Sexuality, safeguarding and the language of God

Dec 1, 2020 by

by David Baker, Christian Today:

When do discussions about sexuality and gender veer into territory which is unacceptable?

It’s a live issue at the moment for many in the Church of England following the publication of the ‘Living in Love and Faith’ (LLF) resources which aim to stimulate discussion about such matters.

For example, according to Rosie Harper, who is chaplain to the Bishop of Buckingham, ‘traditional teaching specially on homosexuality is a safeguarding matter’. And Jayne Ozanne has declared that the orthodox view on sexuality is ‘wrong, harmful, dangerous and must be stopped’

These are breathtaking claims. Think about it: what is being said here is that the teaching of the Christian church for the last 2,000 years – be it Anglican, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Baptist, Pentecostal or whatever – is wrong and must be banned. The clear majority of the worldwide Anglican Communion remains mistaken on this issue – and must be silenced. Not only that, but it is a ‘safeguarding matter’. It is hard to overstate the gravity of the assertions Rosie Harper and Jayne Ozanne are making.

When it comes to issues of safeguarding, we all need to tread very carefully indeed. There are profoundly-hurt victims of all sorts of abuse in many different walks of life – whether in a Christian context or a secular one. They have suffered egregiously. And any of us who have dealt pastorally with the broken lives that result from such suffering know the years of pain that can follow. We all know survivors; some reading this will be survivors. In other words, we are not talking in the abstract here. Words really do matter. I hope and pray mine are helpful and sensitive; please forgive me if I fail at any point in what follows.

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