|Head of Church of England, Archbishop Justin Welby (source)|
African Christians will be killed if church accepts gay marriage warns Anglican leader
He was asked by one caller as to whether the Church of England would accept same-sex marriage after it was legalized.
Welby replied, "The impact of that on Christians in countries far from here, like South Sudan, like Pakistan, Nigeria and other places would be absolutely catastrophic and we have to love them as much as the people who are here."Basically, he's saying that although it pains him in the middle of the night to see the mistreatment of LGTBI people in Britain, he has to balance that suffering with the kind of persecution Anglicans may receive in African states where being gay is illegal.
This comparison is pretty odd on this front alone, but what's really odd is how he seems to completely ignore the plight of LGBTI people internationally.
I'm sure Welby is a smart man - he was made head of a major international religious organization. So I can only imagine that he must be aware of the dreadful treatment of homosexuals in places like Nigeria or Russia - where they are stone to death and beaten in the streets. Surely that would change his calculus?
I don't really know what to make of him simply leaving these people to suffer and die when regional church leaders often use the positions of organizations like his to justify ongoing persecution.
Savi Hensman on his blog over at Ekklesia asks the same question that hit me.
I do not doubt his sincerity. However in the interview he failed to acknowledge the even greater suffering of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) Christians in some non-western countries, and the responsibility of certain church leaders there for stoking up violent hatred, which may have backfired.Amen!
Perhaps Welby is more worried about the future of his Church than the future of LGTB people in the UK and all across the world. Perhaps he doesn't want a schism similar to the internal conflict that struck the church regarding women clergy.
One bishop, the head of the Uganda Anglican Church, has already more or less threatened they'd leave if the C. of E. ever endorsed gay marriage.