Archbishop John Sentamu: Homosexuality is not a sin, LGBT people were created in God’s image too
The Archbishop of York has said he would “never” describe homosexuality as a sin.
Archbishop John Sentamu appeared on Good Morning Britain this morning, where he took part in a wide-ranging debate about LGBT rights with host Piers Morgan.
In the segment, Morgan challenged Dr Sentamu, the second-ranked Archbishop in the Church of England, about his staunch opposition to equal marriage.
However, the Archbishop affirmed that while he still has personal objections with same-sex marriage, he believes in LGBT equality generally, and does not consider homosexuality to be a sin.
Asked whether homosexuality is a sin, he insisted: “I would never say that. I would never say that, because sin is doing something consciously against God.”
Asked if he was discarding parts of the Bible that condemn homosexuality, he said: “The whole of scripture must be read in context, you can’t just pick up a verse and say ‘because it says this’… that would be a nightmare.
“Please, for heaven’s sake, don’t always think that holding a view on marriage must be homophobic.”
He said: “The Archbishop of Canterbury and I issued a statement yesterday asking all Christians to support all LGBTI people, and actually see them as created in God’s image and likeness, and not as an exception.
“I’ve got a lot of gay friends, they see me as a friend, they see me as someone who wants to support and protect them against homophobia.”
Dr Sentamu’s views strongly contrast with the Anglican Church of Uganda, where he was born – which takes a hardline stance on homosexuality.
However, he maintained his stance on marriage.
The religious leader continued: “You can still have your view on marriage and at the same time be intolerant of homophobia.
“I support civil partnerships because I think that’s a matter of equality, and a matter of fairness, but for me, it was wrong for the Government to try to redefine the nature of marriage.”
He said: “My upholding of Christian marriage as I understand it goes hand-in-hand with saying to people, ‘to diminish homosexual people is anathema to the Christian faith because God loves us all equally.”
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However, the Archbishop appeared offended after Piers Morgan attempted to contrast his views with discrimination based on race.
He hit back: “No, some of my relatives actually died on the ships.”
The Archbishop of York came in for criticism in 2014 – after he stripped a gay clergy member of his Permission to Officiate for tying the knot with his same-sex partner.
Hospital chaplain Jeremy Pemberton had defied a Church-wide ban on clergy entering same-sex marriages – but clergy not under Dr Sentamu’s jurisdiction have faced no action for doing the same.
London vicar Father Andrew Foreshew-Cain, who also tied the knot with his partner, was even elected to the Church’s governing body, the General Synod.