A campaign to stop homophobic bullying will be introduced in Church of England schools, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has announced.
“The Church was not changing its teaching on gay relationships,” he said, but he told the General Synod: “We must accept that there is a revolution in the area of sexuality.”
The archbishop recently opposed the gay marriage Bill in the House of Lords, but said the Church should heed some of the views of the Bill’s supporters.
“There is a revolution. Anyone who listened, as I did, to much of the Same Sex Marriage Bill Second Reading Debate in the House of Lords could not fail to be struck by the overwhelming change of cultural hinterland,” he said.
“There was noticeable hostility to the view of the churches. I am not proposing new policy, but what I felt then and feel now is that some of what was said by those supporting the Bill was uncomfortably close to the bone.
“Pretending that nothing has changed is absurd and impossible,” the archbishop said in his first presidential address to the synod, meeting at the University of York.
“The majority of the population rightly detests homophobic behaviour or anything that looks like it and sometimes they look at us and see what they don’t like,” he said.
“With nearly a million children educated in our schools we not only must demonstrate a profound commitment to stamp out such stereotyping and bullying but we must also take action.
“We are therefore developing a programme for use in our schools, taking the best advice we can find anywhere, that specifically targets such bullying.”
This almost reminds me of the saga involving the proposal for women bishops, in the sense that the Church will campaign for equality among men and women, but they won’t elect a women bishop because of ‘tradition’. Whilst I respect the fact that Mr Welby has accepted that there is a change in our culture these days, he is still basically saying that he detests homophobic behaviours and it shouldn’t exist. We do need to make sure homophobic bullying is tackled, after all it is the people’s choice over their sexuality, not the Church’s.