By Victor Ochieng
Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury, appeared cornered when asked whether or not same-s*x marriage is sinful. Maybe that happened because of fear of eliciting mixed reactions from fellow leaders of his Anglican church. Clearly, there have been some “irreconcilable” differences within the ranks of the Anglican church regarding the issue, and this is what formed Welby’s decision not to tackle the question head-on.
What he explicitly said is that hatred against anyone for whatever reason is sinful, whether it’s based on someone’s s*xual orientation, race or gender.
Explaining what’s important in relationships, Welby said, “Within myself, the things that seem to me to be absolutely central are around faithfulness, stability of relationships and loving relationships.”
On whether such a relationship is open to two people of the same gender, he said, “I know it could be. I am also aware —a view deeply held by tradition since long before Christianity, within the Jewish tradition—that marriage is understood invariably as being between a man and a woman.”
Welby then added that “I know that the church around the world is deeply divided on this in some places, including the Anglicans and other churches, not just us, and we are—the vast majority of the church is—deeply against gay s*x.”
He then pointed out that it’s really been a struggle trying to seek a balance between the scriptures, the church’s traditions and how God views the current system of things.
“I am having to struggle to be faithful to the tradition, faithful to the Scripture, to understand what the call and will of God is in the 21st century and to respond appropriately with an answer for all people—not condemning them, whether I agree with them or not—that covers both sides of the argument,” he said, adding, “And I haven’t got a good answer, and I am not doing that bit of work as well as I would like.”
The struggle is coming about because different congregations of the denomination are holding different views on the issue, and, unfortunately, he admits that the differences are “irreconcilable.”
Many Anglican church leaders from across the globe have gone public with their opinions on gaysm and same-s*x marriage, with the leaders either expressing different stands on the issue or giving conflicting reasons in justification of their stand. Efforts to come up with a universal position have remained futile as the leaders have evidently refused to cede ground.