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Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Rowan the betrayer

It’s hardly surprising that a close friend – and a gay friend, to boot – of the Archwizard of Cant, Dr Rowan Williams, has branded his former mentor a betrayer over his silence on the evils that could be visited on gays in Uganda.

According to a a story in The Times, 64-year-old Rev. Colin Coward – who lives with a gay man and preaches often at his church in Salisbury – was tutored by Williams in theological college, who knew Coward was gay and seemed quite relaxed about that.

“He said that about a quarter of the 50-plus students at his Cambridge theological college were gay,” says the paper, “and this was accepted by the Church of that era. Dr Williams was a tutor at Westcott House, a liberal college, from 1977 to 1980.”

In spite of not speaking out about the Uganda situation, Williams saw fit to comment on – although he didn’t condemn outright – the election of Mary Glasspool as a suffragan bishop in Los Angeles within the Episcopal Church.

Coward tells The Times, “What he is saying about the bishop in the US and what he is not saying about Uganda is disastrous. It just affirms the image of the Church of England as a place of prejudice and homophobia. I don’t think this is the end for the Church, but the future is difficult to predict.

“I am sure he is still the man I knew as being inclusive. I think he must be torn about inside.”

Coward was in parish ministry for 15 years before he left to set up a group called Changing Attitude, which lobbies for acceptance of gay men and women in the Anglican Communion.

“Archbishop Rowan is wrong as a Christian, he is wrong for the Church of England and he is wrong for the Anglican Communion,” he’s quoted as saying.

Coward said the bishop who ordained him, the late Mervyn Stockwood of Southwark, also knew he was actively gay.

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