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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby won’t give a ‘straight answer’ about gay sex

October 2, 2017
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 24: Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby speaks at a vigil outside Westminster Abbey on March 24, 2017 in London, England. Faith leaders came together for a vigil and held a one minute silence today following the terror attack on Westminster this week in which five people, including the assailant, were killed. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has declined to say whether he believes gay sex is a sin.

In an interview with Alastair Campbell for GQ magazine, the Anglican head refused to give a “straight answer” on his views regarding the issue.

The comments will disappoint LGBT campaigners who had hoped the Church of England was moving towards greater tolerance on the matter.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Asked by Campbell what his views are on the issue, Welby side-stepped the question, saying: “Do you know, we have done religion, we have done politics, why am I surprised we are on to gay sex?”

He continued: “You know very well that is a question I can’t give a straight answer to. Sorry, badly phrased there. I should have thought that one through.”

Pressed on why, he said: “Because I don’t do blanket condemnation and I haven’t got a good answer to the question.

“I’ll be really honest about that. I know I haven’t got a good answer to the question.

“Inherently, within myself, the things that seem to me to be absolutely central are around faithfulness, stability of relationships and loving relationships.”

When Campbell suggested those are characteristics of same-sex relationships, Welby responded: “I know it could be. I am also aware – a view deeply held by tradition since long before Christianity, within the Jewish tradition – that marriage is understood invariably as being between a man and a woman.

“Or, in various times, a man and several women, if you go back to the Old Testament.

“I know that the church around the world is deeply divided on this in some places, including the Anglicans and other churches, not just us, and we are – the vast majority of the church is – deeply against gay sex.”

He added: “I am having to struggle to be faithful to the tradition, faithful to the scripture, to understand what the call and will of God is in the 21st century and to respond appropriately with an answer for all people – not condemning them, whether I agree with them or not – that covers both sides of the argument.

“And I haven’t got a good answer, and I am not doing that bit of work as well as I would like.”

He previously wrote for PinkNews that gay people are no more sinners than other groups.

In an article co-authored with the Archbishop of York John Sentamu, he said: “There is no human being to whom this does not apply. Every single one of us needs to lay our burdens on Jesus.

“For every single one of us, the burden that is most onerous, most difficult to bear, is the burden of what the Bible calls our sin, our failure to live as we ought, our continued falling short of the mark.

“It is the universal characteristic of being human that we are sinners. Sin is not a characteristic of a particular group of people. Sin is the same for all of us.

“And the challenge to take onto ourselves the obligation to be yoked with Christ, to bear the load he gives us, is the same for all of us.”

More: alistair campbell, Anglican, archbishop of canterbury, Church of England, GQ, justin welby

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