Senior Church of England Bishop says gays must “repent and be changed”

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

While just over a million people turned out in London for gay pride, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester called on gay people to “repent and be changed” saying the Church of England must not be “rolled over by culture.” Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell called on the Bishop to “repent his homophobia.”

Dr Nazir-Ali told the Sunday Telegraph: “We want to uphold the traditional teaching of the Bible. We believe that God has revealed his purpose about how we are made.

“People who depart from this don’t share the same faith. They are acting in a way that is not normative according to what God has revealed in the Bible.

“The Bible’s teaching shows that marriage is between a man and a woman. That is the way to express our sexual nature.

“We welcome homosexuals, we don’t want to exclude people, but we want them to repent and be changed.”

He added: “We want to hold on to the traditional teaching of the Church. We don’t want to be rolled over by culture and trends in the Church. We want a movement for renewal. We need a reformation of the Church and the life of the Communion.”

“We’re two different sorts of religion,” he told the newspaper. “One has a view of God and the Church and Christianity that is completely different from the other.”

Dr Nazir-Ali,has consistently opposed gay rights in speeches, interviews and in votes in the House of Lords.

“As an Asian man, the Bishop knows the pain of racial prejudice,” said Peter Tatchell. “I am shocked that he wants to inflict similar prejudice on gay people.

“Homophobia is a social and moral evil, just like racism. Bigotry, even in the guise of religion, has no place in a compassionate, caring society.

“I call on the Bishop to repent his homophobia. His prejudice goes against Christ’s gospel of love and compassion.

“This is merely the latest of many homophobic outbursts by the Bishop. He is a long-time vociferous opponent of gay quality and a strident supporter of legal discrimination against homosexuals.

“He has repeatedly spoken and voted against gay human rights in the House of Lords, defending homophobic laws like the unequal age of consent, criticising civil partnership legislation and opposing IVF fertility treatment for lesbian couples.”

Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association Secretary David Christmas said: “This outburst makes the case for immediate disestablishment of the Church of England even stronger. While the Bishop is entitled to his bigoted views, an organisation which provides a platform for them has no place as the established religion of England, still less to special privileges such as reserved seats in the national legislature.”