UK - The Dean of St Albans, Dr Jeffrey John, accused the Church of England of hypocrisy on the issue of homosexuality and said it “frankly, doesn’t deserve to be listened to”.
Dr John, who is in a celibate civil partnership, was twice in line to become a bishop but his appointment was blocked because of opposition from conservatives within the Church.
It emerged earlier this year that he has examined the possibility of suing the Church for discrimination because of his treatment. He recently described it as the “last refuge of prejudice”.
In a highly critical positing on the website of the Out4Marriage campaign, which backs the change, Dr John accuses his own Church of failing to have a Christian attitude to gay marriage.
“I am sad because the Church that I love and serve is opposing it, when it should be rejoicing at it,” he said.
“And [I am] sad because the Church is meant is show Christ’s face to the world and on this subject, it doesn’t.”
The Church of England has been accused of inconsistency in its attempts to reconcile traditional teachings on sexuality with more liberal interpretations.
Its current stance is that homosexual people can be priests but must remain celibate because of the Bible’s teaching on sex outside marriage.
Yet, at the same time, it is officially opposed to allowing gay couples to marry – although some senior clerics are in favour.
In its official response to the Government’s consultation on same-sex marriage, the Church of England even suggested that the move could open the way to disestablishment.
Dr John said: "If you are gay, please don’t judge God by the Church.
“The official Church doesn’t speak with integrity on this issue and so, frankly, doesn’t deserve to be listened to.
“If you are gay, then please understand that God made you as you are, and loves you as you are, and if you invite him into your relationship, then of course he will bless you and sustain your love just as much as he blesses and sustains any other marriage.
"I know that’s true from my own experience and that’s why I’m ‘out for marriage’, because I’m sure God is too.”