Oxford’s Trinity College criticised for hosting conference by anti-gay Christian Concern

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Oxford’s Trinity College has been criticised for agreeing to host a conference organised by the anti-gay group Christian Concern.

The Independent reports the ‘Wilberforce Academy’ event began yesterday at Trinity with a seminar on ‘How To Engage with Secular Culture’.

The conference is due to end on Friday and several students have complained to the paper.

Christian Concern caused controversy last year, when the event was held at Exeter College.

Oxford graduate Michael Amherst returned his Exeter College English degree in disgust at the decision of university staff to allow the conference to take place.

In a conciliatory move, Exeter College subsequently decided to donate profits from the controversial conference to LGBT organisations.

Christian Concern has a history of campaigning against LGBT legislation and is a staunch critic of the government’s pending same-sex marriage bill for England and Wales.

Its founder, Andrea Minichiello Williams, has also been listed as a director of the limited company behind the anti-equality Coalition for Marriage campaign.

Williams has previously been reported as saying: “It is time to stand up to a militant homosexual lobby who are unable to tolerate difference of opinion and who seek to coerce behaviour and thought.”

However, she has disputed claims of homophobia by saying: “Nothing could be further from the truth, we have immense love for every human being”.

“It is wrong to portray us as an organisation that is motivated by any hatred,” she added.

Christian Concern also lists Islam as a concern on its website.

Ivor Roberts, the president of Trinity, told the Independent that he hadn’t heard of Christian Concern before this morning, and that he had “no idea there was anything controversial about them”.

“Christian Concern is a neutral name,” he said, and in seeing that the organisation had the support of former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, added: “the conference people booked it accordingly”.

In November of last year, Lord Carey accused politicians of ‘plundering’ the institution of marriage at an anti-equal marriage rally.

Mr Roberts confirmed that he already set up a review into how the college selects its conference partners, to make sure that its ‘policies of equality’ are followed in the future, but would not be drawn on donating the proceeds to charity.

Christian Concern’s sister organisation, the Christian Legal Centre, has been fighting to overturn last year’s decision of Transport for London to ban homophobic adverts from being displayed on buses in the capital.

In January, the Oxford Union hosted a debate on same-sex parenting.

The outcome of the debate was that a motion in support of gay parents was passed by a large majority.

Arguing for the motion, the winning team of the debate, was PinkNews.co.uk and Out4Marriage founder, Benjamin Cohen, gay rights activist, Richard Fairbass of the band Right Said Fred, and Phyll Opoku-Gyimah of Black Pride UK.

Debating against the motion was Peter D Williams of Catholic Voices, anti-abortion activist Anthony McCarthy and anti-equality activist, Lynette Burrows.