Mugged on the Sunday Programme by Lynda Rose and Mike Davidson 666w" sizes="(max-width: 174px) 100vw, 174px" />

Lynda Rose

I was interviewed on the BBC R4 Sunday programme about the “Not gay! Ex-gay, post-gay and proud. Get over it!” advertising which Anglican Mainstream and Core Issues Trust had planned for London buses. Lynda Rose from Mainstream and Mike Davidson from Core Issues had been invited to present the conservative evangelical argument. At the end of the discussion I felt more upset than I have ever felt at the end of an interview. I think there were two reasons.

Mike Davidson

Mike Davidson calmly stated that all the qualitative scientific evidence demonstrates that people are not born gay. This is simply not true. The reverse is the case, and thank goodness Jane Little who conducted the interview had the evidence in front of her to challenge Mike’s statement. What upset me was that yet again, arrogant conservative evangelicals were challenging and threatening the core of my being. I know who I am on the inside, and every time they make a false statement about my identity, I wish I could tell them there is no more proof that either of them were born heterosexual.

But even more upsetting was that I was interrupted three times in the short interview by Lynda Rose and Mike Davidson, on each occasion just after I had begun to reply to a question. It was as if they couldn’t even allow me the space to present an alternative idea. I had to be mugged and threatened even before the words were out of my mouth. These are people who are used to abusing others, so arrogant that they can countenance no Christian opinion other than their own.

Anglican Mainstream is likes to issue threats. Canon Chris Sugden threatened to sue Rupert Schott, the author of a biography of the Archbishop of Canterbury, unless he revised a section of text when the book was issued in paperback.

The Independent reported on Friday that Anglican Mainstream and Core Issues have instructed Aughton Ainsworth, a Manchester-based law firm, to issue legal proceedings against both Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London and CBS Outdoor. Tom Ellis, instructed to represent the two groups told The Independent that he believed “there is clearly a legal claim for breach of contract and possible breach of my clients’ article nine and ten rights.”

Allan Craig from Anglican Mainstream said: “We’re going to throw the book at [Boris]. To have Boris’ jackboot stamp down on legitimate debate is ludicrous.”

I might agree with their argument about freedom of speech, but what makes me object to the very idea of their advertising campaign is the claim that some people are not gay but ex-gay and post gay. Anglican Mainstream and Core Issues Trust are not arguing for a listening process in the Church of England, which is  a genuine conversation open to the Spirit, willing to be guided to whatever new insights are opened up. They have closed minds. They are not asking for the freedom for those ‘troubled by their sexuality’ to be able to counseled out of their ‘false homosexual identity’. They want the entire Church to adopt an anti-gay policy.

Mike gave their game away in the interview – scientific evidence demonstrates people are not born gay, he said. Anglican Mainstream’s final solution echoes the Nazi’s – note Allan Craig’s reference to Boris’ jackboot. In the Mainstream Church gays can be eliminated.

Anglican Mainstream and Core Issues Trust believe that homosexuality is an abomination (Leviticus 20.13) and any man having intercourse with a man as with a woman must be put to death. They don’t carry out the instruction to kill, of course, but the danger of their homophobic campaign is that they kill the spirit of gay people. They believe homosexuality is a condition that can be healed because it’s a sickness, a perversion of God’s creation.

The majority of people in the UK and the majority of Christians in this country no longer see homosexuality as an abomination or a sickness. People have friends, family members and colleagues who are lesbian and gay, bisexual and transgendered, and know from personal experience that we are all members of the same human family.

The decision by Boris Johnson to ban the advert followed by Core Issues and Anglican Mainstream’s decision to take legal action has created a huge amount of publicity. Mainstream will of course claim that they represent mainstream Christian and Anglican teaching and opinion. British society has decided that this ‘orthodox traditional’ Christian teaching is offensive and intolerant, distasteful and divisive.

Excerpts from the Core Issues Trust Web Site

 “This is an online learning community for Christian men and women emerging from homosexual problems who seek to live according to Biblical standards and in fellowship with the church. The site is also a place to assist those who support such individuals with these goals, who believe changeis possible.The site distinguishes between non-gay homosexual (men and women with homosexual problems) and those who choose to identify as ‘Gay’ who embrace this lifestyle.”

A quotation from Elizabeth Moberly’s book, Homosexuality: A New Christian Ethic

 “To stop being a homosexual means to stop being a person with same-sex psychological deficits. This can only happen through the fulfilment of such needs and the resolution of any barriers to such fulfilment. Conversely it must be understood very clearly that to thwart the fulfilment of such needs implies that the person is forced to remain homosexual. A non-practising homosexual is still a homosexual. Sexual activity may not be appropriate to the outworking of the solution, but sexual abstinence of itself does not begin to meet the problem of the underlying deficits. Only the non-sexual fulfilment of same-sex needs may do this.”

 Being homosexual does not mean being gay…

“Today, new studies place the homoerotic drive in better perspective by showing us that it originates from the search for health and wholeness. Many homosexuals are attracted to other men and their maleness because they are striving to complete their own gender identification. From this perspective, we now better understand the nature of the homosexual person’s struggle. And with this understanding, we can offer more than tolerance, but–for those who seek it–hope for healing. More than civil rights, we can offer a way toward wholeness…

… the word “homosexual” is used in this book as convenient shorthand to denote “the man with the homosexual problem.” It must always be borne in mind that no man’s personhood can be reduced to a simple sexual identity”.

Interview begins at 34.30 in:


  1. Rosemary Hannah says

    Although I am sorry you were subjected to such rudeness and such unpleasant attacks, I think you came off by far best – that Rose and Davidson, by choosing to attack you,and trying to stop you speaking, broke the rules of civilised debate and everybody whose mind is not already closed will hear this to be so.

  2. Hazel Russman says

    What chiefly puzzled me when I listened to this debate was why all three speakers were so obsessed with the question of whether people are born gay or become so as a result of early childhood experiences. This may be an interesting question scientifically, but the religious issue is surely how people who happen to be both gay and Christian are supposed to live out this double vocation.

    One thing is clear enough: gay Christians have been praying for centuries to have their sexual orientation changed and God has almost always answered “No!”. So evidently He wants some of his people to be gay. How He goes about ensuring this, whether through genes, intrauterine environment, or upbringing, is surely His affair.

    It is not written anywhere in the Bible that our genes are God-given but our environment is not. However there is a warning somewhere in the prophets (unfortunately I can’t give chapter and verse) that a pot which says to the potter, “You must have made me wrong! You have no skill.” is on a hiding to nothing.

  3. Jim Turner says

    You say that “Anglican Mainstream and Core Issues Trust believe that homosexuality is an abomination”.

    This sort of statement is frequently made, usually about the attitude of Catholics to homosexuality. However, the point is misstated. There is no objection to homosexuality per se, but to unnatural sex acts, whether performed by a heterosexual or homosexual couple – that is the abomination.

    • says

      Hi Jim,

      I disagree with you about what is natural or unnatural, whether for a gay or straight couple. “Unnatural sex acts’ – what might they be, for heterosexuals and homosexuals? This must be something you have an expertise about, so perhaps you’d like to enlighten us – and let us know what natural sex acts are appropriate for both gay and straight couples.

      • Erika Baker says

        what the Roman Congregations actually said is ““although the homosexual inclination is not itself a sin, it constitutes a more or less strong tendency towards behaviour which is intrinsically evil, and thus the inclination itself must be considered objectively disordered” .
        And with this argument it has now been decided that no gay man should be ordained.

        They might not use the word “abomination” but it’s a far cry from saying that there is no objection to homosexuality per se.

  4. says

    Colin: solidarity! It was good to hear you speaking; thank you for being there.

    Interesting discussion on Peter Kirk’s blog, ‘Gentle Wisdom’:
    and a number of related posts too.

    My view is that our sexuality is fluid rather than fixed, so I have no problem with people declaring themselves post-gay/ex-gay, as long as others are free to declare themselves post-straight/ex-straight. What I object to is the self-righteous condemnation that’s so often thrown about, the unwillingness to accept difference, and the church’s Catch 22 that’s used to trap gays: you can’t have sex because you’re not married; you can’t get married because you’re gay. That and it’s hypocritical one-rule-for-clergy-one-rule-for-laity stance: utter farce.

    • Erika Baker says

      the problem with ex-gay and post-gay is that it persists with the myth that people can change if only they want to – and with the implication that they ought to want to.

      There ARE people who can switch, either throughout their lives or at some point in their lives. These people are called bisexuals. They are not gay or straight, or post-gay or ex-gay.

      In this debate it is vitally important for everyone that we get our terminology right.

  5. Graham Southgate says

    I couldn’t listen to much of the live broadcast since I was just about to begin my first Mass of the day. However, I’ve just listened to the discussion on the BBC iplayer. I suppose, from my point of view your victory was secured in your ten second reply to Mike Davidson when you said that “quality scientific evidence says just the opposite to what Mike has just said. People are indeed born gay . . . and this is a natural state for a minority of people” (35:41-52). FULL STOP!

    That said, because the interview went on we then heard Linda Rose accusing you of being “in rebellion” . . . an unwise and abominable thing for her to say. I suppose that you could have thrown back at her the conservative evangelical view of the place of women within the Church . . . but that would have been rude, wouldn’t it?

    OK, Colin, I can appreciate that to you it felt as if you were being mugged. Mike Davidson and Linda Rose were rude and disrespectful to you . . . but also to the Radio 4 listeners, who are generally not stupid people.
    If I was Mike or Linda then I suspect that (with sufficient humility) I would now be regretting getting out of bed this morning!

    Take heart!

  6. Christopher Bowman says

    Oh dear! I see beauty being taken out of creation.. I envisage a creator warped enough to create an alien species…? I am to rejoice in love being taken down to the love of genitalia.

    Have we not learnt anything? Are we not made in the likeness of God – be it male or female?

  7. Jim Turner says


    I think the phrase “it constitutes a more or less strong tendency towards behaviour which is intrinsically evil” refers to a tendency to indulge in unnatural sex.


    God created man and woman in such a way that what I would refer to as the natural sex act produces children. I think most people would immediately know what is natural and what is unnatural. It doesn’t necessarily mean children will be produced, of course.

    • Erika Baker says

      and yet, every single one of those non-procreative sex acts (I think that’s better word that unnatural, because they are all quite clearly natural) is as much part of heterosexual sex as of gay sex. And, gay or straight, not every couple engages in all possible acts available to them, despite fevered straight imagination.

      I have not noticed a massive campaign to proscribe what straight couples must and must not do.

      Double standards?

  8. Jacqui Clark says

    Colin – well done to you – I find it unfortunate that all Christians will get tarred with the same brush as Lynda and Mike. My main thoughts on this whole unfortunate exercise of theirs, and without trying to sound pious, I truly wonder how many starving children could have been fed by the cost of their abortive attempt to pedal their propaganda, is this really what Christians should be spending their energies and their money on?

  9. Jim Turner says


    I use the word unnatural because, as I pointed out to Colin, the way a man and a woman have been constructed by nature indicates the natural sex act. In other words that act derives from nature.

    With regard to what heterosexual couples do, again as I pointed out, any unnatural act is wrong. I assume the reason the point is not raised with regard to heterosexual couples is that there is an assumption (rightly or wrongly) that, in view of they way the male and female is made, they would normally indulge in what I insist on calling a natural act; whereas a homosexual couple cannot perform what I call a natural act.

    • Erika Baker says

      as the animal kingdom is also full of what you call unnatural acts I think we might have to differ in our definition of natural.

      Even accepting your definition, though, does not answer the question.
      To say that something is natural for those who are capable of performing it does not necessarily allow the deduction that those for whom it is not natural and who are not capable of performing it do not have viable alternatives open to them. If anything, logic would dictate that every couple does what is natural and possible for them.

      In any case, this mechanical approach to complex emotional relationships is so reductionist that it becomes completely meaningless to me.

      If you argued like the Catholic church that ties sex to procreation (although even they marry people of post childbearing age) I think you’d have some point. But as the CoE does not see procreation as the first and main good of marriage, I am not bound by Roman teaching. When sex becomes about love, companionship and an expression of the union between two people, then the slot in tab approach becomes irrelevant.

  10. Bill Drayton says

    I’ve been listening to the debate, and it is very revealing just how offensive some so-called Christians who talk about the grace and love of God can be. Lynda Rose showed herself to be an enthusiast in being particularly offensive to Colin Coward, simply because he stated that God loved him as a gay person and that He created him this way. I came out as a gay person last November. Previous to that, I was an evangelical Christian, who espoused the kind of teaching Lynda adhered to. Attack is the best of defence, especially if you are hiding behind a facade, too frightened to be exposed as the fraud you are – because deep down you are ashamed of something – your sexuality – which you have been taught is an abomination before God. That was where I used to be. As a consequence of the strain of hiding, I suffered two nervous breakdowns and felt depressed and trapped. Oh, and by the way, I have been on the receiving end of extremely unkind emails from former friends, who state that I have gone against God’s will. Do you know that it is not surprising that so many have left the church, because they could clearly see the hypocrisy. I have found one of the rare churches, where I am welcome as a gay person. I also have a future to look forward to, being with the one I love. He is also Christian. My ex-wife and I are on friendly terms. We have agreed on our legal separation which will take place next year. She has also said that she will be at my civil partnership ceremony whenever that may be and will give me away to my partner, whoever that is -even my present one! Lynda, this is God’s love in action! And you, and people like you, presume to speak for Him!!? I felt both sorry for you and angry as well. But that anger was tempered by the fact that I too must have been just as offensive to gay people. I look forward to the day when marriage can be between both straight and gay people and that those churches where there is a willingness to conduct gay marriages should be legally allowed to do so, and I believe that the majority of the population share that view. I believe that if the Church of England does not or cannot do so, it will be seen to be out of touch and anachronistic! Perhaps disestablishing it might be a way forward.
    I disliked two things about this debate -firstly not enough time was given for it, and secondly there needs to be much more rigorous control of how participants perform in that debate. Perhaps even vetting them beforehand, by having a short discussion between them to see how the dynamic works. Mind you, the BBC loves controversy, so they would not be interested in people being polite to each other. On the other hand, perhaps in a perverse way you can allow extremists to “hang themselves” by their own words. And by giving them exposure you are showing them to be who they really are – totally incapable of showing any respect for their “opponents”.

  11. Sophie says

    Colin, take comfort. You came out on top in this debate. I can imagine how miserable and cross you must have been at the end, but your opponents’ rudeness meant they came across poorly, particularly Lynda Rose. She presents herself as very calm and _extremely_ well-spoken, but when she tried to interrupt you, she revealed a somewhat less grand and much cattier voice. I found this little revelation amusing. She’s a bit of a Hyacinth Bouquet is Lynda Rose. 🙂

    Thank goodness for Jane Little, who stuck to the science and reminded the others of the evidence when they started making wild claims.

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