Evangelical Christian reported to police for hate crime over Living in Love and Faith comments

Rev Alex Clare-Young (r)

A transgender priest has reported an evangelical Christian to police for hate speech over comments he made in a video responding to the Church of England's Living in Love and Faith process.

Rev Alex Clare-Young, who transitioned from female to male and is married to a woman, Jo, are ministers in the United Reformed Church. 

The promo video for Living in Love and Faith opens with Clare-Young accompanied by Jo speaking about being a transgender priest.

"I do expect people to respect me but I don't expect people to know what to do with me.  Some people might never have met a trans person before," Clare-Young says.

In a response video for Christian Concern, Ben John of the Wilberforce Academy challenged the Church of England's decision to open the LLF video with a trans priest, and called transgenderism a "false ideology".

"In reality if transgenderism is a false ideology, which it is, then what we're actually seeing here is a lesbian couple," he said.

"This man isn't really a man. She's a woman. So whilst the Church of England might say yes we haven't changed the doctrine of marriage, they have changed the practice.

"Not only that, they were both clergy. These weren't lay people. These were leaders in the church. Should we be ordaining transgender people? Is this the message we want to be sending?"

Clare-Young has reported John to North Yorkshire police after Christian Concern refused a request to remove the video. 

A police spokesman confirmed that the complaint is being investigated as a hate crime, The Times reports. 

"I'm not trying to exclude people who identify as conservative evangelicals with a traditional view of scripture. I don't want anyone to be excluded, but neither do I want anyone to exclude me," Clare-Young told the newspaper.

"I felt that [his comments] were leading to personal harm to myself, my wife, and the others in the video. It feels as if he is denying LGBT people the right to be involved in Christian worship. It describes me and my wife as being in a same-sex marriage, which isn't true. It made me feel very unsafe."

Christian Concern has defended the video.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said in a statement: "Everyone should simply watch the video. There is nothing abusive about the video we released relating to Living in Love and Faith.

"Our motivation is always one of love for God and for people. The video does not contain personal attacks and simply calls on the Church of England to uphold its Biblical understanding of sex and gender.

"It is, in fact, revisionists in the church who have resorted to personal attacks by waging a campaign of intimidation to try and silence people in the debate. This is neither edifying nor honest.

"Anyone who genuinely seeks to uphold traditional Biblical teaching, no matter how gently it is put is castigated by slur and name-calling. The interest appears not to be in engaging in genuine Biblical reflection, but rather in using this as a tool for getting their own way."

CORRECTION: The original headline incorrectly stated that an 'evangelical minister' had been reported to police for a hate crime.  Ben John is an evangelical Christian, not minister, and the headline has been corrected to reflect this.