Collusion, dishonesty, ignorance and stupidity are the marks of the House of Bishops

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York

In today’s Guardian, Andrew Brown reports that this week’s House of Bishop’s meeting in York concluded without agreement on whether gay clergy should ever be allowed to be chosen for promotion to bishoprics.

Well, this is just the most stupid, dishonest, corrupt outcome imaginable. Did not one of the gay bishops have the courage to say to his brothers, hang on, I’m gay? Did not one of their friends in the House have the courage to say to the gathering, hang on, some of you may not know who among us is gay, but I have several good friends in this room who are gay?

I feel so angry that it’s hard to know where to begin. There are some bishops who are naive, ignorant, and plain stupid, because they are still unaware that the Church of England ordains gay men as bishops, and some of the ‘conservative, Bible-based’ bishops will have laid hands on these men and assisted in their ordination.

There are other bishops whom I have come to know well, supporters and friends of Changing Attitude, who by their silence at the meeting are colluding with the prejudiced, ignorant mind-set of conservatives, betraying their friends who are gay in the House of Bishops and abandoning the truth and their own integrity.

As for +Rowan and +Sentamu …. well, if +Rowan really did shout and lose his temper at last year’s Southwark meeting, leaving several members of the crown nomination committee in tears, then I hope it shows that +Rowan himself is finding the utter dishonesty and false secrecy impossible to handle.

Someone has leaked what Andrew Brown describes as ‘an anguished and devastating memorandum’ written by the Very Rev Colin Slee, Dean of Southwark Cathedral before his untimely death from pancreatic cancer. Colin, a good friend of Changing Attitude and totally committed to the integrity of LGBT people in the church, charges the church with hypocrisy, stating that there are several gay bishops “who have been less than candid about their domestic arrangements and who, in a conspiracy of silence, have been appointed to senior positions”. He warns: “This situation cannot endure. Exposure of the reality would be nuclear.”

I could name a number of bishops who are gay, including several appointed in the last 12 months. I’m sitting here this morning wondering whether I should, knowing that to do so is not in accord with my Christian ethos.

The hierarchy of the Church of England are corrupting Christian truth and faith and integrity by allowing themselves to be manipulated and controlled by conservative evangelical and catholic forces and opinions which, the longer they are not confronted, will tear the Anglican Communion apart, not over gay clergy, but because lives are being destroyed for the sake of false belief.

The nuclear button has been hit, and the integrity and fidelity to God of every member of the House of Bishops and especially of both Archbishops, is now on the line.

Comments

  1. David says

    Colin – why is not naming the bishops you know to be gay against your Christian ethos? Surely, bringing truth into the light only helps, because it makes us real rather than pretend. Why do we feel a need to protect men who through their own cowardice and fear perpetuate the myth in the minds of the church hierarchy that the leadership of the CofE is a ‘gay-free zone’?
    This just brings to mind super-injuncitons – so thank God for Twitter!
    I think we all just need to get over the idea that we’re helping anyone by allowing them to cower inside a closet, and by so doing oppressing many, many others – not just in this country but around the world.
    SPEAK UP!
    David.

  2. Erika Baker says

    The integrity and fidelity to God of every member of the House of Bishops has always been on the line. The only difference is that now, their shabby behavious has become public once again.
    Nothing will change. Some more liberals will leave the church, some more people will be disgusted with Rowan Williams. No Bishops will come out as gay – having just experienced what happens when you do! Conservatives will be delighted and will have gained power.
    After a few weeks of fuss, church life will return to normal.

  3. Kate says

    *Chokes on breakfast* —– did you say “several” appointed in the last twelve months? Is the C of E so unable to do the right thing that it needs the services of Twitter to get it to tell the truth?

    If everybody knows the extent of the hypocrisy, someone will expose it: and my money’s on social media, not Christian values to get it out there. And if it happens that way, it’ll be another moral failure for the church to add to the pile.

  4. Laurence C. says

    If you have incontrovertible evidence, Colin, just go ahead and do it. I don’t know if it’s the Christian thing to do but it’s certainly the moral thing to do. And these men will thank you for it eventually.

  5. says

    I have been a loyal Anglican all my life, and I hope to remain so, but I repeatedly find myself astounded and embarrassed by the behaviour of my church’s hierarchy. I don’t want to see the church of which I have been pleased to be a part of for over 50 years tear itself apart but fragmentation has gone on for years and is at the core of our history. The C of E has progressed slowly, sometimes hampered by its constitution and position as an “established church” with all the legal baggage that carries with it. All too often, I fear the slow speed is because its leaders cannot bring themselves to make clear decisions, sometimes because they don’t even understand their own authority.

    When George Carey asserted that the 1993 interim arrangements for churches to opt away from the ministry of ordained women would continue on a permanent basis he overstepped his authority and sowed the seeds for future difficulties with which we continue to wrestle. The Church of England has a synod based structure and regardless of what former Archbishops of Canterbury may have said, future synods may decide to review and change decisions of earlier ones. Indeed it is to be hoped they will, because the 1993 “sticking plaster” that has just about held for the past 18 years is no longer sustainable.

    Schism is undesirable but when it is avoided only by compromising the ministry of groups such as women and LGBT people, it is time to admit that some differences are irreconcilable. I regularly try to defend my church from many outside who point to its all too obvious flaws. It has always been true, but it is time now to act upon the quote of Jesus which St Matthew provides: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
    Only by applying these above all other ideas can we make progress. Some may argue that showing love to those with radically divergent view means compromise and over matters of detail, that might sometimes be desirable. However the church has to decide if the ministry of women and those who are gay is acceptable or not and as it has decided that it is, there is now no place for their work to be compromised, making the organisation look ridiculous to those outside.

  6. David Austin says

    Thanks for sharing this.. It is a sad situation requiring prayer, both for the ABC & deferred Gay candidates – Bring healing Lord rather than ‘righteous’ condemnation !!
    It reminds me of a conversation I had yesterday with a student whose Jewish family were killed in the concentration camps – two of her Jewish Great Uncles saw the unfolding situation, hid their Jewish identity & actually enlisted as Nazi party members & became guards in the camps. They were never discovered & survived the ordeal – but at what cost to themselves & others…?!

  7. Graham Ward says

    I can understand Colin’s hesitancy to “Out” anybody, and hate to think of the self-righteous vitriol that would be thrown at Changing Attitude should he go down that route. But some well placed unattributable leaks? Quick, before the superinjunction…

  8. says

    Outing bishops, or even an archbishop (as has happened) achieves very little: ‘my sexuality is a grey area’ hardly moves things on. OutRage, for example, has tended to limit outings to those who have compromised themselves by issuing homophobic statements (though I guess one could argue that the imposition of – a selected reading – of ‘Issues in Human Sexuality’ has made the CofE institutionally homophobic) but CA has always refrained from outing others and if you have been outed yourself you will understand why: it is violent and, in some instances, a betrayal of trust. In any case CA’s role is to win the argument by argument not by pressure tactics, but if the leaks continue in this vein they will do that for us very nicely!

  9. Laurence C. says

    “No Bishops will come out as gay – having just experienced what happens when you do!” Erika Baker

    If by that you mean loss of career, wife, ‘friends’, home, title etc. then the short-term gains in them coming out do appear to be non-existent and so disclosure is, perhaps, unlikely to be initiated by the person himself. As someone who has done this (not in the church) and is partnered to someone who did it within the church, my experience is that the longer-term emotional benefit to the individual and those close to him is, ultimately, worth many times the apparent initial loss : which is why I say that if the truth is told by Colin these bishops would live to thank him. (I would have written this gender-neutral if there were already women bishops).

    @Melanie – yes, the organisation looks ridiculous – and toxic – to me, as an outsider.

    @ David Austin – I call Godwin’s Law – but I agree wholeheartedly with the comment “but at what cost to themselves and others?”

  10. Christopher B. says

    It is amazing how time has a habit of moving on & peoples circumstances change! I was once an ordinand of the Church of England.. at the time not in a relationship – but open and honest about my sexuality. I was put through hell… by a Church for being in touch with myself & for having integrity! I was made to go and see Councillors undergo therapy (not I might add by my College Authorities). Sadly – a door was slammed in my face in my third and final year. I left college with my integrity intact – small fare! Suffice it to say a clergyman who at that time was an advisor to the then ABC.. had invited me out to dinner.. A very pleasant evening ensued.. We both went our own ways after the meal. But I am still appalled to this day – to have a card sent to me.. stating how my friend’s evening continued / spent in a cottage! A married man with children! Now on the bench.. Oh dear! Upon reflection.. I may contemplate if I wish to be associated with such persons / institutions.. I do not have much time for organised religion these days… And there are a good many more stories I can tell… Why do people / who dwell in glass houses…. ? Indeed I think the CofE needs to examine itself very closely indeed.. I guess a good third of its clergy are gay & most of them as you might expect acting out their sexuality. Wake up call needed!

    • Jeremy P says

      “my friend’s evening continued/spent in a cottage! A married man with children! Now on the bench..”

      I am wondering which is the more shocking; that he was clearly cheating on his wife on a regular basis – boasting about it in a card hardly sounds like a “moment of madness” a la Turnbull, or that he is now on the bench of bishops. Either way it stinks.

  11. Erika Baker says

    Laurence
    The long term spiritual benefits from coming out are immense, I agree.
    But, having done it myself, the price you pay within the church is horrendous. My wife and I were catapulted from feeling to be a core part of our parish to being relegated to its outer margins. The sense of betrayal can be overwhelming. There is a natural confidence that is, potentially, forever lost. And if you are a priest or a bishop and your whole professional, spiritual and private life revolves around the church, the potential actual and emotional loss can be unmeasurable.
    There are not many among us who can give up so much in one go. Some of the wounds and diappointments will go deep and last a lifetime.
    I wish everyone had the courage to do it but I can’t honestly blame the ones who don’t.

    The ones I do blame and the ones I’m angry with beyond belief, are our straight liberal supporters who will sympathise in private but never ever speak out in public. If all of them suddenly remembered where their moral focus should be, the gay issue would be solved over night, at least in the CoE.

  12. Mike Homfray says

    The time has come to out those who remain silent while others are persecuted. This IS homophobia . If Colin doesn’t want to ‘do’ it then someone else should. But enough of allowing these mice to hide whilst braver people are thrown to the Lions

    • Richard Taliaferro says

      I do not see how the Church of England can untie this knot unless it confronts the misintpretation of Scripture by its Evangelical wing and the obsession with tradition by its Catholic wing.

  13. says

    No doubt about it, +Rowan and his accomplices are very good at manipulating truth to get what they think they must have– since they are such experts at deceit I suggest they put their pointy heads together and REPENT and COME CLEAN! Certainly not much of any order for those who insist on GODS WILL (from the rest of us)!

    The jig is up!

  14. clairejxx says

    As a transsexual Christian, excluded from ordination by my previous bishop; I was honest in answering the question as to ‘what my husband did’, with ‘it is not my husband but my wife’, (I was married to a woman but perceived to be a married woman by the director of ordinands who reported my honesty to the bishop). I chose not to lie and consequently was considered to be unworthy of being a minister of Jesus, I wonder what he thinks about his bishops. I have just completed a PhD, part of which studied the etiology of transsexuality which I suggest has a pre-birth biological dimension, whatever, I was made the way I am by God; who is a bishop to judge God’s creation as being less than? Why do bishops prefer lies to honesty, I thought that their role is to teach Christian truth including the commandment about false witness. I am only a simple thinker.

    • says

      It’s good that you have commented here Claire, reminding us that trans people are also affected by this oppressive church culture. I’m wondering too whether it was the fact that you were a same-sex couple that was the issue as much as your being trans.

        • says

          Dear Claire, would you be willing to contact me via the email on this website to discuss your case further? It would be good for me and my fellow Trans Trustees to have a record of experiences of the discernment process such as yours

  15. Colin Coward says

    I’ve read all the comments and am conflicted personally about whether bishops who are known to be gay should be outed. As Director of Changing Attitude, the guidance from trustees (and Tina has commented above) is that Changing Attitude does not out people. I will go a step further, however, and say that I would confidently name 13 bishops as being gay, meaning over 10% of bishops in England are gay. How any of the 13 live with themselves, their inner world and truth, in the aftermath of yesterday’s revelations, I can’t imagine.

    • says

      Peter Tatchell’s 1995 defence of outing gay bishops can be found here -http://www.petertatchell.net/lgbt_rights/outing/catalyst.htm
      It did not lead to any ongoing change in church culture. and, if anything, the situation is far worse now.
      I’ve just watched the clip of Bishop Robinson being heckled at St Mary’s Putney in 2008 when he was unable to be, as he wished, an openly gay bishop at the Lambeth Conference. How can other gay/partnered bishops standby and allow him and Jeffery John to singled out in this way? How can they countenance self-oppression of this kind? Painful as it is to witness or reflect on it is their problem and they need to address it: I appeal to them to be brave (how do we know that people were not open about themselves in the HoB discussions? Unlikely, but not impossible) and to all sympathetic bishops to resist any exemptions to the Equality Bill.

  16. Erika Baker says

    It’s not just about the individuals concerned. In case of the married bishops an outing would also destroy their wives and possible children. I don’t think any of us have the right to do this to people.

  17. A.N.Other says

    Regardless of position for or against openly gay priests being preferred to episcopal office, I need to say that I am deeply disquieted at the manner of CA’s attitude and behaviour, and also of the leaking of Colin Slee’s communications. This behaviour in itself, quite apart from the injustices it is seeking to highlight, is quite unChristlike and most unseemly. I do hope you will take some time to reflect on the modus operandi CA is using and the deeper damage and disunity you are creating within the body of Christ.

    Whatever is holy?
    Whatever makes for peace?
    Unity?
    Bear with one another?
    Forgive?

    Do any of these mean anything when we have blogs to write? … I wonder!

    • Changing Attitude says

      @ A. N. Other

      On a point of information: you seem to be suggesting that CA leaked Colin Slee’s memorandum – actually, that’s not the case. The full text has been widely available online since released by the Guardian journalist Andrew Brown.

      I leave others to judge for themselves whether the events described by Colin Slee were powered by a church intent on ‘holiness, peace, unity and forgiveness’.

  18. A.N.Other says

    My apologies for lack of clarity. “…and also” was meant to link that as an activity alongside your own reporting on this, not suggest you were responsible for it. The whole sorry picture which is being laid out in this fashion does nothing towards anything which is good.

    For me the final straw was in your reporting of the number of bishops who you believe to be gay, whether they are married or not and whether they are diocesan or not. There aren’t that many to choose from, and all you are doing is encouraging idle gossip and playing god with people’s lives. Surely it is for them to choose how, when and where they say whether they are gay or not.

    I see nothing of Christian virtue in how this debacle is being played out. It is nothing more than useful material for reporters and bloggers.

    there are other ways to attend to the injustices perceived and the unChristlike behaviours which are being reported by senior staff. We all need to strive for the good of the body of Christ and build one another up, not tear one another down.

    • Changing Attitude says

      “Surely it is for them to choose how, when and where they say whether they are gay or not. ”

      That is our position – and actually we’ve taken quite a lot of care in moderating this morning *not* to allow people to be outed by accident or design by posters to this forum.

      It’s easy to see the thing that you don’t yourself want to happen as ‘unchristian’. But either way, the memo is now out there, and will be inevitably widely discussed by people of all shades of opinion. Including bloggers. Needless to say, producing dynamite blogs is not CA’s primary aim: if it was there are many, many more things we could say which do not reach these pages.

  19. Sapphire says

    A. N. Other
    You can’t build on top of what’s rotten.
    Sometimes you have to tear down and clean the ground before you can start to build.
    Even Jesus said so.

  20. Erika Baker says

    A.N. Other
    so CA and supporters of lgbt people being absolutely outraged at this systematic exclusion of a hugely qualified man is un-Christian and deserves reproach, but the actions that led to our outrage are to be forgiven in the spirit of peace and unity?

    Would you not say that you have your priorities upside down here?
    Christians are supposed to stand with the oppressed, not call on them to tolerate the oppression.
    Yes, we are meant to love our enemies, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t acknowledge that they act against us and that we can’t criticise them for it.

    I also note, once again, that the one speaking out against us here does not have the courage to sign with his/her own name.

  21. Laurence C. says

    “That is our position – and actually we’ve taken quite a lot of care in moderating this morning *not* to allow people to be outed by accident or design by posters to this forum.”

    I can confirm this. Having deduced who one, possibly three, of the bishops are, my comment noting this was withheld by the moderator. Fair enough – it’s not my blog.

    @Erika – total agreement with your last post.

    Re. your earlier post and speaking only from personal experience (and that of my partner’s) – neither our wives nor eight children were “destroyed” by our coming out – hurt and upset in the short-term, yes – but a few years on and they are all far happier to know their father/ex-husband for who he really is than the faux-straight one that was permanently depressed and no-one knew why. Once the initial shambles was sorted out, we were all set free by the truth, rather than destroyed by it. I see no reason why the same shouldn’t apply to the closeted bishops under discussion.

  22. A.N.Other says

    I’m afraid the argument that “well they’re being bad so it’s ok for us to be bad too in order for us to teach them a lesson or rebuild the system” isn’t really a good argument!

    Has there been injustice? Has there been bad behaviour from bishops and archbishops? Of course there has. what is our response to that? to be outraged? Yes! To behave in a manner which makes for peace? Yes. To stir up more of a frenzy and wash the dirty laundry in public? No … I don’t think so.

    Why hide behind an anonymous moniker? Perhaps the reasons why are my own. Perhaps it is not for you to decide whether I have reasons to hide or not. Perhaps it’s not for us to be suggesting just how many bishops are or are not gay? It’s gossip mongering … it’s not changing attitudes in a Christlike manner!

    Set the bar of a higher standard, don’t fall into the trap of becomming the rubbish you’re trying to sweep!

    • Changing Attitude says

      The whole drift of the argument here has been about the destructiveness of lies and secrecy and the constructiveness of truth. Why is that ‘being bad too’? (Something about Walter Wink and unmasking the powers now passing through my head…)

    • Changing Attitude says

      A PS: Colin Slee:

      “It remains true that the only thing of which Jeffrey is guilty is honesty which I have always believed to be a Christian virtue. The danger, several years down the line, is that there are bishops who have been unquestionably less than candid about their domestic arrangements and who, by a conspiracy of silence, have been appointed to senior positions. It is in the nature of things that this situation cannot endure…”

  23. Erika Baker says

    Laurence
    I’m sure you and your partner thought carefully about what coming out would mean to your families and that you took great care to do it as lovingly and constructively as possible.
    That’s not the same as if, before you were ready to do it yourselves, someone else had outed you, publicly, without giving your family time to adjust and to deal with their own feelings before having to face the world.

    And I don’t know to which extent your and your partners life was bound up in the church. All I can say, based on my own life, is that I would never expect someone else to go through what I discovered after we’d come out. I respect people who do it, but I would never force it on anyone.

    I’m glad you had a positive experience. Ultimately, so did my family. But there is still a lot to regret, a lot of pain. And we don’t know whether those bishops would react more like you or more like me.

    A.N. Other
    If you read my posts again you’ll discover that I am against outing Bishops.
    I still think that anyone with the slightest bit of human emotion should be able to understand why lgbt people are really hurt by the revelation that their own ABC has sought legal advice to make sure that none of them ever become bishops and has bullied others into supporting him.
    Whatever your own position may be, if you don’t agree with gay people in church positions, this is still the time to allow people to be hugely upset and not to criticse them for shouting a bit.
    Stomping our feet here is nowhere near as appalling as what the other side as done, is it.

    As to you having reasons to remain anonymous. They all do! And they’re always very insultingly critical of gay people on liberal fora. If you really want to be respected, you’ll have to show the courage of your convictions that so many here display every singly day in their own lives.

  24. Jeremy P says

    @A N Other – I think one of the things that CA wants to challenge very strongly indeed is the whole idea that there is anything wrong at all with being gay and Christian. The nonsense of this is that a faithful partnered bishop – in a civil partnership or indeed a same-sex marriage (should we get that option) could and would be, in the view of CA, as good a leader and focus for unity in the living out of a Christian life for a diocese as a heterosexual bishop.

    Getting really hung up about people knowing who is gay (even though we won’t be outing them) only goes to show that underlying all this is a really sick sense of false shame – an internal homophobia. Thirteen gay bishops – fine! What is not fine is the Church of England bishops pretending that there is something wrong with this, and bishops who in private do not think there is anything wrong with being gay and partnered not having the courage to start to say so and to alter the terms of the current debate. Oh, and the other thing that is wrong are the ones who either now, or in the past, have cheated on their wives, any more than a man who cheated on his wife with another woman.

  25. Laurence C. says

    “I’m sure you and your partner thought carefully about what coming out would mean to your families and that you took great care to do it as lovingly and constructively as possible.
    That’s not the same as if, before you were ready to do it yourselves, someone else had outed you, publicly, without giving your family time to adjust and to deal with their own feelings before having to face the world.” Erika Baker.

    True. Though neither my partner nor I had unelected seats in the legislature where we attempted to prevent equality for LGBT people.

    I see little ethical difference between some members of the Commons fiddling their expenses, rightly being exposed for it and taking the consequences, and the outing of some of these appallingly hypocritical bishops in the Lords. I’m not a Christian so could be considered an outsider to this debate – as a citizen of this country, however, I will be affected by the anti-gay efforts of the bench of bishops when, for example, I predict they will work to block and delay marriage equality legislation. Disestablish the CofE and remove the bishops from the Lords and I couldn’t care less what they all get up to – as we stand, I’m a stakeholder in this debate whether I like it or not.

  26. Erika Baker says

    Laurence,
    I absolutely agree with you. While I don’t believe in outing people I certainly do not respect the ones who are closeted. To have people who tolerate the systematic abuse of honest gay people and who spout pious claptrap about faith and following Christ (!) in their roles as Bishops is nothing short of scandalous and deeply reprehensible.

    And I do believe that, should those people ever be actively engaged in blocking equality legislation, or even in trying to stop lgbt equality in the church, there is a huge case to be made for outing them and showing them up for what they are.

    But as I don’t know who they are I can only hope and pray that they are not engaged in the lgbt debate at all and that they at least try to live a decent life. It still impacts badly on us, but not as much as active support of gay bullying would.

    • Changing Attitude says

      Archbishop Cranmer, to protect, with hindsight, individuals who we have no wish to identify as gay. My own transparency and openness has caused at times deep distress for my partner and myself and I have no wish to be the agent of distress for others. A N Other and yourself are amongst those hiding under the cloak of anonymity, and contribute to maintaining a culture in the Church of England which is deeply compromised and allows dishonesty and abuse to infect the life of the Church.

      • says

        Revd Colin,

        His Grace has no axes to grind and nothing to conceal. To be frank, he had never heard of you (or Changing Attitude) until the ubiquitous ecclesial vermin wrote an article on the subject of your post which drew His Grace’s attention to the issues you raise.

        You say: “As Director of Changing Attitude, the guidance from trustees…is that Changing Attitude does not out people.”

        Insofar as your unredacted comments have indeed ‘outed’ (for those who can simply put two and two together) four bishops and seven suffragans, will you be resigning as Director of Changing Attitude for breaching your own Code of Conduct? You appear to be unaware that Google cache and a myriad of other mechanisms store original comments for retrieval in virtual perpetuity. His Grace could post all of your original comments upon his blog tomorrow, and 100,000 would read them over the next month. The source would be you – unequivocally. You appear to have acted with neither sensitivity nor discernment: you have written naively, without the slightest consideration of the consequences of your words. And you have the zealous gall to parade such a crusade as a righteous pursuit of truth and justice.

        • Changing Attitude says

          Whoever is the person styling yourself Archbishop Cranmer, you are playing games, hiding behind a pseudonym without the courage to write or post and give your true identity. Shame on you, sir, abusing the reputation of your namesake. If you have nothing to conceal, then post using your real name.

          The problem doesn’t lie with me or with Changing Attitude. The problem lies with a Church in which it is unsafe for 13 adult men to reveal that they are gay (not even if they are celibate and have been celibate all their lives, which some certainly aren’t and haven’t been).

          The problem lies with people like you and groups like Anglican Mainstream whose campaign against LGBT people in the Church which repeatedly seeks to malign our integrity (as Canon Chris Sugden did yet again on the radio this morning) poisons the culture of our Church.

          If the culture of the Church was as honest and transparent as the culture elsewhere in our society, where it is illegal to discriminate against employees on the grounds of their sexuality, we would not be having this exchange. The Church culture is not transparent and honest, it is driven by a small minority who are obsessed, for whatever reason, with homosexuality and what people get up to sexually. It is unhealthy and it is destroying the Church step by insidious step.

          My secular friends are astonished that it is in the Church of England, of all places, where lesbian and gay people are treated with prejudice and contempt and where men who are mature and adult are forced by obsessive witch-hunting conservatives to keep their sexual orientation secret, sometimes constructing a careful façade behind which they can hide. I admire and respect some of these bishops who have been personally very supportive and whose ministry is godly and creative.

          At the same time, I am deeply frustrated, because to be gay is not something to be ashamed of, as it was when I was an adolescent. The Church of England embarrasses and shames me because our Archbishops and bishops attitude to gay people induces shame and guilt. They fail to confront those who are poisoning our Church with their prejudices. The presence of gay bishops in the Church becomes, as a result, something to hide as if in shame. The House of Bishops should be ashamed of this level of immaturity and so should you, pseudo-Cranmer.

          • says

            This is a curious response which does not answer His Grace’s rather specific question. He’ll put it simpler:

            Contra your own code of conduct, you have outed 4 diocesan bishops and 7 suffragans. Is that not a resigning matter for the Director of an organisation which professes to be sensitive, and which has a policy of not forcibly ‘outing’ the homosexually-inclined?

            To attempt to turn this into an attack upon His Grace is a deflection which says rather more about your own lack of integrity than it does His Grace’s ‘abuse’ of anything.

            But, for the record, you allege that His Grace has a ‘campaign against LGBT people in the Church (and) repeatedly seeks to malign (your) integrity (which) poisons the culture of our Church.’

            What is your evidence for this allegation?

          • Mike Homfray says

            No-one has outed anyone here but if anyone wishes to let me have the names – I am no longer in the church – then i will happily out every last one

  27. Edmund Bonner says

    Adrian Hilton aka Cranmer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrian_Hilton) is a rejected Tory candidate for Slough. He was deselected by the Conservative Party in 2005 for his anti-Catholic bigotry after making unsubstantiated allegations that the EU is the result of a Catholic conspiracy, he also claimed that former PM John Major, guilty of an act of treason for signing the Maastricht Treaty, was the dupe of a Roman Catholic conspiracy to impose Vatican sovereignty over Britain. Hilton’s blog http://archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.com is packed with his particular brand of soteriology and is frequented by a small number of similarly inclined cult followers to whom he preaches and of whom he refers to as ‘communicants’.

    Hilton maintains that he does not delete critic’s comments, however a cursory view of previous posts shows the truth of this statement, this persecution complex usually results in those who oppose his crystallized world view as liars and bigots.

    For all their faults the Tories got something right.

    • says

      Mr Bonner,

      His Grace is deeply shocked that this CA thread should be used to inflict such‘violence’ upon anyone by forcibly attempting to ‘out’ them against their will. But you are wrong on so many counts that your interjection is scarcely worth responding to. His Grace will leave Mr Hilton to respond for himself or instruct his lawyers. But the specific allegation that you make against His Grace in the deletion of comments is fatuous. If you read His Grace’s ‘bottom line’ which is clearly displayed upon his blog, his policy is clear. And there are thousands of highly critical comments (indeed, today’s thread begins with one). That you appear content to quote Wikipedia as an authoritative source says far more about you than it does the matter you seek to address. And as for being followed ‘by a small number of similarly inclined cult followers’, 102,000 per month is by no means a ‘small’ readership: if you believe that His Grace’s blog constitutes a ‘cult’, well, your comprehension of Christian theology and Anglican ecclesiology is obviously deficient.

      • Edmund Bonner says

        Isn’t it frustrating when you can’t delete posts Hilton, can’t shut up opposition like a pupil in say, a Slough classroom, or an adverse comment on your blog? I didn’t ‘out’ you, that was done years ago by your favourite journalist Damian Thompson in the Telegraph; remember
        http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/8716603/Cranmer_on_Jade_Goody_the_creepiest_blog_post_of_the_year/, that has got to sting.

        Yes I know your predictable response is to deny, reject and belittle. Of course if you are not Adrian Hilton then all you have to do is stop using the ridiculous avatar ‘Cranmer’, tell all who you really are and correct Damien’s misinformation, Simples!

        ‘Cranmer’ says that 102,000 visits doesn’t make him a small cult, he must be a big cult then, can’t argue with that. Hilton, a claim to the number of supporters has never been justification for planet sized egos or bigoted ideas

        Now it’s your turn to tell us all why you intend to keep the alias. What’s with ‘His Grace will leave’ … there has to be something wrong with someone who refers to themselves in the third person … yawn!

        (This comment has been edited by the moderator)

  28. Julie says

    As a lesbian, and a Christian I have now left the Church of England, precisely because of all this hypocricy. I cannot bear all of this inhouse fighting and squabbling.any longer. If anyone has their feet on the ground then its the Quakers. At least here I feel acceptance, and a sense of peace.

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