- Church of England’s statement on sex spectacularly backfires as even their own parishes say they disagree.
LGBT+ people and allies lined up to mock Church of England bishops over the weekend after they tried to insist only married heterosexuals should have sex.
The Anglican bishop’s latest ‘pastoral guidance’ says marriage should only be between ‘a man and a woman’. And it adds that only married men and women should have sex. Being in a civil partnership doesn’t count.
But LGBT+ people have responded by sharing their stories of having sex with Church of England vicars.
‘Personally I’ve had four’
Gay journalist Patrick Strudwick responded: ‘The Anglican priest I had sex with did not appear to agree with this.’
But Tom PositiveLad went one better.
He asked followers on Twitter: ‘Hands up who hasn’t knobbed/ been knobbed by a Church of England vicar? Personally I’ve had four.’
He later Tweeted: ‘Forgive me father for I have rimmed.’
David Fincher replied to PositiveLad: ‘I’ve had two come to think of it. The first one had his wicked way with me when I was 22 and took me to my first gay sauna.’
And Dominic Davies, CEO of Pink Therapy, had his own story.
‘I remember having sex with a priest in Russell Square gardens [formerly a London cruising spot] one Easter Good Friday! He’d just come from Mass!’
Meanwhile, Brian Green on Twitter said: ‘There are loads of gay vicars in the Church of England. Angels in the pulpit, but devils under the duvet. More tea vicar or a stiff one if you’d prefer something stronger?’
Bishops say sex 49 times but don’t mention love once
While people joked about vicars ‘taking their vests off in the pantry and their pants off in the vestry’, others had a more serious take on the issue.
Theologian Andrew Graystone pointed out: ‘The bishops of the Church of England have issued 1,600 words of “pastoral guidance” on marriage and civil partnerships. The word “sex” appears 49 times. The word “love” does not appear once.
‘Whatever else this document is, it is not pastoral.’
Meanwhile charities also lined up to condemn the Church of England’s homophobia.
Saving Lives UK, a sexual health charity, said the bishops’ comments are ‘harmful’.
They added: ‘People will always have the sex they want, but now they they’ll feel like they’re doing something wrong and will be less likely to seek help or testing when needed.’
Christians show compassion in face of bishops’ hate
But while the weekend has seen a queue of people condemning the Church of England’s statement, the most damning backlash came from other Christians.
Our Lady and St Nicholas, the Anglican parish church of Liverpool, rubbished the statement from their own bishops.
They said: ‘Please ignore anything you read in the press about the Church of England and civil partnerships.
‘Instead come to our “Early Valentine” choral service at 6pm on 2 February. We don’t care if you are gay, straight, married, single, CP-ed, etc. We’ll still offer you a glass of wine afterwards.
And other denominations joined in too.
The Unitarians said: ‘If God had wanted gay marriage she would have created love. And she did. And so we celebrate that love by offering marriage to all couples.
‘God doesn’t care much what we believe. She cares that we love.’
Is the Church of England killing itself?
Many have said the bishop’s statement is a death-knell for the church, making it less and less relevant with younger generations.
However, the Anglican church still has millions of followers in some of the countries in the world with the most vicious anti-LGBT+ laws.
In particular it is strong in the likes of Nigeria, Uganda and Jamaica where Anglican clergy are often promote homophobic hate.
And it is likely anti-LGBT+ religious leaders there will embrace the bishops’ statement and use it to further justify their own attacks on the community.
As if to the prove the point, homophobic US preacher Franklin Graham was one of those who welcomed the bishops’ statement.
He said: ‘I appreciate the church taking this strong stand with the Word of God, which is truth.’
Graham has labelled homosexuality an ‘abomination’. He also supports ‘conversion therapy’ to turn gay people straight, even though all respected expert bodies agree it doesn’t work and is harmful.