bigotry and discrimination.

  26. Woah. I’m not going to defend the church’s homophobic stance on this issue, nor its questionable stances on other issues, but the intolerance and lack of understanding shown on this page of comments is very disheartening.

    By all means object to the church’s opinion, indeed that does seem to be making a difference, but do so with reasoned argument and patience.. Some of the forceful messages here seem based purely around the idea that religion of any nature is childish and wrong.

    You might feel religion is nonsense, but to be so closed minded in your approach, and to believe that everyone should hold the same opinion as you… Well, to me, it feels just like the religious nut’s approach to homosexuality. Surely we can be better than that?!

    We’ve got the better argument – we don’t need childish tantrums or name calling to get our opinions across.

    1. Tim Chapman 6 Jul 2013, 9:34am

      The comments on this page do contain our reasoned arguments and in the wider context of the PN comments pages, although there are some less than helpful comments (on both sides), our rational dignity in defending our position shines through.

      My view is that religion of any nature is childish and wrong, to use your words, but thinking that religion is nonsense, again to use your words, does not mean that I am closed-minded or think that everyone should hold the same opinions me.

      People can believe what they like, but I can say I think they’re wrong. That doesn’t mean I lack patience or understanding, so please don’t set yourself up to patronise me by telling me that I do.

      As to tolerance, actually you are right there. I have absolutely no tolerance for Welby or his church, or for any other personal or institutionalised homophobic bigotry.

      1. Tim Chapman 6 Jul 2013, 9:37am

        … opinions as me.

      2. I certainly won’t disagree with the later parts of your message, but that wasn’t really my argument anyway (apologies if I was not clear enough).

        There are many on this page (albeit not you) who don’t just think religious beliefs are ‘wrong’, but genuinely seem to feel that people are weakened by holding their beliefs. I know a multitude of believers who would strongly disagree, it strikes me as an ignorant argument – certainly not helpful in any way.

        And I just can’t give any credence to the argument that ‘Christianity’ (or, indeed, any other religion) is weakened by what the church did generations ago. The church is a human organisation, and past mistakes reflect only on those responsible (who I would be prepared to forgive) – not the current central body or wider membership. Again – I’m not accusing you personally of holding that view.

        I’d like to see Welby’s attitude greeted with hope, rather than bitterness. To achieve equality we must move on from the past surely?

        1. Tim Chapman 6 Jul 2013, 10:47pm

          But Welby’s attitude hasn’t changed. All he’s done is express surprise at the overwhelming numbers of people who disagree with him. Nothing to greet with hope there.

          I agree with you that to achieve equality we must move on for the past, but there are two options. Either the Church of England changes, which means it drops its offensive insistence that clergy in civil partnerships be celibate, and that men and women, straight or LGBT can be bishops, and that it supports same-sex marriage and officiates at them in church for those that want a church wedding, or it become irrelevant. Personally I’d prefer the latter then we won’t hear nonsense like this:

          1. Well you have rather found an extreme example there..! I know many Christians, and went to CofE schools, yet I’ve never met anyone who believes that sort of nonsense.

            Reading between the lines this looks to me like Welby is signalling a change. The vast majority of CofE members have no strong opinion on this issue, and a carefully controlled move towards equality might be the way of achieving it with the smallest ‘blood shed’ in his eyes.

            Yes I’d prefer a more open message from him, and a full apology for the past, but if he still manages to achieve equality.. Frankly I’d take my hat off to him as that looked impossible just 5 years ago.

    2. You posit a world where religion, organised religion (as perhaps distinct from personal faith) is a benign and non-intrusive force acting upon people. That is – of course – bunk. As an atheist, as a lesbian, indeed as a woman, the church has declared war on me far too many times and has a long (and often blood splattered) history of oppression.

      The idea of treating such a noxious entity with any kind of acceptance or understanding of the belief system it endorses is a sickening joke and I consider your words to be those of a snivelling apologist whelp with no grasp of the history of tyranny, violence and oppression that the church has as its foundation – which still inform its power and influence today.

      In the perfect world you posit (which doesn’t exist) I would gladly not care if someone chooses to worship leprechauns because it wouldn’t matter. In this world the mendacious cherry-picking delusions of believers DOES matter.

      1. “The idea of treating such a noxious entity with any kind of acceptance or understanding of the belief system it endorses is a sickening joke” – could that not be a quote from a religious nut about LGBT people? Doesn’t that reduce you to their level?

        Much of my life has been negatively impacted by the organised church. I don’t need to be told what harm it can do. But it has also shown me that forgiveness can achieve much more than cynicism. Anyway – I certainly wouldn’t describe a hypothetical non-hurtful church as ‘bunk’. Talk of ‘war’ with the church helps no one – while there’s a chance of peaceful reconciliation, as Welby’s attitude suggests, I’d rather put the past aside and aim at that.

        Surely this isn’t about ‘revenge’ – it’s about achieving equality and a better quality of life for us and future LGBT generations?

        1. Crap. My sexual orientation is an innate and immutable personal characteristic, their faith is by choice, just like choosing which football team they support. And they must own their own bloody choices.

          And as a woman, a lesbian, an atheist, I consider myself lucky to have not been born in the era when this vile church would have just killed me. You can overlook what caused this church to be in its current position of power and influence, I refuse to not be blinkered.

          And yes – it’s bunk. The magical superstitious drivel of bronze age sheepshaggers who wanted a divine mandate to butcher neighbouring tribes.

          1. If I might just ask one question on that please.. I genuinely can’t get my head around it, and I would honestly like to understand your view.

            I’m gay. I can’t explain how I know, I just do. I’m sure you know the feeling. I also believe in the Christian God. I can’t explain how I believe, I just do.

            To me both those truths are as irrefutable as each other, and I have just as much evidence for God’s existence as I do for my sexuality. Someone might disbelieve I’m really gay – call it a phase. Someone else might disbelieve in God – call him a myth. I can’t produce actual evidence for either, I just know them to be true.

            I can choose my denomination or church, and indeed my interpretation of the Bible, but not my faith. I’m intrigued as to why you disagree with that?

  27. de Villiers 6 Jul 2013, 9:29am

    I expect the Archbishop to have changed the Church’s position by the end of his tenure.

    When the Parliament passes the gay marriage, the Archbishop can say to the Church that it fought, it lost and now it has to repair and accept.

    This is one more reason why matters such as this should be decided by elected Parliaments rather than judges.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 6 Jul 2013, 12:27pm

      The only way Welby will have changed the Church’s position would only come about if Anglican clergy in England and Wales pushed the hierarchy to accept it or face a split. He’s not going to evolve until a large number of his clergy in parishes across the country make their views known and the consequences if they fail to accept the situation. We’ve not even received an official apology for the more than 500 years of institutionalised homophobia which continues to this day and has permeated more than half of the Tory party in Parliament.

  28. Still not going to support it though are you?


  29. Overwhelmed by people actually living in the 21st century, and not trying to keep people trapped in the 18th century, with 18th century attitudes.

    It just shows that bigotry and archaic beliefs will never be enough to defeat the tide of progress on these sorts of issues. The CoE will eventually be dragged along with it, whether they want to or not, or drown in it.

  30. ‘There was noticeable hostility to the view of the churches.’ Really? Colour me surprised!

  31. Gerontius 6 Jul 2013, 8:55pm

    The Bogs…they’re not subtle but they often make a valid point.

  32. Christopher Coleman 6 Jul 2013, 10:07pm

    Welby has learned that he and the Church hold a minority position. “Overwhelmed” was his word. That he can admit this openly shows that he is not without intellectual honesty. Religion tends to attract conservative people and they have not realized, despite being around for thousands of years, that they can claim the moral high ground only be leading the way to it, not by following after others have discovered it and moved there.

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