Cleric hits back as LGBTQI+ activist denounces own church

Jul 12, 2021 by

By Adam Kula, Belfast News Letter:

One of the leading traditionalist Anglicans on the island of Ireland has come to the defence of orthodox church teachings, following criticism from an LGBTQ+ campaigner.

Rev Timothy Anderson was reacting to denouncements of his church from Rev Andrew Rawding, who in recent years has been among the Province’s most prominent activists for the acceptance of transgenderism and gay people.

Rev Rawding was known for being photographed with a rainbow-coloured sign saying “We are sorry for how the church still mistreats LGBTQI+ people” (standing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and more).

On Sunday July 4, Rev Rawding – rector of Brackaville, Donaghendry and Ballyclog in Tyrone – announced he was quitting the church.

He said there was “an aggressive and proactive opposition to full inclusion and equality for LGBT+ people with some people still weaponising Bible verses and using the language of condemnation and rejection,” adding that “sadly there are still grandparents and relatives who will not accept LGBT children”.

Rev Anderson is chairman of GAFCON Ireland (the Global Anglican Future Conference), which promotes a traditionalist approach to Scripture.

Writing to the News Letter in what he stressed was a personal capacity (rather than on behalf of the whole GAFCON movement) he said: “There have always been examples of unkind attitudes, bullying, and discrimination towards homosexuals and this should grieve us and cause us to search our heart.

“But to simply dismiss those within the church who disagree with a cultural consensus by using a ‘shut-down’ word like ‘homophobic’ is itself abusive and intolerant.

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