Justin Welby is the new Archbishop of Canterbury has been accused of being homophobic by gay rights leader Peter Tatchell. Welby, opposed to same-sex marriage, reacted to this by requesting an audience with Tatchell, who responded with,
“I applaud the archbishop’s willingness to engage in dialogue, all the more because he comes from the conservative wing of the Church of England. I hope our meeting is not mere window dressing and good PR for the church. I’m expecting more than tea and sympathy.”
Tatchell will attempt to convince the Archbishop to adopt what he calls a,
“…new historic compromise with the gay community.”
Welby leads the worldwide Anglican community, consisting of 77 million members. Tachell's attempt to build what seems like an impossible bridge will be done by appealing to the reasoning that discrimination is not a Christian value. Tatchell stated,
“The archbishop should therefore oppose all discrimination against gay people, including the ban on same-sex civil marriage.”
In spite of Welby's opposition to marriage equality, as well as opposition from the Church of England and leaders of the Roman Catholic church, the United Kingdom has passed marriage equality legislation allowing same-sex marriages.
Welby's extending what some see as an olive branch comes after a letter written by Tatchell on 20 March 2013. Welby responded to Tatchell, stating he wanted an opportunity to explain his positions in person, and not in the public media.
One of the issues Tatchell will be discussing with the Archbishop is what he referred to as,
“Anglican collusion with the persecution of gay people.”
This collusion, Tatchell wrote, is occurring in parts of Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Nigeria. Tatchell stated,
“While the archbishop is entitled to reject homosexuality as unacceptable, in a liberal democracy he is not entitled to insist that his religious beliefs are legislated into law by banning same-sex marriage ceremonies.”
H/T to Religion News Services.