Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Christians: Homophobic, Misogynistic, Reactionary - Official!

Do you believe there is any element of persecution of Christians in today’s society?

There’s a certain amount of petty harassment of some Christians, but I think it’s a bit dramatic to call it persecution. It may be culturally a bit difficult for some people to say ‘I’m a Christian’, partly because people will then say ‘Oh, you’re some sort of homophobic, misogynistic reactionary are you?’ which isn’t very encouraging. I think there’s a temptation to over exaggerate how difficult it can be – but the other side of me says, well, if it’s difficult, it’s difficult. From the very beginning, there have been no guarantees that expressing the values of the gospels was going to be popular.

On the issue of homosexuality and gay marriage, do you consider your own views and those of the church as being out of touch with the views of your students at Cambridge, and do you think that’s a problem?

I think it is quite a problem. This is the one area where there is the deepest sense of the church being out of step with what the rest of the culture take for granted. I think it’s quite difficult for some people outside of the church to recognise that there is something in the matter of several thousand years of assumption, reflection and ethical practice here which isn’t likely to be overturned in a moment. But, all that being said, I think the church has to put its hands up and say our attitude towards gay people has at times been appallingly violent. Even now it can be unconsciously patronising and demeaning, and that really doesn’t help. We have to face the fact that we’ve deeply failed a lot of gay and lesbian people, not only historically but more recently as well. I think that there is a very strong, again theological, case for thinking again about our attitudes towards homosexuality: but I’m a bit hesitant about whether marriage is the right category to talk about same sex relation, and I think there is a debate we haven’t quite had about that. But in a sense that’s water under the bridge, the decision has been taken, things move on. Looking back over my time as Archbishop I think that’s what most people will remember about the last ten years: ‘oh, he was that bloke who was so bogged down in issues about sexuality’.

Rowan Williams, the former archbishop formerly known as "Of Canterbury, chats to student magazine, The Tab Cambridge.
Shame he only remembered all his liberal principles again once he was out of power.
What would Jesus not do?

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