The Rev Peter Mullen. 66, chaplain to the London Stock Exchange and rector of St Michael’s Cornhill and St Sepulchre without Newgate in the City has hit the news this week as a result of comments he posted on his blog.
He wrote on his blog that homosexuality was “clearly unnatural, a perversion and corruption of natural instincts and affections” and “a cause of fatal disease”. He recommended that “It is time that religious believers began to recommend … that homosexual practices be discouraged “after the style of warnings on cigarette packets”. He wrote: “Let us make it obligatory for homosexuals to have their backsides tattooed with the slogan SODOMY CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH and their chins with FELLATIO KILLS.”
In the same blog, Mr Mullen also called for all gay pride parades – which he brands “obscene” – to be outlawed.
In an earlier posting, he wrote a poem condemning the blessing of two gay priests at the so-called “wedding” which the Rev Martin Dudley performed at St Bartholomew the Great in the City in June 2008.
The poem begins
“The Bishop of London is in a high huff,
Because Dr Dudley has married a puff;
And not just one puff – he’s married another:
Two priests, two puffs and either to other.”
“Of such Dr Dudley a goldmine has found,
From shaven-head puftas the nuptial pink pound.
“The new Church of England embraces diversity,
A fresh modulation on ancient perversity.”
The Bishop of London condemned the postings, which have since been removed from the blog, as “highly offensive”. A spokesman said: “While clergy are entitled to their own personal views, we recognise that the content of this text is highly offensive and is in no way reflective of the views of the Diocese of London.” A source at the Diocese said the chaplain may now face a disciplinary inquiry over his comments. The source said: “These comments are now being looked at internally within the Diocese and he faces disciplinary procedures.”
Peter Mullen was summoned for a meeting with church officials on Friday and told he could face disciplinary action.
Ben Summerskill, Stonewall’s chief executive, said: “If I was a member of the Stock Exchange I would be wondering whether he is the right person to be chaplain in the opening years of the 21st century. We have talked to one or two gay people in the City and they would be perfectly happy if he were to go.”
Peter Tatchell of gay rights group OutRage! demanded that Peter Mullen resign. He said: “As a chaplain, Rev Mullen ought to be a spiritual guide to all employees of the Stock Exchange. Given his quite outrageous homophobia, not only would lesbian and gay employees feel unable to approach him but even heterosexual staff would find what he said deeply offensive and off-putting. He should resign or be sacked. If he was mocking black or Jewish people in a similar vein, the Stock Exchange would instantly remove him and the Church would relieve him of his duties. He is not even fit to be a parish priest.”
Peter Mullen commented and insisted that he meant no harm, and made matters even worse for himself. He said: “I wrote some satirical things on my blog and anybody with an ounce of sense of humour or any understanding of the tradition of English satire would immediately assume that they’re light-hearted jokes. I certainly have nothing against homosexuals. Many of my dear friends have been and are of that persuasion. What I have got against them is the militant preaching of homosexuality.”
There was nothing light-hearted in what he wrote. To describe homosexuals as being ‘of that persuasion’ and to judge gay people for ‘the militant preaching of homosexuality’ fails to understand that homosexuality is normal for a minority of people, that LGBT people face militant preaching against us from extreme conservatives in the church, and that minorities have to work actively against prejudice and homophobia.
The Revd Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, said:
“On his blog, Peter Mullen has revealed his own prejudices. He works in the Diocese of London where a large percentage of the clergy are lesbian or gay, and in a society which has transformed social attitudes towards lesbian and gay people in the last ten years. He has articulated what many people in the church still think and feel about gay people.
“He shows why the work of Changing Attitude is so necessary. His attitude is at the extreme end of intolerance and prejudice. Changing Attitude works to bring people together across the divide in the church to enable those holding different theological views to at least develop respect for LGBT and affirm that the kind of prejudice expressed by Mr Mullen is unacceptable to all Christians.”