news

Church of England drives LGBT community to suicide, says bishop

He likened the struggle with the abolition of slavery

2018-04-11

A senior Church of England bishop claimed their rejection drove the LGBT community to suicide.

Paul Bayes, the bishop of Liverpool, was speaking at the launch of the Ozanne Foundation - a Christian charity aimed at eliminating discrimination based on sexuality or gender - and although he said the church opposed homophobia and welcome all people, he understood what the community had suffered.

He said: "Yet at the same time we know that many LGBT+ people have suffered pain and rejection from Christians, personally and institutionally, to the extent that many have left the churches or in some cases have felt compelled to self-harm or even to take their own lives.

"And this goes on today. We need to do better."

Bayes went on to liken the LGBT struggle with the abolition of slavery and said the church needs to "change" if it's to do better.

He said: "The church needs to love people as God made them. That will have implications for our policies and stances as churches. If we are to do better, we need to change.

"There have been other times in the history of communities of faith when people have found it difficult to accept change, and sometimes difficult to see God's hand in it.

"A classic example is the struggle for the abolition of slavery, and the ceaseless advocacy that was needed on the part of Christians to persuade their friends that God's love for all human beings had social consequences which demanded justice."

Bayes - who is chairing the Ozanne Foundation - also said to change it will demand both "patience" and "holy impatience".

He said: "It's work which demands patience, but which also calls for a holy impatience... While we are talking, people are suffering."