Conservative Christians challenge 'Queering the Church' event at Newcastle Cathedral

Newcastle Cathedral is being challenged over its participation in a forthcoming LGBT festival by hosting a panel discussion controversially titled 'Queering the Church'. 

The panel brings together Church of England curate Rev Bingo Allison, who identifies as a "non-binary genderqueer transgender person", as well as Proud Catholics founder Isabel Hill, bisexual curate and LGBTI activist Rev Dr Rae Caro, and "queer Christian" Karen Pollock. 

They will lead a discussion on moving the Church "beyond tolerance to inclusion" on Sunday 21 July as part of Northern Pride Festival, a three-day LGBT event taking place across Newcastle. 

Colin Hart, director of The Christian Institute, questioned why cathedral authorities had allowed the panel discussion to go ahead.

He said: "The message of the Gospel is that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. Instead of repenting of sin, this festival celebrates it.

"Anglican doctrine is that homosexual acts must be repented of. The Cathedral authorities and the Bishop of Newcastle don't seem bothered.

"In a place of worship, and even at a Holy Communion service, there is to be what amounts to a blasphemous celebration of sexual activity outside marriage.

"The event seems designed to mock the orthodox Christian belief that sexual activity is exclusively within the confines of marriage."

Lee Gatiss, Church Society director, was similarly critical of the event. 

"There are better ways of rejoicing in the diversity of humanity — by proclaiming the joyful news of eternal life for every one of us who repents, turns away from our sin and turns to Jesus instead," he said.

"Bring back the cross, the symbol of his kingdom. That is the banner under which Christians gather. But God says, "pride comes before destruction."

The Queering the Church panel is one of several events involving the cathedral during the Northern Pride Festival. 

On Saturday, the cathedral will host a Pride Eucharist with Rev Allison.  On Sunday, an LGBT History Telling event will take place prior to the panel discussion.