Gay Christian campaigner calls for public inquiry into evangelical teaching on sexuality

(Photo: Unsplash/Teddy Österblom)

Jayne Ozanne, who is campaigning for LGBT equality in the Church of England, has called for a public inquiry into evangelical teaching on sexuality.

In an article on ViaMedia, she claimed that orthodox Christian teaching on human sexuality was a safeguarding issue that should be the subject of a public inquiry similar in nature to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

She said it was "harmful" to tell LGBT people that being in an intimate relationship with someone of the same sex was "wrong and sinful".

Church leaders and bishops who condone this teaching are guilty of "gross negligence", she claimed.

"Make no mistake about it, Church of England, this sort of teaching is wrong, harmful, dangerous and must be stopped," Ozanne wrote.

"What is it going to take? Another young person deciding to take their life? Another set of statistics and reports that tell you what you already know but refuse to admit, that you cannot try and appease all sides in this debate?"

She continued: "That is why I believe the time has finally come to call for an independent inquiry into the harmful practices and rhetoric that LGBT+ people are being subjected to in our society, and by certain religious groups in particular.

"It needs to be led by a QC who can hear the evidence of the trauma that people have gone through, and continue to go through, by those in positions of influence and authority over them." 

The call was made in response to a new video resource, "Beautiful Story", released by the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) last week which presents the evangelical perspective of sexuality and features the testimony of gay celibate Christians. 

"Beautiful Story" was created by the CEEC to be used in response to the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) process exploring Christian perspectives of love, sexuality and relationships, the resources for which were launched earlier this month. 

Ozanne called the video a "30-minute piece of evidence that clearly sets out the harmful teaching to which many evangelical churches are subjecting their congregations – including their LGBT+ congregants – to."

"Please just stop and think for a minute what it must feel like to be a young LGBT+ teenager growing up in these churches, wondering who they can trust with the knowledge that they are 'different', that they are, heaven forbid, gay or bisexual or trans and being asked to watch this," she said. 

Responding to her criticism, the CEEC rejected calls for a public inquiry and said its video reflected the Church of England's own teaching. 

A spokesperson for the group said: "Jayne's call for an independent inquiry into evangelical Christian teaching on sexuality is puzzling since evangelical Christian teaching on this issue is simply orthodox Christian teaching - it is the Church of England's own teaching, and indeed that of all the major denominations around the world, and has been for the last 2,000 years.

"Our video about the beautiful story of Christ and the church contains input from LGBT Christians through the thoughtful, gracious and brave contributions of several people who are themselves same-sex attracted, and was made with their help and input."

"Beautiful Story" can be watched here: