Bigots are furious at the world’s first lesbian bishop, Eva Brunne, for something she did in 2015

A tweet featuring a newspaper screenshot about the world’s first lesbian bishop has gone viral after it was shared by angry right-wingers, despite the fact the article is dated October 2015.

A Trump-supporting X account called @akafacehots shared the screenshot on 9 July. It reads: “World’s first lesbian bishop calls for church to remove crosses, to install Muslim prayer space.”

Since then, the tweet has had over 8000 retweets, 13,000 comments and been viewed over two million times.

The story dates back to October 2015, and refers to the fact Eva Brunne, the bishop of Stockholm from 2009 to 2019, who is a lesbian, had suggested making some changes to a single church in Sweden.

The church in question was the Seamen’s Church in Stockholm Harbour, which she suggested converting into church for worshipping sailors of all beliefs, and to mark the direction of Mecca as a service to Muslim visitors.

At that time, thousands of refugees were making their way to Europe by sea following the Syrian Civil War.

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The suggestion was (politely) rejected by Kicki Wetterberg, the head of the Seamen’s Church, who wasn’t part of Eva Brunne’s diocese. In an interview with Dagen, she said she had “no problem with Muslim or Hindu sailors worshipping in the church, but the church will keep its crosses, being a Christian church”.

The screenshot, with its inflammatory wording and hard-to-read date, has caused an intense, reactionary backlash from people who seem to a) think it’s a recent story and b) hate both Muslims and lesbians and are delighted to have the opportunity to make that abundantly clear online.

The top comment reads: “I’m not a Catholic but I think the word we’re looking for here is EXCOMMUNICATION. Blasphemy will also work.”

It’s worth noting that Eva Brunne wasn’t a Catholic bishop, the Catholic church doesn’t allow female bishops. She was a Church of Sweden bishop – of the Evangelical Lutheran faith.

Another comment says: “She is just playing dress up because female bishops dont exist what a joke.”

Female bishops do exist, which can be proven by the fact that Eva Brunne used to be one. The Church of England also allows female bishops, as does the Anglican Church of Canada, the Anglican Church of Aoteraroa, New Zealand and Polynesia, the Anglican Church of Australia, the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, the Episcopal Church of Cuba, the Church of Ireland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Church of South India, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the United States Episcopal Church… you get the idea.

“Why isnt she removed immediately?” said a third person. The answer is, because it happened nine years ago.

The Church of Sweden is famously LGBTQ+ friendly, and in 2021 declared itself proudly trans-inclusive in powerful letter to its transgender members.

Penned by four priests, an author and the diocese’s communications officer, the letter read: “We are writing to you from a church that is also trans.

“A church is made up of people. People are different. We have religious teachers, employees, churchwardens, elected representatives, non-profits and other parishioners who define themselves as transgender people.

“The church thus also consists of transgender people. Therefore, the church could be described as trans.”

Eva Brunne, the world’s first lesbian bishop

When Brunne was appointed Bishop of Stockholm in 2009, she became the first openly lesbian bishop of a mainstream church in the world, as well as the first Church of Sweden bishop to be in a registered same-sex partnership. There was a degree of backlash due to the fact she was LGBTQ+. Five Anglican bishops, including the then-Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, declined to attend her consecration ceremony.

She’s been in a registered partnership with Gunilla Lindén, who is also an ordained priest of the Church of Sweden, since 2001, and they have a son together. Eva Brunne is still a Church of Sweden senior bishop.

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