Changing Attitude’s submission to the House of Bishops Review Group is now available here. It has been a collective effort by the trustees and director and expresses our core conviction, held in the depths of our hearts and the prayerfulness of our souls, that we, together with tens of thousands of LGB&T Christians and the hundreds of thousands who are our friends, know the truth of our identity in Christ. We know that we are deeply, intimately and infinitely loved by God as LGB&T people, because God has created this way.
We believe the need for a radical change in Christian attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) people is now urgent. We present a challenge to the members of the review group – are you going to advocate that the Church of England recognises the reality of the presence of LGB&T people in the Church or are you going to maintain the present culture of secrecy, denial of reality, suppression of identity and the unhealthy attitudes in which many LGB&T Christians remain trapped?
The Church of England already incorporates lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people at every level of church life, single, celibate, in relationship and in civil partnerships. We are members of congregations, lay ministers, readers, ordinands, deacons, priests and bishops, staff members in diocesan offices and at Church House. It is time for the Church formally to acknowledge and welcome our existence.
Synopsis of our key arguments:
- The need for a radical change in Christian attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is urgent.
- The Church of England already incorporates lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people at every level of church life, single, celibate, in relationship and in civil partnerships.
- We are all born with healthy spiritual and sexual potential. We ingest messages about wrongness, and cut off or repress part of ourselves because of the shame these messages cause us, becoming less whole and less holy.
- LGB&T people are now effectively fully integrated in society – with the exception of some faith communities.
- Equality law, employment legislation, immigration rules and civil partnerships have dramatically changed the status of LGB&T people in British society.
- Hostility to the full inclusion of LGB&T people from parts of the Anglican Communion have made it impossible for the Church of England to respond in a thoughtful and appropriate way to the changed landscape of British society.
- Failure to produce a report which moves beyond Osborne in responding to the dramatic changes in society and the experience of LGB&T Christians would be a disaster for us and for society’s perception of the Church of England.
- We reject the idea that anyone who is gay needs treatment. Ex-gay ministries present dangers to the spiritual and emotional health and well-being of LGB&T people.
- Services of thanksgiving and blessing should be allowed in church and an authorised liturgy developed for the blessing of civil partnerships.
- Traditional Biblical attitudes to homosexuality are deeply damaging to the emotional and spiritual health and well-being of LGB&T people. The prevailing understanding of the Biblical view about homosexuality is unsustainable.
- Same-sex relationships, whether contracted civil partnerships or a covenanted relationship, can demonstrate creativity in relationship, further couple’s health and growth towards maturity, values found in the marriage bond.
- Public perception of the Church of England is that it is characterised by a prejudiced obsession with homosexuality.
- LGB&T Anglicans have low expectation that the Church will speak truthfully to us or about us. We experience it as incapable of formulating adult, appropriate pastoral relationships with us.