Archbishop offers to meet Sandy Toxvig after criticism of gay marriage stance

The Archbishop of Canterbury has threatened to “sin” LGBTQ+ people and offered to meet comedian Sandy Toksvig for coffee after she criticized the Anglican Church’s stance on gay marriage.

Eustin Welby responded to the television presenter when he said that the lives of LGBTQ+ people were “at stake” after the religious leader’s “horrific mistake” to ratify the 1998 Anglican Declaration outlawing same-sex marriage.

The former Great British Bake-Off host, who is gay, published an open letter on Twitter on Wednesday describing the issue as a “serious matter” and recalling “many credible death threats” from evangelical Christians over the years. did.

Responding with a letter published on Twitter on Thursday, Mr Welby thanked Toksvig for her correspondence and said he would “love to sit down over a coffee to talk to you about it”.

She wrote that the threats she and other LGBTQ+ people experienced in the name of Jesus Christ are sin.

He said the Church of England agreed with that view and that it “strongly opposes conversion therapy”.

He continued: “The Anglican Communion is a complex group of churches. We can talk about this when we meet. There are deep differences in many areas.”

Ms Toksvig said Mr Welby “made a terrible mistake” when she confirmed on Tuesday that the “validity” of resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Lambeth conference is “not in doubt”.

The proposal states that marriage is “between a man and a woman”, and that same-sex relationships are “incompatible with scripture”.

Ms Toksvig wrote: “So, you and your other religious friends gathered at the Lambeth conference and the main conclusion seems to be that homosexual sex is a sin. In 1998 it was a sin and you wanted to clarify in 2022 that your thin None of the gang has progressed beyond that.

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“Seriously, what state is the world in, what do you want to focus on? You didn’t have more pressing matters, like, I don’t know, war or poverty? ,

The host of the TV panel show QI, who refers to himself as a humanitarian, said: “This is a serious matter. The lives of LGBTQ+ people are at stake here.

“I have received several credible death threats over the years, sometimes requiring the very help of a hate crime squad from the police.

“Every one of those threats came from an evangelical Christian. Essentially they want to kill me on behalf of God.”

Ms Toksvig also questioned the Church of England’s interpretation of Jesus’ views on homosexuality.

He said: “There are seven scriptures in the Bible that are often pointed to as evidence that God hates homosexuals, but everyone who has ever studied the matter knows that ‘proof’ is simply grossly misinterpreted. implied in. None of this is clear.”

She continued: “Jesus doesn’t mention sexuality at all. It was clearly no big deal to him.”


Sandy Toksvig said she has faced several credible death threats from evangelical Christians (Ian West/PA)

The Lambeth Conference is a meeting of Anglican bishops convened once every 10 years by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is taking place from 26 July to 8 August at the University of Kent, Canterbury Cathedral and Lambeth Palace.

Speaking at the conference on Tuesday, the archbishop said he cannot and will not punish churches for performing same-sex marriages.

He said: “I do not have the authority to discipline or exclude a Church of the Anglican Communion, nor do I want to. I will not.”