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Gay Church of England deacon: I tried to pray the gay away

Nick Duffy July 11, 2019
Church of England deacon Jide Macaulay

Church of England deacon Jide Macaulay (BBC)

Gay Church of England deacon Reverend Jide Macaulay has spoken out about the anti-LGBT views that still dominate the church.

The gay clergyman is fronting a BBC documentary,  Too Gay for God?, which airs on Thursday (July 11).

Macaulay is one of a number of gay members of the clergy who are in same-sex relationships, but remain officially banned from getting married or having sex with their partner.

Those who defy the Church’s rules in order to get married have faced removal from their posts.

Church of England deacon Jide Macaulay: I tried to pray the gay away

In the documentary, Macaulay explains: “I’m very happy with both sides of who I am, but I’ve arrived at a crossroads. As a minister I can be openly gay, but actually having sex with my partner is strictly forbidden.

“The church says I can have a boyfriend, but we have to remain celibate. We can never get married in the church, and if I go ahead and marry him anyway, I won’t be allowed to keep my job as a clergyman.

“To me, that is a great disservice and discrimination against same-gender loving individuals.”

I was determined to pray my homosexuality away.

The deacon’s same-sex partner currently lives in Nigeria, and has not been named for his own safety because being openly gay “could cost him his freedom or even his life.”

Macaulay was previously married to a woman, and explains he was “determined to pray my homosexuality away.”

Three years after getting married, Macaulay suffered a breakdown and came out to his wife, which led to an “acrimonious” separation.

Church ‘declined to take part’ in Too Gay for God? documentary

Bishop of Buckingham Alan Wilson, a strong supporter of LGBT+ inclusion within the Church of England, spoke to Macaulay for the documentary.

He said: “I very much hope that one day it will be [accepted].

“If a life of stability and love and commitment is good for human flourishing, why would it not be good for you, because you’re gay? I don’t get that at all.

“The text says all God’s promises are yes and amen. If God’s promises to you are anything less than that, then we’ve misunderstood God. That’s why it matters.”

Church of England deacon Jide Macaulay (BBC)
Church of England deacon Jide Macaulay (BBC)

Macaulay reflected: “Things won’t change overnight, especially in an institution as old or as powerful as the Church of England I know I am not too gay for God, but perhaps I am too gay for this religious institution.”

The Church of England declined to take part in the documentary, but a spokesperson told the BBC: “Churches must be places of welcome for everyone, irrespective of their age, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or anything else.

“While the Church of England understands marriage to be between a man and a woman, we recognise there are different views, especially given the legalisation of same-sex marriage in this country.”

Too Gay for God? airs at 22:35 on July 11 on BBC One.

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