A London vicar has slammed clergy for blessing gay couples, saying doing so is “disrespectful” to the Church of England, “unfaithful to Christ” and “ultimately confusing”.
Reverend Steven Hanna, of St Elisabeth’s Church, Dagenham, made the remarks in a BBC interview regarding Rev Andrew Cain, the north London gay vicar who says he is prepared to defy a Church of England ban on the blessings of same-sex marriages.
The House of Bishops confirmed last month: “It will continue not to be legally possible for two persons of the same sex to marry according to the rites of the Church of England.”
As part of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, which comes into force on Saturday 29 March, the Church of England is legally safe-guarded from marrying same-sex couples.
“I won’t be disobeying them,” Rev Hanna said of the Church’s rules. “I have heard there are some clergy who will be disobeying them.
“As a clergyman in the Church of England, I don’t think it’s right that we should be disobeying them. Regardless of what the Church of England rules say, I see it as inconsistent that a clergyman can choose to bless something that God himself has not blessed.”
When asked to acknowledge that many people feel God has not taken a view against gay people, or their right to be blessed, and that “Jesus and the Bible don’t say anything about homosexuality”, Rev Hanna replied: “I don’t see how they can say that?
“I think the Bible is quite clear, it’s been historically clear, it’s clear among the worldwide [Anglican] Church. If they are going to say that as their argument they need to engage with scholars.”
Rev Hanna added: “Scholarship says the traditional way of understanding the Bible is the right way of understanding it.”
The Dagenham vicar said blessing gay couples was “disrespectful” to the Church of England, “unfaithful to Christ” and “ultimately confusing” for worshipers.
Denying that he was homophobic, Rev Hanna said God “loves gays” despite their “sins”. He went on to describe same-sex attraction as a “perverted love”.
Rev Hannah continued: “The Bible says this is not true love, this is not godly love, this is not Holy love, this is not pure love, this is love that will actually harm in the end.”
He also claimed that gay people had “chosen” their “lifestyle”.