Tuesday 17 April, 2007
The Anglican Church continues to drown in a gay quagmire of its own making. Their stance on homosexuality was declared a 'shambles' yesterday by a member of its own national assembly from Norwich.
Susan Johns, who represents the Diocese of Norwich on the General Synod, said she couldn’t fathom the situation whereby gay clergy were punished for being upfront about their sexuality, but supported if they kept it under wraps.
Johns was giving evidence at an employment tribunal in Cardiff brought by former Diocese of Norwich youth worker John Reaney, who was turned down for the same position by the Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis, in July of last year.
Mr Reaney, 41-year-old from Colwyn Bay, north Wales, believes his sexuality affected his job prospects and is claiming unlawful discrimination against the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003.
She described him as a "fantastic," "inspirational" and a "tireless" man the church could not afford to lose. She said: "The Church of England has no coherent position on homosexuality: in my opinion it is a shambles.
"As a worldwide Anglican community, we are meant to be engaging in a listening process. Yet at the General Synod in February 2007, at the end of the debates on sexuality - there were two - one of the members specifically asked if it was possible not to discuss homosexuality for four years.
"While I can understand the sentiment, debating is not the ideal way to listen. I cannot understand how a faith that professes to be open, honest and truthful can condone a situation whereby if a member of clergy covers up their same sex relationships, it is acceptable but if they are open and honest and a person of integrity, there is condemnation and discrimination."
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