Saturday, April 5, 2014

On homosexuality and Christian persecution, Justin Welby drops the ball again

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, so it seems, never misses a good opportunity to miss a good opportunity. Yesterday, he took to the airwaves, becoming the first Archbishop of Canterbury to take calls from listeners. Predictably, the topic which drew the most attention was homosexuality and, also predictably, he dropped the ball again. The Church of England cannot accept "gay marriage" at the moment, the Archbishop said, because it would lead to persecution of Christians in other parts of the world.

Yes, you read that right. But let's allow His Grace to speak for himself here.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, stressed the need for a global focus when considering reform within the Church of England, specifically with regards to gay marriage, according to The Guardian.

As support for same-sex marriage grows in the West, Welby warned during an LBC Radio phone-in that if the Church of England were to accept gay marriages, it could lead to "catastrophic" consequences for Christians elsewhere, particularly in Africa.

"I have stood by gravesides in Africa of a group of Christians who had been attacked because of something that had happened far, far away in America, and they were attacked by other people because of that, and a lot of them had been killed," said Welby.

"We have to listen to that. We have to be aware of the fact," he said, according to The Guardian. "Everything we say here goes round the world."

Were the Church of England to accept gay marriages, he commented, "the impact of that on Christians far from here, in South Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria and other places would be absolutely catastrophic."

Nonetheless Welby condemned homophobia and said, "to treat every human being with equal importance and dignity is a fundamental part of being a Christian." He shared his particular concerns about the devastating impact of homophobia on gay teenagers, and reiterated the importance of a loving approach.

Welby said that he has been wrestling with the issue of protecting Christians abroad while still having a loving approach to gay Christians for a long time, but stressed the very real dangers that he had personally experienced.

He explained that the reasoning behind the massacre of Nigerian Christians was essentially, "If we leave a Christian community here we will all be made to become homosexual and so we're going to kill the Christians."

"The mass grave had 369 bodies in it," he said. "And I was standing with the relatives. That burns itself into your soul, as does the suffering of gay people in this country."
That the titular head of the worldwide Anglican Communion can be this naive about the plight of the persecuted church is truly mind-boggling. Christians in Africa and the Middle East face death every day because they embody precisely the kind of authentic Christian faith which Justin Welby's Church of England has abandoned in favor of cultural accommodation. To say that Christians in Nigeria were slaughtered by Muslims who feared being "made to become homosexual" (accepting without question an insulting piece of Muslim propaganda) is to trivialize (excuse me, trivialise) the very real persecution such Christians face every day for the very real reason that they are very real and faithful followers of Jesus Christ. A church that accommodates the culture need never fear persecution. A church that takes seriously Jesus' call to be salt and light, however, is a constant irritant to the culture (be it Muslim, atheist, or what have you) and will quite often be sanctified by the blood of martyrs.

Moreover, as the "gay rights" movement continues to push its agenda, faithful Christians in the U.S., England, and elsewhere are being made to pay a heavy price for resisting its advances. Rather than losing sleep over "the suffering of gay people" in his own country, Archbishop Welby needs to wake up to this very real crisis for the church in the West.