Church of England in Pride flags row as dean condemns ‘homophobic’ criticism

·2-min read
Sam Margrave, a lay Synod member, claimed Pride’s ‘agenda’ was ‘contrary to scriptural teaching and doctrine’ - Luke Walker/Getty Images
Sam Margrave, a lay Synod member, claimed Pride’s ‘agenda’ was ‘contrary to scriptural teaching and doctrine’ - Luke Walker/Getty Images

The Church of England has become engulfed in a row over the flying of Pride flags on religious buildings.

A submission to prohibit the flying of the rainbow flags is among those being considered by the General Synod, the Church’s legislative body, at a meeting in York next month.

The proposal, put forward by Sam Margrave, a lay Synod member from Coventry, calls for the House of Bishops to “state that support for Pride (including use of the rainbow flag and participation in Pride events) is incompatible with the Christian faith”.

Mr Margrave claimed Pride’s “agenda” was “contrary to scriptural teaching and doctrine by promoting sexuality and promiscuity, and by the denial of the distinction between male and female”. In a thread on Twitter, he wrote: “Pride is the nation’s next Jimmy Savile.”

Andrew Nunn, the Dean of Southwark, one of the most senior clergy members in the Church, called the proposal “homophobic” at the second national conference of the Movement of Supporting Anglicans for an Inclusive Church.

He said: “For me this gives the game away, that as much as it would like it not to be so, there is a homophobic element within the structures of the Church of England that isn’t interested in moving forwards.”

The Church is consulting on LGBT+ issues as part of an ongoing project called Living in Love and Faith.

The Dean said that he had not taken part in the process because he has “had enough”. He added: “It’s not so much long grass that we seem to be in, but more like a swamp which is impossible to escape and is sucking the life out of us.

“Yet I recognise that for many people and for some congregations the conversation has needed to take place and the issues explored in a facilitated way.”

A spokesperson for the Church of England said: “To be considered for debate at General Synod private members’ motions need to be supported by at least 100 signatures from Synod members.

“The proposed motion shared on social media has just been published to begin collecting any signatures and, for the avoidance of doubt, is not scheduled for debate.”

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