The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby
The Archbishop of Canterbury has claimed that accepting gay marriage could lead to the murder of Christian people around the world.
In a public radio discussion on LBC, the Reverend Justin Welby – the head of the Church of the England and the symbolic head of Anglicans around the globe – warned that the church’s approval of gay marriage in the UK could have dire consequences.
“What we say here is heard around the world,” he stated.
Welby went on to explain that “the impact of that on Christians in countries far from here, like South Sudan, like Nigeria and other places, would be absolutely catastrophic, and we have to love them as much as we love the people who are here.”
He revealed that during a trip to South Sudan he visited the mass grave of Christians killed because of sometime that had happened in America.
“The mass grave had 369 bodies in it and I was standing with the relatives. That burns itself into your soul, as does the suffering of gay people in this country.”
He was warned that the Church of England’s possible acceptance of gay marriage could lead some to believe that Christians would try to make them gay which would result in anti-Christian violence.
“Personally… I have real hesitations about [same sex marriage]. I’m incredibly uncomfortable saying that because I really don’t want to say no to people who love each other. But you have to have a sense of following what the teaching of the Church is. We can’t just make sudden changes,” Welby said.
He also stated that he was deeply concerned about the plight of gay youth. “It’s something I wrestle with every day, and often in the middle of the night. I’m incredibly conscious of the position of gay people in this country, how badly they’ve been treated over the years, how badly the church has behaved.
“And, at the same time I’m incredibly conscious of what I saw in January in the South Sudan in the DRC and other places, you know, it’s not a simple issue,” he added.
While the legalisation of same-sex marriage came into effect in England and Wales last month, the Church of England – the parent Anglican Church – does not currently recognise such unions. Conservative Anglicans, particularly those in Africa, have threatened to split from it over the issues of gay marriage and gay clergy.