Reverend Richard Coles told his late partner ‘is in Hell and he will follow’ by online trolls

LGBTQ

Rev Richard Coles (L) and his civil partner Rev David Coles. (Twitter)

Church of England vicar Reverend Richard Coles has revealed that online trolls have subjected him to abuse following the death of his partner.

The former Communards musician explained how he has received homophobic abuse from a pocket of people, including one person who said his late partner “is in Hell” and he will soon follow.

Coles, 57, announced the death of his partner, David, following a long period of illness earlier this week.

Coles is known for hosting BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live and appearing on Strictly Come Dancing.

‘The horrible letters; they don’t touch me’.

After receiving an outpour of support, he has since described how the reaction has been “99.99999 per cent loveliness”.

But he added there had been “a small but lively correspondence from Christians who wish me to know that [David] is in hell and I will follow” in a tweet today.

“It’s like the Khmer Rouge suddenly popping up in a stream of condolence,” the vicar of Finedon in Northamptonshire.

He explained how he received, “A letter, courageously unsigned, begins: ‘Dear Mr Coles, I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am to hear of the death of your partner’.”

In a follow-up tweet, he added: “It continues: ‘I have been praying for your pain for a long time now…’.”

But Coles later added: “The horrible letters; they don’t touch me.

“I am right now an expert in pain, the real kind, and these are paper darts among the incoming, and just leave me mildly curious about the state of mind of the writer.”

Coles met his partner in 2007. Both being Church of England priests, they lived together in their vicarage, “which is gradually being destroyed by […] dachshunds Daisy, Pongo, Audrey and Horatio”.

Vicars criticised ‘daft’ rules on same-sex unions requiring celibacy

The vicars had previously criticised rules requiring them to remain celibate to abide by Church of England rules on same-sex unions, which married straight vicars are not required to do.

Rev Richard Coles explained to The Guardian: “[Celibacy is a consequence of] the Church of England’s completely ridiculous position, which I think is daft and probably wicked, and all but intolerable.

“I entered the priesthood thinking I was hors de combat … I did think that I would be on my own, and not looking to stop being on my own – and also not looking in lay-bys and bushes and so on … but then I met David.”

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