The Common Good

Archbishop of Canterbury Slams Christians Who Feel `Disgusted’ about Homosexuality

LONDON — Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams criticized some Christians for feeling so "embarrassed and ashamed and disgusted" over homosexuality that they seem unwelcoming to outsiders and convey a lack of understanding.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

Related Reading

Take Action on This Issue

Circle of Protection for a Moral Budget

A pledge by church leaders from diverse theological and political beliefs who have come together to form a Circle of Protection around programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world.

Addressing a group of Christian teenagers at his Lambeth Palace residence in London, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion said Anglicans and other Christians are still in "quite a lot of tangles" about homosexuality. The confusion sometimes leaves the church "scratching its head and trying to work out," Williams said.

His comments came barely two weeks after he slammed the British government for its plans to legalize same-sex marriages — something that Williams said would be a mistake. The Anglican Communion itself has been deeply divided over homosexuality. The Episcopal Church, the communion's U.S. branch, allows gay bishops and sanctions same-sex commitment ceremonies, while more conservative leaders in Africa strongly denounce homosexuality.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Williams said that "what's frustrating is that we will have Christian people whose feelings about it are so strong, and sometimes so embarrassed and ashamed and disgusted, that it just sends out a message of unwelcome, or lack of understanding, or lack of patience."

"So whatever we think about it," Williams added, "we need, as a church, to be tackling what we feel about it."

Williams, who is retiring as Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of this year, also spoke about the upcoming Church of England Synod, in York, England, next week, where the controversial issue of women priests is expected to take center stage.

Such much debate has resounded over that one subject, the archbishop said, that the impression is left that sex is "the only thing the church is interested in."

Williams also told his youthful audience that some non-Christians might consider Christians to be "weird," "mad" and "primitive."

"As somebody who doesn't spend all his time with other Christians, I'm quite conscious, too, of the fact that people think we are weird," Williams said.

Al Webb writes for Religion News Service. Via RNS.

Image: Mark William Penny/Shutterstock

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)