The Equal Campaign issued the following press release today (1 February 2022).
Press release: re Archbishops’ statement for LGBT+ History Month 2022
February is LGBT+ History Month, and today the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have marked its beginning by tweeting a statement of support and acceptance of LGBT+ people .
The archbishops have issued such statements before, but perhaps none as clear and unequivocal as this one. It declares that all of us – including LGBT+ people – are loved by God unconditionally. It calls for our “diverse” churches to be open places in which all experience God’s love – communities in which we “truly value each other as God’s precious and beloved children”.
The Equal Campaign warmly welcomes this statement, to which we can say a heartfelt Amen. Some might quibble that it doesn’t explicitly say that LGBT+ people are part of the “everyone”, but that is clearly what it means – in the context there is no ambiguity or wiggle room.
In saying “Let us commit to building communities” of God’s unconditional love, the archbishops recognize that the Church of England does not yet fulfil the statement’s vision of inclusion and acceptance of all, and strongly imply that we need to pray and work for change. And there is indeed much work to be done, as the Church’s current practice is far from accepting, let alone affirming:
- Clergy in same-sex relationships who would love to be able to marry their partners, even in a civil ceremony, cannot do so for fear of the severe punishments they would incur – losing their jobs and their ability to work as priests.
- Gay people called to ministry have good reason to fear the selection procedure, where they may be subjected to intrusive questioning and required to promise to be sexually abstinent.
- Lay people in a conservative church may be thrown out of any lay ministry in their church if they come out as gay or trans. Not only that, they may be told they are sinful and put under great pressure to undergo forms of ‘conversion therapy’ – even though that abusive practice has been condemned by General Synod.
This is not a Church in which LGBT+ people can “live lives free from fear and find joy in the love of God”. There is indeed much work to be done. We hope the archbishops will use their authority and influence to start that work in practical ways and without further delay. It cannot wait for ‘Living in Love and Faith’ to be concluded: injustice and lack of love must be tackled now. General Synod is to meet soon; may it hear this call to action.
The Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England • 1 February 2022
“If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?” (James 2.15–16)
A PDF of this press release can be viewed or downloaded here.