Archbishop says believers ‘disagree without hatred’ amid gay marriage controversy

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told a gathering of bishops that members of the church have “disagreed without hatred” this week “not as many people in the press want us to”.

It comes as the archbishop ratified the 1998 Anglican Declaration outlawing same-sex marriage, sparking controversy over the church’s relationship with the LGBTQ+ community.

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

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, nor do I want to, discipline a Church of the Anglican Communion.

“I won’t do that.”

However, on Wednesday, comedian Sandy Toksvig criticized the church’s stance, saying the lives of LGBTQ+ people were “at stake”.

In response, the archbishop offered to meet with Ms Toksvig for coffee, saying that she and other LGBTQ+ people “are a sin in the dangers they have experienced in the name of Jesus Christ”.

Speaking at the Lambeth conference in Canterbury on Friday, the archbishop appeared to make a reference to the row.

“We don’t hate as our enemies want us to do,” he said.

“And can I say, by the grace of God, this week we disagree without hate, not as many people in the press want us to,” he said.

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The archbishop told those present that a journalist friend of one of his sons had said that his editors were disappointed that the disagreement was so civilized.

“The friend of one of our children, one of our sons, a reporter who is a Christian, said ‘I rejoice and I am sad, I rejoice because this week I have seen something new, people who talk to each other. Love to disagree, but my news editor is very sad as there is nothing to say about it.”

The archbishop’s remarks came during the second keynote address at the Lambeth Conference, a meeting of Anglican bishops convened once every 10 years.

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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby leads the inaugural service of the 15th Lambeth Conference at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA)

He also used his speech to list the past mistakes of the Church, as he called for revolution to be part of the “institutional life” of the Church.

“The Church of God sought to eliminate First Nations and indigenous peoples from colonized territories.

“The Church of God fanned the flames of anti-Semitism, and provided a seabed and theology for the persecution of the Jews and ultimately the Holocaust.

“The Church of God preserved the earthly power by surrendering to the heavenly hope.

“The Church of God divided and divided and treated those who disagreed with them, were tortured and killed as enemies or slandered and humiliated in many ways on social media today.”

The archbishop said that Christians were “revolutionaries” who understood the “sinfulness of the people”.

He said, ‘We are revolutionaries.

“Communism began as a revolution, but as an atheistic sect it ignored the sinfulness of the people, and was consumed by abuses of power without repentance.

“The Christian revolution should be one of kindness and forgiveness, generosity and connectedness.

“Revolution must be part of the institutional life of those who proclaim Christ.”