Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell has warned that if John Sentamu were appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury, it would be a ‘disaster’ for the Church.
The veteran campaigner called for the Church to consider the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Reverend Thabo Makgoba for the top job.
He was speaking after delivering a talk about Gay Marriage at Greenbelt, alongside the Rev Sharon Fergusson, leader of the Lesbian and Gay Christian movement.
Mr Tatchell was making a return visit to the faith based festival despite being a well-known secularist.
He said that he believes in the importance of engaging with Christians, and praised the work that Christians have done in the furtherance of human rights.
He said: “For me as someone who is concerned about Human rights, it’s very important to engage with people of faith.
“There are many people of faith who have done many important, extraordinary things in terms of promoting social justice and human rights, for me it’s important to work with those people in our common cause for a better, fairer society.
“Coming to a festival like Greenbelt is a fantastic antidote to the generally held misperception that Christians are all bigoted and homophobic.
“I’ve always had a very open view of people of faith, there are some who are intolerant and bigoted, there are many who are not, to me the main problem is with the leaders of religious organisations, they are the ones who are pushing for discrimination, most grass roots Christians find discrimination abhorrent.
“They may not personally approve of homosexuality, but nor do they approve of discrimination against gay people.
“Rowan Williams is a huge disappointment, first and foremost a disappointment to himself. His public pronouncements on lesbian and gay human rights today are far removed from his support for equality ten or twenty years ago.
“He has sold his conscience for the price of high office It has greatly damaged his reputation and credibility.
“I’m really sad and sorry that he’s allowed himself to put the unity of the church before the Christian values of love and compassion.
“If John Sentamu becomes Archbishop of Canterbury it will do huge damage to the image and reputation of the church, he’s on record as opposing Gay equality and supporting homophobic discrimination.
“If he succeeds Rowan Williams it will signal that the Church of England is intolerant and prejudiced, I hope consideration will be given to someone like the Archbishop of Cape Town, an African Anglican leader who has by and large taken a stand for equality for all.”
August 31st, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross