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