So the beardy guy is taking off his frock and disappearing into the background. Rowan Williams has announced he’s retiring from his role as Archbish of Cant.
There have been the usual oleaginous tributes, of course, as you would expect from the sycophantic and those who just feel they have to say something. And the media have been their usual toadying selves, maybe with some exceptions that I can’t, to be honest, be arsed to look for.
However, Old Beardy’s departure has caused no regrets with this blog’s owner, the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT).
Its trusty secretary, George Broadhead, said in a statement: “The appointment of Dr Rowan Williams ten years ago was welcomed by some LGBT activists, notably Christian ones, as they believed him to be on the liberal wing of the Church of England and would take a benign stance on LGBT relationships and rights. However, they were soon disillusioned.
“It is obvious that any sympathy Williams may have had for LGBT people has been sacrificed by the need to keep his Church unified. Thus, although he condemned the murder of Ugandan gay activist David Kato, he declined to condemn the Ugandan Anglican Church from backing the hateful and draconian anti-homosexuality bill introduced in the country’s parliament.
“Concerning gay bishops, Williams said: ‘There’s no problem about a gay person who’s a bishop. It’s about the fact that there are traditionally, historically, standards that the clergy are expected to observe.’
“Asked what was wrong with a homosexual bishop having a partner, he said: ‘I think because the scriptural and traditional approach to this doesn’t give much ground for being positive about it’.
“Williams has been at the heart of the debate over gay marriage and in February 2012 he said that the law has no right to legalise same-sex marriage. ‘If it is said that a failure to legalise assisted suicide – or same-sex marriage – perpetuates stigma or marginalisation for some people, the reply must be, I believe, that issues like stigma and marginalisation have to be addressed at the level of culture rather than law,’ he said.”
Broadhead concluded: “It is obvious that hostility towards LGBT sexual relationships and rights emanates largely from the three main religions – Anglican, Roman Catholic and Islam – and nothing had changed for the better in the Anglican Church under the leadership of Rowan Williams. I understand that the present Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, is tipped to replace Williams, and if this happens it will be a clear case of going from the frying pan into the fire.”