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Archbishop of York: Tim Farron is ‘not qualified’ to say whether gay sex is a sin

Nick Duffy May 8, 2017

The Archbishop of York has criticised media organisations for asking Lib Dem leader Tim Farron about gay sex.

Tim Farron, the leader of the pro-European Liberal Democrat party, came under fire last month in a row over gay sex.

In an interview with Channel 4, Mr Farron was asked if he believes gay sex is sinful, but refused to answer the question. He dodged the same question in multiple interviews for a full week.

The row was eventually put to bed in an interview with the BBC, when Mr Farron explained he doesn’t think gay sex is a sin.

Archbishop John Sentamu

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr over the weekend, the Archbishop of York John Sentamu suggested that Mr Farron was not qualified to answer the question.

He said: “If he has expressed a view on homosexual people, of course he should be asked. If he’s expressed no view, I don’t think anybody is of right to interpret and read the mind of the person. As Elizabeth I said, we do not have a window into people’s souls.

“Tim Farron expressed a view and they were pressing and pressing and pressing.”

The Archbishop said: “He hadn’t expressed a view… somebody’s trying to fish, and they’re taking him into the realms of theology.

“Is he qualified to comment on those realms of theology? I’m not so sure.”

Archbishop Sentamu claimed that if Mr Farron had suggested that gay sex should be a crime, he would be vocally opposing his comments.

The claim is surprising given the number of hardline churches within the global Anglican Communion who do support the criminalisation of gay sex with little recourse.

In an interview last year, the Archbishop himself refused to say whether he thinks it’s a sin to be gay.

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.

“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.”

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.”

The Archbishop of York came in for criticism in 2014 – after he stripped a gay hospital chaplain of his Permission to Officiate for tying the knot with his same-sex partner.

More: Archbishop, Archbishop of York, Gay, John Sentamu, LGBT, Religion

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