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Conservatives and Liberals agree: Anglican Communion must speak more loudly against LGBT persecution

Fri 15 Jan 2016
By Aaron James

Both Conservative and Liberal Christians have said the Anglican Communion should have spoken more clearly against the victimisation of gay people at a landmark summit on the homosexuality.

It's after a week-long conference at Canterbury comprising of the leaders of the different Anglican churches worldwide.

It ended with Anglican primates sanctioning the Episcopal Church of the United States of America because it permitted its clergy to perform gay marriages in July last year.

The punishment sees the Episcopal Church barred from full participation in the Anglican Communion for the next three years, meaning it cannot be involved in decision-making bodies.

The Anglican Communion said in a statement that the accepted of gay marriage by the Episcopal Church represented a "fundamental departure" from the faith and teaching it held, which had caused "deep pain" to its members.

Bishop Michael Curry, the leader of the American Episcopal Church, has said that the sanctioning will cause "real pain" to both Episcopalians in America and to gay people worldwide.

While conservative and liberal Christians have disagreed on the Anglican Communion's decision to punish the Episcopal Church, they have united on the fact that it should have been more outspoken against any individual or state persecution of gay and transgender people.

Sally Hitchiner, from the Diverse Church organisation, told Premier's News Hour: "I think everyone in the Anglican Church has a responsibility to speak out against violence against LGBT people, particularly in countries like Uganda that have got a history of it.

"All of our responsibility is to ensure that this statement [outlining the sanctioning] is not heard as justification for continuing that violence.

"I'm absolutely certain that it was not in the intention of the church leaders who made the decision to imply that, but it is used as justification by some homophobic and quite frankly quite nasty people to commit acts of torture and rape and violence against the LGBT community."

And Susie Leafe, from the traditionalist Reform group, told Premier's News Hour: "Obviously very encouraged that the overwhelming majority of the Primates voted in favour of keeping with the authority of Scripture when we're talking about deciding doctrine, and to uphold the Biblical view of marriage as between one man and one woman, faithful and lifelong.

"It's a shame it didn't also include some statement about reaching out in love to the LGBT community. It would've been good to have that as well.

"I'm just glad that a sanction has been put in place just to show that it is important that when we get things wrong, we repent of what we get wrong."

The Archbishop of Canterbury used a press conference to confirm all primates were opposed to persecution of gay people and added the only reason it was not in the original press update from the meeting is because it was leaked.

Listen to Premier's Antony Bushfield speaking to Sally Hitchiner on the News Hour:

Listen to Premier's Antony Bushfield speaking to Susie Leafe on the News Hour:

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