Current Affairs

Archbishop of York claims it’s ‘not acceptable’ to ask Christian politicians about gay sex

Nick Duffy June 16, 2017
bookmarking iconBookmark Article

The Archbishop of York has said interviewers who asked Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron about gay sex “should be ashamed of themselves”.

Mr Farron, a devout Christian who led the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats party, resigned this week after a poor showing in the general election.

In his leaving speech the leader said he has found it impossible “to live as a committed Christian” while leading a liberal party, referencing repeated questions about his views on homosexuality.

The Lib Dem leader had evaded multiple questions about his views on gay sex across a number of TV and radio interviews during the campaign.

Tim Farron
Tim Farron (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, an opponent of LGBT rights, spoke out this week to defend Mr Farron.

The Archbishop has led the movement against married gay clergy within the Church of England.

In 2014, the religious figure stripped a gay hospital chaplain of his Permission to Officiate for tying the knot with his same-sex partner.

In a subsequent legal challenge, the Church asserted its exemption from LGBT anti-discrimination protections in the Equality Act.

Writing for the Telegraph, he claimed: “The pre-election hounding of Tim Farron was not acceptable. In interview after interview we were given the impression that his private views on gay sex were in the forefront of the Lib-Dem campaign.

“His tormentors should be ashamed of themselves. It is much to be regretted that he has now concluded that a leading role in politics is incompatible with his Christian faith.”

He added: “Politicians, like the rest of us, live in the here and now, en route to an ideal world. I haven’t done a tally of Christians in Parliament, but I think it’s very possible that their representation is higher there than in the population at large.

“They and their colleagues will have been prompted to stand for election by a desire to work for the common good, even if they differ from one another on how that might be accomplished.”

The Archbishop hit out at the press for failing to acknowledge Mr Farron’s need to “compromise” his faith in talking about the issue.

He wrote: “When Christians engage with politics their consciences are going to be bruised. They will be imbued with a vision of the Kingdom of God and at the same time will have to compromise, daily.

“Cynics, and I include some media interrogators among them, choose to ignore this painful compromise; they posit only the stark, unrealistic and inhuman alternatives of perfection or hypocrisy.”

Dr Sentamu previously suggested that Mr Farron was not qualified to talk about the issue, after the politician claimed he did not consider gay sex a sin.

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

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.”

Click to comment

Swipe sideways to view more posts!

Dismiss

Loading ...