Dean of St Paul’s warns Church of England over ‘toxic’ views on gays

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The Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral has warned the Church of England it is seen as “toxic or oppressive” due to ongoing disagreements about gay people.

Dr David Ison, who became Dean of the Anglican Cathedral in 2012, issued a warning to the Church ahead of another round of ‘conversations’ aimed at resolving a split on same-sex marriage.

The reverend told Christian Today: “We are in a situation where because of its views about women and about gay people, the church has been seen as toxic or oppressive.

“That breaks my heart, that that should be the case, when the church is there to bear witness to freedom, life and hope in the world. Let’s see what we can do to change that.”

He said: “We need to consider what the acceptance of same-sex marriage in the Church would mean in reality, and how it would be understood in relation to the theology of Christian marriage and the chequered history of that institution, as well as contemporary social practice around sexuality.

“The reality of my encounter over the years, particularly with Christian gay people, has led me to question the rightness of the interpretation of Scripture, that simply to be gay means you must be celibate.”

“I’ve seen in my pastoral work plenty of angst around the whole area of sexuality, particularly dealing with people who are homosexual, about how the double life they’ve felt pushed into has been a huge strain, an emotional and mental strain.

“I’ve known one or two people who’ve committed suicide because of the pressure they’ve been under.”

He said after his appointment in 2012: “We need to take seriously people’s desire for partnership and make sure that the virtues that you see in married relationships are available to people who are gay.”

“I’m encouraged that a good number of gay people want to take on the virtues of marriage. For Christian gay people to model that kind of faithfulness, in a culture which, historically, has often been about promiscuity, is a very good thing to do.”

Watch the full interview via Christian Today below: