Choose love not exclusion - it's time Anglicans embraced LGBTIQA+ people
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We the undersigned, representing LGBTIQA+ Anglicans and their allies, express our grave dismay at recent public utterances by Sydney Archbishop Glenn Davies (see here), that are not merely pastorally insensitive but deeply damaging to the mental health and well-being of so many in our society, and to the capacity of so many Anglicans to continue ministry in the church they have loved and served, in many cases for decades.
These statements sadly build on a disturbing recent history of similar Anglican attacks upon LGBTIQA+ people and betray the love and generous hospitality of Jesus. We therefore call on other Anglican leaders to speak up, and act, in loving solidarity with those under fire.
LGBTIQA+ people belong
No one is without sin, and we seek not to judge Archbishop Davies, for whom we continue to pray as Jesus encouraged us. However, his statements well overstep the mark of what might be considered just and reasonable and suggest that he has no awareness of the impact of his remarks on those LGBTIQA+ members of the Body of Christ, whom he acknowledges as being made in God’s image just as he is himself.
Stop hurting people
Numerous LGBTIQ Anglicans have in recent times been able to marry under the law of the land. It is simply not acceptable to label these marriages sinful as the Archbishop has done. This is not just hurtful, it risks the mental health and well-being of some of the most vulnerable members of our church, who are already at four times the risk of attempted suicide of other Anglicans. This is not acceptable and must be challenged. The encouragement of destructive binary understandings of sexuality and gender, and not least the call to transitioned/transitioning gender diverse people to ‘detransition’ is also hugely damaging, putting lives at risk.
Recover the generous hospitality of Jesus
Archbishop Davies stated, “We have far too much work to do in evangelising Australia to be distracted by the constant pressure to change our doctrine in order to satisfy the lusts and pleasures of the world.”. Quite apart from the damage caused to LGBTIQ+ Anglicans by describing their relationships as ‘lusts and pleasures’, the Archbishop appears unaware of the harm his stance is doing to the very task of evangelisation he commends. On a conservative reading of current statistics, LGBTIAQ+ persons make up at least 10% of the population – the Australian Human Rights Commission officially suggests 11%. By this count there at least 300,000 LGBTIQA+ Anglicans in the Anglican Church of Australia, in addition to allies, whom Archbishop Davies has just asked to leave, quite apart from others in the currently ‘unreached’ population who are presumably not welcome to join. Such a stance is contrary to the teaching of Jesus that all are welcome and deeply inhibits the mission of the church.
Time for liberation
Archbishop Davies and others speak of the fracturing of the Anglican communion, even as they exclude and divide. This narrative needs to be re-framed with urgency. The Anglican Body is not currently united on this or many matters. If it is to be raised like Lazarus from the tomb, the bandages that currently bind it in death need to be torn. This may feel like a tearing of communion, but in fact it is a liberation that is essential to its ongoing life.
Call to affirming action by Anglican leaders
We ask that those in leadership in the Anglican Church in Australia consider prayerfully the great harm that has been done to LGBTIQA+ members of our church by Archbishop Davies' address, and seek ways to redress that harm. We urge that public statements and actions be made by all pastorally aware Anglicans, making clear that LGBTIQA+ Anglicans are welcome and affirmed in our Church, and are not being encouraged to leave, but rather celebrated in their decision to stay and to contribute to the mission and ministry of our church.
Time to enable LGBTIQA+ Voices
We further ask that the huge nationwide Anglican Church deficit in enabling their LGBTIQA+ members lives and voices be urgently addressed.
WHAT NEXT FOR SIGNATORIES?
- We encourage all in support of loving affirmation to join Equal Voices, the national network of LGBTIQA+ Christians and allies
- website at https://equalvoices.org.au -
to develop love for all, not religious-based privilege and exclusion.
- We encourage all Australian Anglicans to support their faith network, Equal Voices Anglican
- on facebook and website at https://www.equalvoicesanglican.org to join in developing campaigns
- and to support the call of Anglican LGBTIQA+ people for full participation and affirmation:
see the statement It’s Time to Embrace Us at https://www.equalvoicesanglican.org/open-letter.html
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