Controversial cleric and politician Alan Boesak says he will quit the Dutch Reformed Church because of its anti-gay stance.
Boesak made the announcement on Friday at the General synod of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa, following a debate on homosexuality.
He told the synod that the church’s position on homosexuality is contrary to the principles of its Belhar Confession, which it adopted in 1986.
The confession commits the church to oppose discrimination on the basis of race and “to strive against any form of injustice.”
Boesak told the delegates that the church should, in the spirit of Belhar, accept gay clergy in same-sex relationships and bless same-sex marriages.
When some members of the synod said that they did not believe that the confession encompassed homosexuality and accused Boesak of misusing Belhar, he said that he would resign.
According to the Beeld newspaper, he claims that delegates “vented their anger and disgust of gay people on him.”
He told the newspaper that the synod was fundamentalist in its biblical view and could thus not claim to have a reformist perspective.
Boesak holds the position of moderator of the Cape synod and is a member of the committee and of the synod commission.
Boesak has not yet formally resigned from these positions and said that he would consult with his colleagues in the Cape before making a final decision.
He has been a longtime supporter of legalising same-sex marriage, in 2004 saying:”How can a Christian de_clare that he loves God and at the same time judge his neighbour on his sexual preferences?”
An anti-apartheid activist, Boesak was convicted of fraud in 1999 and served just over one year of his three year jail sentence. He was reinstated as a cleric in 2004.