Beliefs Culture

Archbishop of Canterbury slams Christians who feel `disgusted’ about homosexuali …

LONDON (RNS) Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams criticized some Christians for feeling so “embarrassed and ashamed and disgusted” over homosexuality that they seem unwelcoming to outsiders and convey a lack of understanding. 

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams criticized some Christians for feeling so “embarrassed and ashamed and disgusted” over homosexuality that they send out a message signaling a lack of understanding and patience.

Addressing a group of Christian teenagers at his Lambeth Palace residence in London, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion said Anglicans and other Christians are still in “quite a lot of tangles” about homosexuality. The confusion sometimes leaves the church “scratching its head and trying to work out,” Williams said. 

His comments came barely two weeks after he slammed the British government for its plans to legalize same-sex marriages — something that Williams said would be a mistake. The Anglican Communion itself has been deeply divided over homosexuality. The Episcopal Church, the communion's U.S. branch, allows gay bishops and sanctions same-sex commitment ceremonies, while more conservative leaders in Africa strongly denounce homosexuality.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Williams said that “what's frustrating is that we will have Christian people whose feelings about it are so strong, and sometimes so embarrassed and ashamed and disgusted, that it just sends out a message of unwelcome, or lack of understanding, or lack of patience.”

“So whatever we think about it,” Williams added, “we need, as a church, to be tackling what we feel about it.”

Williams, who is retiring as Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of this year, also spoke about the upcoming Church of England Synod, in York, England, next week, where the controversial issue of women priests is expected to take center stage.

Such much debate has resounded over that one subject, the archbishop said, that the impression is left that sex is “the only thing the church is interested in.”

Williams also told his youthful audience that some non-Christians might consider Christians to be “weird,” “mad” and “primitive.”

“As somebody who doesn't spend all his time with other Christians, I'm quite conscious, too, of the fact that people think we are weird,” Williams said. 


About the author

Al Webb

Al Webb works as a freelance journalist. In addition to writing for Religion News Service, he covers news and writes features for United Press International and the Washington Times, is an op-ed contributor to the Baltimore Sun and is weekend co-editor at the London bureau of the Voice of America.


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  • Young children should not be allowed to call each other names, but that is as far as it should go, otheriwise it is indoctrination. Did the good bishop actually tell this children what practicing homosexuals actually do with their body parts that is so disgusting? For some reason I have my doubts about that one, and I certainly hope he did not, but even children would most likely say something like, “Yuck!”, “Gross”, if they really heard what it is all about. Most children have enough common sense to know that certain body parts were not meant for certain things. Don’t you just love it when adults have innocent children defending the behavior of homosexuals and lesbians and so-called same-sex marriage when the poor innocent children have not a clue as to what really, really goes on. I think there are a few milestones out there ready to be put around some adult necks as the Lord Jesus promised. Beware what you tell innocent children, or you are liable to get one of those milestones hung around your neck. Weird, Archbishop Rowen? Yes, homosexual practices ARE weird. As for Christians to actually pracitce the Faith, I think we are normal.

  • “As somebody who doesn’t spend all his time with other Christians, I’m quite conscious, too, of the fact that people think we are weird,” Williams said.

    Of course the Archbishop doesn’t spend all his time with other Christians.

    He’s had numerous meetings with the leadership of the ECUSA. And of course those guys think Christians are weird, you should hear what they say about Christ!

  • I should have capitalized Jesus, and the last line of my post should read: “As for Christians WHO actually practice the Faith……

  • Diane, children think lots of things that they don’t know about yet are disgusting. When I had the “birds and bees” conversation with my pre-adolescent son many years ago, we got to the part about the anatomy of the mommy and daddy and where their respective body parts went, and he put his head in his hands and said “that’s disgusting! Dad, you are sick!” I assured him he wouldn’t always think so. Asking the question whether children think same sex relationships are disgusting or not is not the right question. Perhaps it is the lack of perspective of adults who find it disgusting that is the problem. Homophobic people often imagine that homosexuals are sex-obsessed, concupiscent people, when all they are really looking for is to be able to have an intimate, committed relationship with someone they love.

  • To say that homosexuals are only looking for the ability to have “intimate, committed relationships with someone they love”, is very nieve. That’s like saying that heterosexuals are doing the same… they are NOT! Not everyone is looking for a committed relationship. Some people are looking for “sex and a good time”. Fornication is fornication! To allow same-sex marriages is a secular matter of equal rights (maybe so) but if GOD is still the one who dictates what the churches will condone then FOLLOW HIM… HIS WORD is very clear, homosexuality is a SIN! That’s in the OT and the NT and Malachi 3:6 tells us that GOD DOES NOT CHANGE….

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