Anglican

BBC: Tattoo gay men, clergyman writes

The gay rights group Outrage described the comments as “Neanderthal”.

Outrage spokesman David Allison said: “It’s the kind of remark you might expect from a drunk on a Saturday night, not someone in a supposedly responsible position.”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7655585.stm

Anglican Homophobia Protest

Protest against the anti-gay and anti-women Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (Foca), a newly formed network for millions of Anglicans angered by the rise of liberal theology.

© OutRage! 1990-2010. You are free to use this photo to illustrate news stories and articles about OutRage!, the lesbian and gay human rights group, with credit to the group and photographer. For all other uses, please inquire. Photos: Brett Lock, OutRage!

Gay Millennium Protest at St. Paul’s Cathedral

OutRage! stages the world’s first gay rights protest of the Third Millennium

CALL FOR CHURCH TO APOLOGISE FOR 2000 YEARS OF HOMOPHOBIA

As the Queen arrived for the National Millennium Service at St. Paul’s Cathedral this afternoon, 2nd January, ten OutRage! protesters unfurled a huge banner with the words: “2000 Years of Church Homophobia”.

The protesters had “blood” streaming from their foreheads to symbolise two millennia of church violence and discrimination against gay people.

When the Queen saw the banner, she looked away.

The Queen was joined by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Prime Minister Tony Blair, and over 1000 civic dignitaries. The National Millennium Service was held to celebrate 2000 years of Christianity.

Those arriving for the service responded with mixed reactions to the protest. Several Anglican priests expressed support for a Church apology. Others reacted with homophobic comments, defending the church’s opposition to an equal age of consent.

“They are celebrating 2000 years of Christianity, but we are mourning two millennia of Christian homophobia”, said one of the protesters, John Hunt of OutRage!.

OutRage! is claiming that its demonstration at St. Paul’s is the world’s first gay rights protest of the Third Millennium.

“Over the last 2000 years, church teaching has led to hundreds of millions of homosexuals worldwide being rejected and reviled by their families, driven to depression and suicide, discriminated against by antigay laws, and condemned to death for sodomy”, he said.

“The celebratory, triumphalist tone of the National Millennium Service is an insult to the millions of queers who have suffered as a result of Christian intolerance.

“None of the churches have ever shown any remorse for their persecution of gay people.

“We call on Archbishop Carey to express his regret for the pain inflicted on homosexuals by the church, and urge him to offer his apologies to the gay community.”

Leviticus 20:13 demands that homosexuals be put to death. For over 1800 years, the Christian churches followed this Biblical injunction, sponsoring a Homo Holocaust involving the mass murder of queers.

“We were stoned to death in antiquity, burned alive during the medieval era, and, in this country, hanged from gallows until the mid-nineteenth century.

“This slaughter of homosexuals took place with the official blessing of Dr. Carey’s predecessors, the Archbishops of Canterbury, and of successive Popes and other Christian leaders.”

While the Anglican Church no longer advocates the death penalty for homosexuals, it still preaches a gospel of sexual apartheid, arguing that homosexuality should not be accorded the same moral or legal status as heterosexuality.

“This straight supremacist doctrine is used to justify the treatment of queers as second class citizens. Dr. Carey and most Christians continue to support discrimination against gay people with regard to the age of consent, marriage, employment, Section 28 and fostering and adoption”, said Hunt.

PHOTOS: David Hoffman – 020-89.81.50.41

FURTHER INFORMATION: Peter Tatchell – 020-74.03.17.90

Time to Apologise for 2000 Years of Christian Homophobia

An Open Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury

Archbishop of Canterbury,
Lambeth Palace,
London SE1 7JU

14th December, 1999

Dear George Carey,

You and your church will shortly mark the Millennium by celebrating 2,000 years of Christianity. But many lesbians and gay men will not be celebrating with you. We will be mourning two millennia of Christian homophobia, which has inflicted terrible pain on homosexual people.

The church has incited prejudice, discrimination and violence against queers for 20 centuries.

Over the last 2,000 years, church homophobia has led to hundreds of millions of homosexuals worldwide being rejected and reviled by their families, driven to depression and suicide, discriminated against by antigay laws, and condemned to death for the ’sin’ of sodomy.

The church has never expressed any remorse for its persecution of queers. Your Millennium address is an opportunity to atone for the genocide inflicted on us. We ask you to express your sorrow for the church’s crimes against queer humanity, and to apologise to the lesbian and gay community.

Leviticus 20:13 demands that homosexuals be put to death. For over 1,800 years, the Christian churches followed that Biblical injunction, sponsoring a Homo Holocaust and organising the mass murder of queers.

We were stoned to death in antiquity, burned alive during the medieval era, and, in this country, hanged from gallows until the mid-nineteenth century.

This slaughter of sodomites was conducted in Britain by the church itself prior to the 1500’s, and thereafter by the State — with the official blessing of your predecessors, the Archbishops of Canterbury.

While the church no longer advocates the death penalty for homosexuals, it still preaches a gospel of sexual apartheid, arguing that homosexuality should not be accorded the same moral or legal status as heterosexuality.

This straight supremacist doctrine is used to justify the treatment of queers as second class citizens. Most Christians, including yourself, continue to support discrimination against gay people with regard to the age of consent, marriage, employment and fostering and adoption.

The time has come for Christian contrition. An apology is long overdue for the suffering inflicted on queers by the church.

Peter Tatchell
OutRage!

Tatchell stands trial over Easter Sunday cathedral protest

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell will stand trial at Canterbury Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 30th November 1998, at 10:00 a.m..

He is being tried on a charge of “indecent behaviour in a church” contrary to Section 2 of the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860, (formerly part of the Brawling Act 1551).

Tatchell’s trial will be the first court case involving the privileged legal status of the church since the Gay News blasphemy trial in 1977.

DEMONSTRATION OUTSIDE COURT
OutRage! is urging supporters to protest outside Canterbury Magistrates’ Court, Broad Street, Canterbury, (opposite the Cathedral), from 9:15 a.m. on Monday, 30th November.

DEFENCE FUND APPEAL
Donations to the Defence Fund should be made payable to “OutRage!” and sent to:

OutRage!, P.O. Box 17816, London. SW14 8WT

The trial follows OutRage!’s peaceful two-minute Easter Sunday protest in Canterbury Cathedral, which interrupted the sermon of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George Carey. Tatchell walked into the pulpit and addressed the congregation, criticising Dr. Carey’s support for discrimination against lesbian and gay people with regard to employment, the age of consent, fostering, and marriage.

Of the seven OutRage! protesters in the cathedral, only Tatchell was arrested and charged.

The OutRage! Easter Sunday protest interrupted Carey’s political sermon: not the sacred parts of the Easter Service, such as prayers or communion. Tatchell’s intervention was nonviolent, calm, and dignified. He did not touch or speak to the Archbishop. He uttered no insults, threats, abuse, or bad language, but merely stated the facts about Dr. Carey’s on-the-record opposition to lesbian and gay human rights.

Britain’s top civil liberties lawyer, Mike Mansfield, QC, has agreed to represent Tatchell. His solicitor, who has handled the case for the last six months, is the esteemed gay rights advocate, Angus Hamilton. Tatchell’s defence will be “the right to free speech and peaceful protest”. He will challenge the way the 1860 Act gives the church “privileged protection against protest”.

Amnesty International is monitoring the case, following calls for Tatchell to be adopted as a “prisoner of conscience” if he is jailed.

The National Secular Society has launched an Appeal “deploring the prosecution of Peter Tatchell under the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act” and calling for the 1860 Act to be repealed on the grounds that “it gives the church unique and sweeping powers to suppress dissent”.

Many leading public figures have signed the NSS Appeal, including

  • Lord Henderson of Brompton,
  • Lord Jenkins of Putney,
  • Lord Peston,
  • Lord Raglan,
  • Lord Rea,
  • Viscount Falkland,
  • Baroness Flather,
  • Bishop Derek Rawcliffe,
  • Sir Ian McKellen,
  • Sir Ludovic Kennedy,
  • Stan Newens, MEP,
  • Iain Banks,
  • Alan Bennett,
  • Edward Bond,
  • Marcelle d’Argy Smith,
  • Michael Foot,
  • Harold Pinter,
  • Claire Rayner,
  • Vanessa Redgrave,
  • Jimmy Somerville,
  • Neil Tennant,
  • and Polly Toynbee.

Tony Benn, MP will appear as a character witness. Dr. Evan Harris, MP and the Bishop of Edinburgh and Primate of Scotland, the Rev. Richard Holloway, have written character references on Tatchell’s behalf.

There have been only a handful of prosecutions for protest under the 1860 Act in the past 138 years. The Court has already intimated that it may sentence Tatchell to a term of imprisonment. The last time the 1860 Act was used against protesters was 1966. They were sentenced to two months’ jail.

The prosecution claim that any form of protest in a church –no matter how peaceful and dignified– is “indecent” under the 1860 Act.

No Cathedral clergy or staff are appearing as prosecution witnesses.

“What is at stake in this trial is the right to free speech and peaceful protest”, said David Allison of OutRage!. “The real scandal is not OutRage!’s peaceful protest in defence of human rights, but Dr. Carey’s advocacy of discrimination against lesbians and gay men.

“The 1860 Act gives the church privileged immunity from protest. No other institution has these special, draconian powers to muzzle dissent. It should not be a crime to criticise an Archbishop in his cathedral.”

More recently, Dr. Carey condemned legislation to equalise the age of consent for gay men; urged MP’s to vote in favour of the discriminatory status quo; and encouraged the House of Lords to overturn the 5:2 Commons majority (336 to 129) in favour of equality.

“As President of the Children’s Society –a Church of England charity– Dr. Carey actively discriminates against lesbian and gay people by enforcing the Children’s Society’s ban on homosexual foster parents. This policy results in young people –who could be cared for by loving, responsible gay couples– being left to suffer in the emotional coldness of local authority children’s homes”, said David Allison.

Despite calling in October for “compassion” for General Pinochet, Dr. Carey declines to show similar Christian compassion and forgiveness towards Tatchell. The National Secular Society wrote to Dr. Carey in October, urging that he call for the charge to be dropped, or that he at least ask the court to exercise clemency by not jailing Tatchell. Carey refused.

Canterbury Magistrates’ Court has refused Tatchell permission to summons Dr. Carey as a witness, even though Tatchell satisfied all the legal requirements. The Court declined to give a reason for its refusal. At the same hearing –again without explanation– the Court refused Tatchell access to unused prosecution evidence which the prosecutor has admitted may undermine the case against Tatchell and could help his defence.

It has been suggested that this action by the Court may contravene: Article 14(3)(b) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); Article 6(3) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; and Principle 21 of the Basic Principles on the Rôle of Lawyers, which states: “It is the duty of the competent authorities to ensure lawyers access to appropriate information, files and documents in their possession or control in sufficient time to enable lawyers to provide effective legal assistance to their clients. Such access should be provided at the earliest possible time.”

Tatchell has been involved in over 1,000 direct action and civil disobedience protests during his 30 years of campaigning for lesbian and gay human rights. He has been convicted only once (following a peaceful protest in 1994 against Muslim fundamentalists who were advocating the murder of homosexuals): but that conviction was overturned on appeal.

NSS APPEAL

We oppose religious privilege and support the right to peaceful protest. As well as deploring the prosecution of Peter Tatchell under the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860, we strongly believe that a jail term is entirely inappropriate for a peaceful protest in defence of human rights.

We furthermore call for the repeal of the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860: it gives the church unique and sweeping powers to suppress dissent. This is unacceptable in a modern democracy.

To add your voice to this appeal, cut and paste the above two paragraphs; add your name, address, and any official capacity in which you are signing; and email to: John Hunt, OutRage! London

Canterbury Magistrates’ Court, Broad Street. CT1 2UE; Tel. 01304-21.86.00; Fax 01227-45.77.27

Canterbury Visitor Centre, 34 St. Margaret’s Street; Tel. 01227-76.65.67.

Lambeth / Festival Pier

Forty gay rights activists demonstrated tonight, Tuesday, 28th July, between 6 and 7 p.m., as 800 Anglican bishops from the Lambeth Conference arrived at Festival Pier on London’s South Bank to take a boat trip down the Thames.

The demonstrators from OutRage! and other queer rights groups, including the NUS, castigated the bishops over their support for legal discrimination against homosexuals, and demanded a “Queer Reformation” to end church support for antigay discrimination. (During the recent House of Lords vote on the age of consent, Bishops voted two-to-one against equality.)

©1998 John Hunt/OutRage! London
This picture may be copied in the cause of furthering our aims, provided that the source is acknowledged.

Boating Bishops picketed by Mitred Protesters

Forty gay rights activists demonstrated tonight, Tuesday, 28th July, between 6 and 7 p.m., as 800 Anglican bishops from the Lambeth Conference arrived at Festival Pier on London’s South Bank to take a boat trip down the Thames.

The demonstrators from OutRage! and other queer rights groups, including the NUS, castigated the bishops over their support for legal discrimination against homosexuals, and demanded a “Queer Reformation” to end church support for antigay discrimination. (During the recent House of Lords vote on the age of consent, Bishops voted two-to-one against equality.)

A giant billboard was erected by the protesters at the entrance to Festival Pier, emblazoned with the words: “Anglicans! Stop opposing gay human rights!”. Protesters chanted: “Church of hatred, church of fear, stop crucifying queers!”.

Some of the protesters were dressed as bishops, nuns and priests. Two OutRage! ‘bishops’ kissed each other, while a gay male nun from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence sprinkled “homo water” on the bishops from the Lambeth Conference as they arrived, “to cleanse them of the sin of homophobia”.

As Archbishop Carey arrived and hastened onto the waiting “Mayflower Garden”, the protesters redoubled their shouts of “Shame!”. But support was offered by several Conference delegates who smiled and waved approval. The Bishop of Oxford came over to express his support for lesbian and gay equality. The Bishop of Rochester, however, attempted to defend church denial of homosexual human rights, claiming that church morality overrides civil law.

“Dr. Carey and many of his Bishops are acting like the leaders of the Afrikaaner Church in South Africa during apartheid”, said John Hunt of OutRage!. “They are opposing equality and endorsing discrimination.”

As well as opposing an equal age of consent, the Anglican Church also advocates other violations of lesbian and gay human rights. –

“The Church of England Children’s Society is alone amongst the major adoption agencies in denying lesbians and gay men the right to foster deprived children, claiming that we are unfit to care for children”, said Hunt.

“Archbishop Carey supports the denial of legal rights to lesbian and gay couples, which deprives them of recognition as next-of-kin in the event of accident or death.”

FURTHER INFORMATION: Peter Tatchell 020-74.03.17.90
PHOTOS OF PROTEST: Gary Trotter 01628-54.25.54
Rob Todd 0467-42.02.83

Carey hides from Gay Rights Protesters

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been accused of cowardice after he was smuggled by minders this morning (Monday, 20th July) into the opening session of the Lambeth Conference at the University of Kent by the back door, to avoid lesbian and gay rights protesters from OutRage! who were peacefully picketing the front entrance. “Carey was too cowardly to face us”, said Marina Cronin of OutRage!.

Immediately after he finished delivering his presidential address, Dr. Carey was hurriedly bundled out of a side fire exit, to escape the OutRage! protesters, who were waiting to challenge him over his opposition to an equal age of consent. They held placards saying: “Carey opposes an equal age of consent”.

The OutRage! protest –against Dr. Carey’s support for continued legal discrimination against lesbians and gay men– was warmly received by many of the 800 delegates arriving at the conference hall. “Apart from homophobic abuse from two bishops who supported the church’s opposition to homosexual human rights, a gratifyingly large number of delegates gave us a warm reception”, said Marina Cronin. “We were greeted with smiles, handshakes, and words of thanks and encouragement. Bishops Harries, Selby and Spong came over and expressed their support”, said Cronin.

Last month, the Archbishop spoke out against the equalisation of the age of consent, and vowed to use his influence to reinstate a discriminatory age of 18 for gay men when the issue is debated in the House of Lords this Wednesday (22nd July).

“By opposing an equal age of consent, Dr. Carey is supporting a discriminatory law that allows 16 and 17 year old gay men to be arrested, dragged to court and jailed for up to two years for consenting homosexual relationships. His attitude is blatant persecution”, said Ray Harvey-Amer of OutRage!.

“We fear that Dr. Carey and the Bishops who sit in the Lords may succeed in overturning the Commons’ vote in favour of equality at 16.”

The age of consent is not the only issue where Dr. Carey endorses discrimination against homosexual men and women. –

“The Archbishop is opposed to lesbian and gay partners being granted legal rights, such as recognition as next-of-kin.

“As President of the Church of England Children’s Society, Dr. Carey endorses its policy of refusing to allov homosexual couples to foster children”, said Harvey-Amer.

FURTHER INFORMATION: Peter Tatchell 020-74.03.17.90
PHOTOS OF PROTEST: Rob Todd 0467-42.02.83
Simon Bebbington (ISF reporter) 0378-30.76.36

Court refuses witness summons for Dr. Carey

On Friday, 12th June, Canterbury Magistrates Court refused to allow gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell to witness summons the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George Carey.

Mr. Tatchell condemned the decision as “unjust and unfair”. “I am being denied the right to call a witness who is crucial to my defence”, he said.

“Dr. Carey’s evidence is necessary to establish the facts of the case. He was the only person who witnessed the entire protest from start to finish. The court’s refusal to summon the Archbishop will seriously hamper my defence against the charge of ‘indecency’.”

The court also turned down Mr. Tatchell’s request to secure evidence that is being withheld by the prosecution. His bid to change the venue of his trial was also denied.

Mr. Tatchell’s trial date was today fixed for 25th and 28th September at Canterbury Magistrates Court. He is charged with “indecent behaviour in a church”, contrary to Section 2 of the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act of 1860, (formerly part of the Brawling Act of 1551), following his interruption of Dr. Carey’s Easter Sunday sermon in Canterbury Cathedral.

Mr. Tatchell’s request for the disclosure of unused prosecution evidence was rejected by the court, even though it was conceded that this material may undermine the case against him. “The prosecution admitted the evidence they are withholding could aid my defence”, said Mr. Tatchell. “Being denied these documents will make it harder for me to win this case”.

Mr. Tatchell’s application to move the trial from Canterbury to another town was also refused. He argued the trial should be transferred because one of the key prosecution witnesses is a magistrate at the Canterbury Court.

“It would not be appropriate for the trial to be heard by magistrates who may be friends of a prosecution witness”, said Tatchell. The court ruled that his case be heard by a stipendiary magistrate from outside the Canterbury area.

“Despite these setbacks, I will continue to fight this case on the issues of free speech and the right to peaceful protest. The real crime is Dr. Carey’s support for discrimination against lesbians and gay men, not my demonstration for human rights in the Cathedral.”

DEFENCE FUND APPEAL

OutRage! is appealing for contributions to the Peter Tatchell Defence Fund.

“We need financial help to fight this prosecution”, said David Allison of OutRage!. “Peter’s case is an important test of civil liberties. We must defend the right to peaceful protest and resist this attempt to stifle freedom of speech”.

Cheques should be made payable to “OutRage!” and sent to:
OutRage!, P.O. Box 17816, London. SW14 8WT

Tatchell attacks prosecution as a waste of public money

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has condemned his prosecution over OutRage!’s Canterbury Cathedral protest as “a violation of the right to peaceful protest and an extravagant waste of police and court resources, which has already cost Canterbury taxpayers thousands of pounds”.

“This money would be better spent on health and education, or on fighting serious crimes like murders, rapes and muggings”, said Peter Tatchell.

He has criticised the Crown Prosecution Service for “refusing to state the public interest grounds for proceeding with my case, and for going ahead with the prosecution despite the refusal of Cathedral authorities to press charges against me”.

Tatchell is due to appear in Canterbury Magistrates Court this Friday, 5th June, at 10:30 a.m..

“No Cathedral clergy or adminstrators are appearing as prosecution witnesses. All have declined to support the charges against me. Why is the prosecution going ahead if church officials are not backing it?

“Before any court case can prooceed, the Crown Prosecution Service must establish that it is in the public interest. I staged a brief, peaceful protest. There is no evidence that I am a menace or a threat to the public. I have given a solemn undertaking that I will not disrupt any further services in Canterbury Cathedral.

“Despite my repeated requests, the Crown Prosecution Service has refused to state the public interest grounds for proceeding against me.

“This prosecution has already expended a huge amount of public resources that could be spent on fighting serious crimes. If it goes to full trial, my case will be a massive financial burden on the taxpayers of Canterbury. I doubt they want to see their money spent on a frivolous prosecution.”

Mr. Tatchell is charged with “indecent behaviour” in a church, contrary to Section 2 of the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860 (formerly part of the Brawling Act 1551). The prosecution claims that any disruptive behaviour in a church is “indecent” under the terms of the Act.

“I will fight the prosecution on the issue of free speech”, said Tatchell. “The right to peaceful protest does not stop at the door of a Cathedral.”

Tatchell plans to witness summons the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Dean of Canterbury Cathedral to testify in his defence.

DEFENCE FUND APPEAL

OutRage! is appealing for contributions to the Peter Tatchell Defence Fund.

“We need financial help to fight this prosecution”, said David Allison of OutRage!. “Peter’s case is an important test of civil liberties. We must defend the right to peaceful protest and resist this attempt to stifle freedom of speech”.

Cheques should be made payable to “OutRage!” and sent to:
OutRage!, P.O. Box 17816, London. SW14 8WT