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.
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“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.”
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.