Africans could die if English church accepts gay marriage, warns Welby

African Christians will be killed if the Church of England accepts gay marriage, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has suggested.

Speaking on a phone in at UK radio station LBC, Archbishop Justin Welby cited first hand experience of this.

He said he had stood by a mass grave in Nigeria of 330 Christians who had been massacred by neighbours.

The killers had justified the atrocity by saying: “If we leave a Christian community here we will all be made to become homosexual and so we will kill all the Christians.”

“I have stood by gravesides in Africa of a group of Christians who had been attacked because of something that had happened in America,” Archbishop Welby said.

“We have to listen to that. We have to be aware of the fact,” he continued.

If the Church of England celebrated gay marriages, he added, “the impact of that on Christians far from here, in South Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria and other places would be absolutely catastrophic”.

“Everything we say here goes round the world.”

This reasoning has until now been kept private, although both Archbishop Welby and his predecessor, Dr Rowan Williams, anguished about it in private.

Archbishop Welby also condemned homophobia in England.

“To treat every human being with equal importance and dignity is a fundamental part of being a Christian,” he said on the radio show.

But he continued to uphold what he called the historic position of the Church of England, of “sex only within marriage and marriage only between a man and a woman”.

Nonetheless, he agreed with the presenter that it was “completely unacceptable” for the Church to condemn homosexual people more than adulterous heterosexual people.

Anglican churches in both Uganda and Nigeria have given enthusiastic backing to laws which criminalise even the expression of support for same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage is now legal in the United Kingdom.

The Church of England’s House of Bishops affirmed its support for marriage only between a man and a woman, and has announced it would not bless same-sex unions.

But it did express its commitment to the pastoral support and care of homosexual people.




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