Archbishop of Canterbury responds to Sandi Toksvig’s damning criticism of church’s view of gay sex

LGBTQ

Archbishop of Canterbury responds to Sandi Toksvig after criticism over church’s LGBTQ+ stance. (Hollie Adams and Joe Maher/Stringer via Getty Images)

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has asked to meet with presenter and activist Sandi Toksvig after she criticised his stance on the LGBTQ+ community as a “horrible mistake”.

Over the past two weeks, the Anglican Communion – convened by Welby, who is the head of the Church of England – held its once-a-decade Lambeth Conference, where bishops from around the world meet to pass resolutions and discuss current issues.

Archbishop Welby has faced criticism for one specific resolution, which asked bishops to reaffirm the notorious Lambeth Resolution 1.10, passed in 1998, when bishops rejected “homosexual practice as incompatible with scripture”.

Welby U-turned on the call, but later released a letter “to affirm that the validity of the resolution passed at the Lambeth Conference 1998 1.10 is not in doubt, and that whole resolution is still in existence”.

Lesbian comedian Toksvig described the “main takeaway” of the Lambeth Conference as being “that gay sex is a sin”.

The Great British Bake Off co-host, who came out as gay in 1994, criticised the move in an open letter she posted on Twitter, saying she had received death threats in the past for her sexuality.

“I have had several credible death threats over the years,” she wrote. “Each and every one of those threats has come from an evangelical Christian.”

Citing statistics from charity Just Like Us, which found LGBTQ+ young people are twice as likely to contemplate suicide, the presenter said: “It’s because they don’t feel loved.”

“Love, Justin, is supposed to be at the core of what you do. It’s like top of the job description.”

Sandi Toksvig finished the letter saying she and her wife were attending a Church of England church on Saturday (6 August) to host a concert in aid of Ukrainian refugees.

“After the concert I shall leave the church and never set foot in an Anglican building again. I’ll come back when you decide to welcome all of ‘God’s children’ on equal footing.

“Call me, Justin. Let’s have coffee. Let me talk you round. You never know, I might even forgive you.”

In a letter replying to Toksvig, Welby said homophobic threats were a “sin”, and that he would happily take up her offer of a coffee to discuss the issue further.

“The hatred and threats that you – and so many other LGBTQI+ people – have experienced in the name of Jesus Christ are a sin,” he said.

“I have absolutely no doubt about that and want you to be in no doubt of my position.

“The Church of England agrees with this view and vigorously opposes conversion therapy.”

The Archbishop added that the Anglican Communion is “a complicated global group of churches” and that there are “deep differences in many areas”.

“This week we have been honest about the differences and nevertheless accept each other,” he said.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments come as the Church of England has been urged to recognise same-sex relationships, with the Church of Scotland voting in May to allow same-sex marriage.

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