Today the Daily Mail reports that the Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Rt Revd Mark Davies will say in his sermon at the midnight mass this evening:
“We think of the ideologies of the past century, Communism and Nazism, which in living memory threatened to shape and distort the whole future of humanity.
“These inhuman ideologies would each challenge in the name of progress the received Christian understanding of the sanctity of human life and the family. Winston Churchill, Britain’s wartime prime minister, a man without clear, religious belief, saw in this deadly struggle nothing less than the defence of Christian civilisation.
”Few of our political leaders today appear to glimpse the deeper issues when the sanctity of human life and the very identity of marriage, the foundation of the family, are threatened.”
Last week, in his annual Christmas speech to the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI attacked marriage equality and said people were manipulating their sexual orientation to alter God-given nature.
There evil in the Church. The Bishop of Shrewsbury and the Pope are both proclaiming a toxic, evil interpretation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so angry this Christmas at the outrage being perpetrated by these Christian leaders who are intelligent people of faith and are at the same time incapable of understanding the wickedness of their attitude to lesbian and gay love.
Our love, our fidelity, our faith, our desire to marry, to make a lifelong commitment to our partner, to receive God’s blessing, to be affirmed by Church and society, is no different from heterosexuals seeking the same thing.
These are Catholic priests, so the Church of England might think itself free from criticism. But we are all part of the One Holy Catholic Church and if Church of England bishops don’t publicly dissociate themselves from the evil ideas of the Pope and the Bishop of Shrewsbury, then they allow toxic ideas to flow unchallenged.
It’s too much to hope for Church of England bishops to comment, isn’t it, because to criticise their Catholic brothers would damage ecumenical relationships.
Staying silent, saying nothing, is no longer acceptable. The preaching of such toxic ideas is seen by people with a healthy understanding of the glorious variety of God’s creation as the evil it is. In Nigeria and Uganda and elsewhere, the indifference at best and enthusiastic support at worst by Anglican bishops for the anti-gay bills allows rampant homophobia to spread, leading to violent and sometimes murderous attacks on LGBTI people. In the UK, the Church of England continues to argue for an inferior status in Church and society for LGB&T people.
I simmer with frustration and anger most of the time at the moment following the inability of General Synod to pass the women in the episcopate measure and the Church of England’s woeful response to the government’s equal marriage legislation.
In 2013, I expect more bishops to have the guts to say that LGB&T people are created equal in the sight of God and are equal in love and sexual desire to straight people. I expect bishops to denounce those who state that my relationship threatens the sanctity of human life, the very identity of marriage, and the foundation of the family.
The Nazis perpetrated evil against gay men, sending them to the gas chambers with the Jews. We are living in evil times again when a bishop, any bishop, likens the introduction of equal marriage to Nazism and describes it as an ideology which will distort the whole future of humanity.
I expect not simply a robust denunciation of Shrewsbury’s ideas but a transformation of every Church of England bishop’s understanding of human sexuality and human love and pray they are given the guts to proclaim the truth about same-sex love.