UK gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, and other protestors, have been attacked by members of an anti-gay breakaway faction of the Anglican Church.
Tatchell, who heads up the organisation OutRage!, was picketing a conference of the newly-formed Anglican fundamentalist group, the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FOCA), at All Soul’s Church in London.
The faction is opposed to the ordination of gay clergy as well as the recognition of same-sex unions by the Church.
The meeting was attended by around 750 clergy and church officials, including the Archbishop of Uganda, Henry Orombi.
Tatchell was joined in the protest by an OutRage! African colleague Brett Lock and gay Christian and Ugandan gay rights activist, Kizza Musinguzi.
According to Tatchell, when they tried to enter the church, they were violently ejected and he was allegedly punched in the chest by a church steward.
“This breakaway Anglican faction is fundamentalist, homophobic and sexist. It opposes equal rights for women and gay people, and is allied with hard-line church leaders whose bigoted teachings are fuelling anti-gay witch-hunts in many countries,” said Tatchell after the incident.
“Jesus Christ is recorded in The Bible as condemning many sins but he never once condemned homosexuality,” he added.
“The anti-gay campaign of the breakaway Anglican leaders is a perversion of Christ’s gospel of love and compassion. These splitters are Old Testament fundamentalists, not true followers of Jesus Christ.”
Musinguzi is a gay member of the Anglican Church of Uganda and was jailed and tortured in Uganda because of his gay rights activism. He is currently seeking asylum in the UK.
“The church is supposed to be all-loving. It is not acceptable that it has one set of rights for straight Christians and a lesser set of rights for gay Christians. When Archbishop Orombi takes a stand against gay people, he signals to the population that it is okay to discriminate against gay people,” said Musinguzi.
“He supports Uganda’s vicious anti-gay laws, which stipulate life imprisonment for consenting same-sex relationships. Orombi is encouraging prejudice and hatred.”