Archbishops George Carey And Desmond Tutu Removed From King's College London Display In 'Gaystapo' Row

Students at King's College, LondonReuters

Former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey was "fully supportive" of the decision to remove his portrait from the front of King's College, London.

The college, one of the top academic institutions in the world and part of the University of London, was accused of giving in to a "gay-stapo" because Lord Carey is known to take a conservative Christian line on the subject of gay marriage.

The portrait of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who supports gay marriage and whose own daughter relinquished her job as a vicar to marry her female partner, has also been removed, as has that of Sir Michael Howard, former leader of the Conservatives, who led the party's decision to support civil partnerships.

The picture of Lord Carey of Clifton was removed after a five-year campaign by students who opposed his views on gay marriage led by Ben Hunt, student union president who took part in the review of the static portraits last year.

 In an article on Conservative Woman website, King's College lecturer Niall McCrea and Rev Jules Gomes, pastor of St Augustine's Church, Douglas, on the Isle of Man, say: "For a prestigious institution of Christian heritage to allow this campaign to claim victory is worrying.

"To label Carey a homophobe is to enter the theatre of the absurd. The Established Church does not restrict membership or ministration of sacraments to a holy huddle of Hallelujah criers who sign a confessional statement. By law, an Anglican cleric is required to minister to every soul within the parish. He or she does not choose who enters the sanctuary, but must hatch, match and dispatch all and sundry - extending to an avowed atheist (or a gay Christianity-basher). Indeed, it is commendable that clergy do this with great compassion – albeit sometimes torn between their own convictions and the imposed whims of modernisers."

They say that no cleric in his diocese, or later when Carey became Archbishop of Canterbury, felt marginalised because they were gay and in 2003 Carey admitted to ordaining two bishops who he suspected were gay, despite adhering to orthodox Christian belief that "sex should be restricted to monogamous heterosexual marriages".

They also note that Carey successfully pushed for ordination of women in the Church of England and, to the disillusionment of Christian and secular conservatives, is a recent convert to the cause of assisted suicide.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey has in the past expressed his opposition to 'practising homosexuality', such as at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

"Carey is not homophobic, but his name has been tarnished by a 'Gaystapo' that refuses to acknowledge that a clergyman cares for all, while maintaining a traditional view of marriage," state McCrea and Gomes in the article, was reproduced in full by Times Higher Education.

A King's spokesperson told Christian Today: "In 2015 a review of our window display policy across all our campuses was undertaken by representatives from External Relations, the Students' Union and Alumni Relations. It was agreed that the current static displays, which are costly to maintain, or change, did not capture the diversity of our university community and that this should change. The decision was taken that we should expand the breadth of content to include the achievements of our students and staff.

"The first digital screens, launched in July 2016, now bring to life examples of research breakthroughs and student and staff successes, as well as the contribution of our renowned alumni. In order to make space for the screens next to the prominent Strand campus entrance, a number of static portraits, including those of Lord Carey, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Sir Michael Howard, were removed. The individuals were notified in advance and expressed themselves fully supportive. Further digital screens will be rolled out when we move into Bush House in September 2017." 

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who supported the campaign to remove Dy Carey's image, told Christian Today: "Somewhat reluctantly I have concluded that removing Dr Carey's image is the right thing to do. No university should celebrate a public figure who fought so hard against gay equality. Dr Carey endorsed legal discrimination against our community.

"He opposed an equal age of consent, same-sex civil marriage in register offices and the right of gay couples to foster and adopt children. I would equally oppose the display of an image of alumni who advocated discrimination against Christians. Discrimination is anti-human rights and is not a Christian value."

Lord Carey, an alumnus of King's, declined to comment.

The campaign to get him removed became public last year. At that time, Carey said he was "entirely relaxed" about the idea of the college changing the portraits on its building, but did warn of an implied threat to free speech.