UK News Electronic Telegraph
Wednesday 21 January 1998
Issue 971

Evangelicals say sorry to homosexuals
By Victoria Combe, Churches Correspondent

External Links

Church group opposes homophobia, but upholds traditional position - Evangelical Alliance press release, 20 Jan 1998

Evangelical Alliance

Gay Christians home page

How to be a gay Christian - Ben Brian C Buckles

The Bible on homosexuality - Annette Thompson

The Evangelical Anglican Church in America

A BODY of evangelical Christians yesterday apologised to homosexuals for the way that Churches have treated them and sought forgiveness.

The Evangelical Alliance, which represents one million Christians, condemned all forms of discrimination against homosexuals in its report Faith, Hope and Homosexuality, and called on Church leaders to treat homosexuals with "love and compassion".

"There is no place for homophobia within the Church. It hardly reflects the character of Christ and we reject it totally," said the Rev Joel Edwards, general director of the alliance. "We apologise unreservedly for the hurt which has been caused by our insensitivity and un-Christian behaviour which has so often marked our response to gay and lesbian people."

But in the next breath, Mr Edwards said that he still believed that homosexual sex was sinful and "against God's will". The alliance has softened its stance only slightly, by saying in its report that "homoerotic sexual practice" is no greater sin than adultery, fornication or other sexual sins.

The report states the alliance's opposition to ordaining practising homosexuals and calls on Christians to help "save" homosexuals by encouraging them to become celibate or to "reorient" them to heterosexuality.

The 40-page document is an attempt to promote the evangelical argument that homosexual sex is wrong at a time when many Churches are taking a more liberal view. The Anglican Communion worldwide is divided over the issue, with one side claiming that it is un-Christian to treat gays differently, and the other side condemning them as sinners.

The report ends with 12 "affirmations and recommendations", which include a request to "welcome and accept" active homosexuals with a view to them "changing their lifestyle". They also recommend "stringent disciplinary action" against people who continually promote "homoerotic sexual practice" within a congregation.

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement gave the report a cool reception yesterday, and said its argument was "incoherent". Richard Kirker, a spokesman, said: "We welcome their acknowledgement that homophobia is a fact and not a figment of our imagination."

4 January 1998: Author accuses the saints of leading unsavoury sex lives
25 November 1997: Carey warns bishop of conflict on gay rights
23 November 1997: Gay-row parish tries to sack bishop
16 July 1997: Gay Christians hail 'victory' on sexuality study
15 July 1997: Church nearer to ordaining gays
13 July 1997: Bishops may be outed as gay supporters
18 June 1997: Bishops stifle open debate on gays

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