Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has been criticised for “affirming the validity” of a 1998 declaration which states that gay sex is a sin. 

Trigger Warning: This story discusses homophobic comments, which might be distressing to some readers. For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

The leader of the global Anglican church has sought to placate conservative bishops across the world in a once-a-decade Lambeth conference. The Archbishop spoke in front of over 650 bishops, stating that questioning the biblical teaching was “unthinkable.” 

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In his speech, Welby said that the 1998 declaration, also known as Lambeth 1.10 and is the church’s position on sexuality, was “not in doubt”. Lambeth 1.10 rejects “homosexual practice as incompatible with scripture” and “upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union”. 

Welby added that “for many churches, to change traditional teaching challenges their very existence.”  

Conservative Bishops Want Church To Affirm 1998 Declaration

Conservative church leaders including archbishop of South Sudan, Justin Badi Arama called for bishops attending the conference to support the 1998 declaration which would prevent the legitimisation of same-sex relationships and marriages under the church. 

Archbishop Arama spoke with Episcopal News Service stating that he and other conservative bishops  wanted to ‘bring the reaffirmation of 1.10 as any other business in the plenary,” but was refused by the organisers and have since decided to find support in “reminding people” of the 1998 declaration. 

Despite stating at the conference that a “large majority” of conservative Anglicans would not question biblical teachings as it was “unthinkable”, Archbishop Welby added that he would not challenge the teachings and services by churches that chose to conduct same-sex marriages.

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He also advised liberal churches that not updating traditional teaching could mean that they would also be a “victim of derision, contempt and even attack.” 

LGBTQI Christians Criticise Archbishop

Campaigners for LGBTQI+ rights within the church criticised Welby’s reaffirmation of the church’s conservative stance. Evangelical Christian and campaigner for queer rights Jayne Ozanne posting on Twitter , “Yet again priority has been given to saving a manmade institution over protecting LGBTQ+ people’s lives.” 

Ozanne added that Lambeth 1.10 encouraged ‘conversion therapy, which was  “a stick with which many will continue to be beaten & suffer around the world.” 

Episcopal and Anglican bishops in support of LGBTQ individuals within the church released a statement, recognising the hurt that LGBTQI people would have dealt with and that they sought to affirm the “holiness of their love wherever it is found in committed relationships.” 

“We therefore commit to working with our siblings across the Communion to listen to their stories and understand their contexts, which vary greatly. However, we will never shy away from tackling discrimination and prejudice against those of differing sexualities and gender identities.

Together, we will speak healing and hope to our broken world and look forward to the day when all may feel truly welcomed, valued, and affirmed,” the statement read.

 

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.





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