Pope, Anglican, Presbyterian leaders condemn anti-gay law

IN PAPAL AIR — Pope Francis, head of the Anglican Communion and top Presbyterian minister joined together to condemn the criminalization of homosexuality on Sunday and said gay people should be welcomed by their churches .

Three Christian leaders spoke out about LGBTQ rights in an unprecedented joint aerial press conference on their return home from South Sudan, where they joined a three-day ecumenical pilgrimage to try to promote peace process of the young country.

They were asked about Pope Francis’ recent comments to the AP news agency in which he stated that laws that criminalize homosexuals are “unjust” and that “homosexuality is not a crime”. .”

South Sudan is one of 67 countries that criminalize homosexuality, 11 of which carry the death penalty. LGBTQ advocates say that even when such laws are not in place, they contribute to an atmosphere of harassment, discrimination and violence.

Francis sent his January 24 comment to the AP and reiterated that such laws are “unjust.” He also echoed previous comments that parents should never throw their gay children out of the house.

“Convicting someone like this is a sin,” he said. “Criminalizing people with homosexual tendencies is an injustice.”

“People with homosexual tendencies are children of God. God loves them. God is with them,” he added.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, reiterated that LGBTQ rights are very much on the current agenda of the Church of England, and said he will quote the pope himself when the issue is discussed in the Senate. upcoming church council.

“I wish I had spoken as eloquently and clearly as the pope. I totally agree with every word he says,” Welby said.

Recently, the Church of England decided to allow same-sex civil marriages to be blessed but said same-sex couples cannot marry in their churches. The Vatican bans both same-sex marriage and blesses same-sex marriages.

Welby told reporters the issue of criminalization had been raised at two previous Lambeth Conferences of the broader Anglican Communion, including churches in Africa and the Middle East, where anti-gay laws such is the most popular and often supported by conservative bishops.

“The broader Lambeth Conference twice opposed criminalization,” Welby said, “But it didn’t really change the minds of many people.

Rt. Father Iain Greenshields, Presbyterian moderator of the Church of Scotland, who also participated in the pilgrimage and press conference, made a comment.

“None of the four Gospels I read do I see Jesus driving away anyone,” he said. “Nowhere in the four Gospels do I see anything other than Jesus showing love for everyone he met.

“And as Christians, that is the only expression we can give to any human being, under any circumstances.”

The Church of Scotland allows same-sex marriage. Catholic doctrine states that homosexuals should be treated with dignity and respect, but that homosexual acts are “substantial disorder”.


The Associated Press’s religious coverage is supported through the AP’s partnership with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. AP is solely responsible for this content.


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