Asked by Campbell if gay sex was sinful, Welby said: “You know very well that is a question I can’t give a straight answer to. Sorry, badly phrased there. I should have thought that one through.”
Pressed on why he could not answer, the archbishop said: “Because I don’t do blanket condemnation and I haven’t got a good answer to the question. I’ll be really honest about that. I know I haven’t got a good answer to the question. Inherently, within myself, the things that seem to me to be absolutely central are around faithfulness, stability of relationships and loving relationships.”
In response to Campbell’s assertion that those could be characteristics of same-sex relationships, Welby said: “I know it could be. I am also aware – a view deeply held by tradition since long before Christianity, within the Jewish tradition – that marriage is understood invariably as being between a man and a woman. Or, in various times, a man and several women, if you go back to the Old Testament.
“I know that the church around the world is deeply divided on this in some places, including the Anglicans and other churches, not just us, and we are – the vast majority of the church is – deeply against gay sex.”
He added: “I am having to struggle to be faithful to the tradition, faithful to the scripture, to understand what the call and will of God is in the 21st century and to respond appropriately with an answer for all people – not condemning them, whether I agree with them or not – that covers both sides of the argument. And I haven’t got a good answer, and I am not doing that bit of work as well as I would like.”
Asked if he was trying to reconcile Anglican church leaders in places such as Uganda and more liberal churches principally in the UK and north America, Welby said: “It is irreconcilable.”
But, he added, homophobia was sinful “because you are hating individuals. I don’t think it is sinful to say that you disagree with gay sex. But to express that by way of hatred for people is absolutely wrong in the same way as misogyny or racism is wrong.”
Hate the sin, love the sinners.
Wonder how much stick he’s going to get for an absolutely bog standard theological view?