A bishop has condemned the Church of England for its treatment of gay people.
In the same month that gay couples in a civil partnership have been able to convert it into a marriage for the first time, Bishop of Buckingham Alan Wilson has spoken of ‘serious institutional homophobia in the church’.
In a Christmas sermon recorded for the gay news service Pink News, Dr Wilson congratulated all same-sex couples who have got married this year and said that in a few years’ time people will wonder what all the fuss was about.
Dr Wilson’s book, More Perfect Union? Understanding Same-Sex Marriage, was published earlier this year.
In his sermon, Dr Wilson said: “Christians believe God is love and those who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
“But, you may say, churches have a funny way of showing that sometimes.
“We still have a legacy of serious institutional homophobia, inertia and ignorance to overcome.
“The fact is, however, where people dare to think things could be different, think things through without prejudice, there is hope.
“Some gay clergy are now married.
“In very few years, people will wonder what the fuss was ever about.
“But for now it’s a path that calls for considerable courage and determination.
““So please spare a thought this Christmas for them.
“If you’re the praying sort, do remember LGBTI people searching for hope at home in those churches that just don’t get equality.
“There is hope – I notice a new generation of evangelical Christians rethinking the implications of their faith in a far more truthful, just and generous way.
“At the same time, around the world, there are many places that are anything but safe for gay people.
“A Ugandan member of parliament is promising to bring back the notorious anti-gay bill that fell over this autumn.
“He calls it his Christmas gift to Ugandans – very much the sort of present you can do without.
“Wouldn’t peace on Earth and goodwill to everybody be far more appropriate?
“But Christmas is Christmas. Love came down at Christmas, and the nativity story takes us back to the heart of everything.
“The miracle, the beauty of every human life is a gift of God, deserving total respect, full of hope.