Choose your words carefully, Mr Anker: OneBodyOneFaith responds strongly to Church Times correspondent
OneBodyOneFaith has written to the Editor of the Church Times in response to a letter which appeared today, accusing organisations such as ours of endorsing ‘sexual activities that the writers or organisations concerned are unwilling to make explicit’. Mr Brian Anker of Cambridge explains that he has ‘discovered what LGBT stands for, but the rest of the alphabet (and a +) is not explained, and Are they, perhaps, P for paedophilia, or SM for sado-masochism?’
Tracey Byrne, Chief Executive of OneBodyOneFaith, said, ‘This letter sadly demonstrates the worst kind of homophobia, despite its initially playful tone. Conflating gay relationships with paedophilia is deeply offensive, both the members of our community and to survivors of abuse. The casual dismissal of relationships which are not ‘procreative’ adds to the hurt of those who by circumstance find themselves without much longed-for children. That this is done in the guise of somehow protecting a narrow definition of ‘traditional Christian marriage’ will be offensive both to those who have known the joy of such unions, and yet can embrace fresh understandings of God’s love for humanity, and those whose own experience of ‘traditional Christian marriage’ has been stifling, diminishing or abusive.’
Peter Leonard, Chair of Trustees, said, ‘Mr Anker’s assertions really do need addressing in the strongest possible terms. This isn’t about a woolly-headed misunderstanding of a new acronym; this is a calculated attempt at smearing our work, our communities and our allies. If anything, it only increases our determination to work towards greater understanding and awareness in our churches – not least awareness that views like Mr Anker’s contribute to the kind of shame which causes real and tangible damage to young people’s mental health and flourishing. In the face of such views, the flying of the rainbow flags for LGBT History Month and Pride events is an important and missional sign both of the church’s contrition and of our welcome for everyone.’
OneBodyOneFaith’s Statement of Conviction, a public declaration made in 1976 and revised in 2017 to reflect changes in our charitable Objects to include gender identity, can be found here.