Former Conservative minister Lord Tebbit has described his local pastor as a “Sodomite” after finding out he was gay.
Norman Tebbit, a former Thatcher minister and Chairman of the Conservative Party, is a long-running opponent of LGBT rights.
The 87-year-old peer grew upset over the weekend when he discovered a dean at his local church, St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds, is gay.
Tebbit has vowed to snub ceremonies at the Church of England cathedral overseen by Rev Canon Joe Hawes.
Speaking to his local newspaper, the East Anglian Daily Times, Tebbit described the clergyman as a “Sodomite,” using a Biblical anti-gay slur.
He said: “The cathedral has taken this decision and I disapprove of it but what I do wish to impress is that I shall not cease my financial support to the Cathedral as it’s going to be there long after the dean and I are gone.
“I just don’t see how he can decently read the marriage service. I stand by what is written in the Bible, which is the basis on which the Cathedral was built.
“It says the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God. It cannot be a sin to be born homosexual. It is what one is.
“What I can’t accept is the activity. I use the expression sodomite.”
Speaking to the Mail, he added: “I find it difficult to accept a sodomite as a member of the clergy who will, for example, be called upon to conduct marriage services. I will struggle to attend if he is officiating.”
A spokesperson for the Cathedral said: “It has been clear for more than a decade that clergy are entitled to be within civil partnerships. Lord Tebbit is welcome to his views.”
Gay Conservatives have called on Theresa May to expel Tebbit from the party in the wake of the row.
Former Conservative activist Ivan Massow told the Mail: “Theresa May needs to [expel him]. You can’t hold Jeremy Corbyn to account for anti-Semitism and not hold your own party to account.”
Out Tory MP Crispin Blunt added: “I expect St Edmundsbury Cathedral will bear its loss with equanimity. Lord Tebbit may have a disagreeable surprise at how many cathedrals he has self-excluded himself from.”
Tebbit recently warned that air pollution may be making people transgender in a Telegraph column.
He claimed transgender people were a new phenomenon, writing: “I cannot recollect any such individuals among my fellow pupils at school, nor in my intake for National Service in 1949, nor so far as I know among my children’s generation at school.”
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He added: “I think it is time we had some research into the extent of the phenomenon both in time and geographical reach.
“I do not know if the populations of third world or of urban or of rural societies are more or less affected.
“Nor is it known if it is only our species or others living alongside us which have been affected, but that knowledge might point to a trigger such as pollution, which is the belief of some scientists.”
He said: “[I think that] to be a homosexual cannot be a sin because that is what God has created, but it is perfectly sensible to argue that a homosexual act is a sin because that is what the Bible has said from the time of the Old Testament through the New Testament.
“So therefore, as a Christian, should you dump all that and still call yourself a Christian? It’s a bit doubtful.”
He added: “I opposed gay marriage because it is fundamentally not what marriage was set out to be.
“I don’t like this way of proceeding by simply changing the meaning of a word. We’re doing too much of that.”