Church of England suffers from 'serious institutional homophobia', says bishop


A prominent bishop has claimed the Church of England suffers from "serious institutional homophobia" and still has toovercome ignorance.

Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham, who has a high public profile and is active on social media, predicted that homosexual marriage among the clergy will become the norm and one day, people will wonder what the fuss was about.

Wilson told Pink News: "Christians believe God is love and those who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. But, you may say, churches have a funny way of showing that sometimes.

"We still have a legacy of serious institutional homophobia, inertia and ignorance to overcome. Fact is, however, where people dare to think things could be different, think things through without prejudice, there is hope."

He offered his "congratulations to all who have got married in the year, or who have converted their civil partnerships" in 2014 and called on Christians to pray for gay clergy who had taken advantage of new legislation to marry their partners, setting them against Church discipline.

He said: "Some gay clergy are now married. In very few years people will wonder what the fuss was all about. But for it's a path that calls for considerable courage and determination. So please spare a thought this Christmas for them. If you're the praying sort, do remember LGBTI people searching for hope at home in those churches that just don't get equality."

He added: "A new generation of evangelical Christians (is) rethinking the implications of their faith in a far more truthful, just and generous way. At the same time, around the world, there are many places that are anything but safe for gay people".

The Church of England is currently examining the issue through its "conversations about sexuality".

Earlier this week the Archbishop of Canterbury sidestepped the issue on BBC Radio Four's Desert Island Discs. Asked why he opposed same-sex marriage in the past, he said: "I'm really not going to answer the question very well because we're now into conversations within the Church, both globally and locally, and I think if I weigh in at this stage it's inappropriate."