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Tuesday, 22 July 2008

It's the leaders you have to watch

The UK gay-equality lobby group Stonewall reckons religious folk aren't as homophobic as their press image implies. It's the leaders who are the bigots.

"Love Thy Neighbour, a report published by the gay equality group, interviewed followers of Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Hindu faiths," says a story in the online Pink News.

Stonewall's chief executive Ben Summerskill is quoted as saying, "Witnessing the saddening divisions in the Church of England demonstrated at this week's Lambeth Conference, it's telling that so many people of faith say they actually live, work and socialise with lesbian and gay people, and that significantly reduces negative ideas about difference.

"Many Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus are clearly markedly more moderate than we are often allowed to believe.

"The stark conclusion to draw when it comes to religion and homosexuality is that it may be time to start listening to the voices of the many people of faith in Britain which have until now not been heard enough."

It would be a start. But, to take one example, the Lesbian and Gay Christian Organisation has been around for decades and has done some sterling work, but we still have a quarter of the world's bishops boycotting Lambeth this month because they have a problem with other people's sexuality and pretend that their invisible friend doesn't like some aspects of it.

And that is not said as criticism of LGCM – far from it – but as a reminder, should we need it, that there are many of those who strive for and achieve leadership positions in the major religious organisations who are also pillocks.

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