Because the archbishop of Canterbury lives in London and in my country London is given priority in all things, I think people often forget that the Church of England has two archbishops. The one in York traditionally rubber stamps the particular campaigns of the one in Lambeth. If they can't you end up with situations such as the relatively recent resignation of an archbishop of York who didn't want to undermine his "senior colleague" by being a really decent Christian pastor, loved by many, who happened to be gay.

Therefore, John Sentamu's anti-racist/pro-sexist outburst in the Telegraph this week can be regarded as a definite policy statement as far as the upper hierarchy of the Church of England is concerned. It is also another nail in the coffin of the intellectual reputation of the church and will be seen by many as typical of the double-think of an institution that regularly calls for freedom for some oppressed peoples whilst publicly putting the boot into oppressed groups who happen to be hated by members of the currently sexy cause célèbre.


Dr John Sentamu, has told the Daily Telegraph that marriage must be between a man and a woman. He also said the Church should do more to avoid its leadership being mainly white and middle class.

He said "I don't think it is the role of the state to define what marriage is. It is set in tradition and history and you can't just (change it) overnight, no matter how powerful you are. We've seen dictators do it in different contexts and I don't want to redefine very clear social structures that have been in existence for a long time and then overnight the state believes it could go in a particular way."

But Dr Sentamu said the Church would not stand idly by if the government sought to allow same-sex marriages to be on a par with traditional couplings.

He said: "If you genuinely would like the registration of civil partnerships to happen in a more general way, most people will say they can see the drift. But if you begin to call those marriage, you're trying to change the English language. That does not mean you diminish, condemn, criticise, patronise any same-sex relationships because that is not what the debate is about."

The archbishop said: "The Church has always stood out - Jesus actually was the odd man out. I'd rather stick with Jesus than be popular because it looks odd."

Dr Sentamu also said both black parishioners and white working class churchgoers were poorly represented in the Anglican church.

"Heaven is not going to be full of just black people, just working-class people, just middle-class people, it's going to be, in the words of Desmond Tutu, a rainbow people of God in all its diversity," he added.

How somebody can come out with that last statement at the same time as overtly displaying bigotry towards certain "rainbow people of God" is beyond my understanding.



  1. Just saw this at TA.

    Is it about (past!) time to start “The Episcopal Church in England” yet?

  2. The Church, society and every other religious group under the sun has spent centuries constantly redefining marriage. It’s hard to believe that a so-called intelligent man as ++Ebor can be so dense as to ignore multiple patterns for marriage in scripture, culture and history.

    But hey, what do I know? obviously only one form of prejudice, racism, is unacceptable.


  3. He’s about three-quarters right. He’s right on race and class. He’s right on not letting the state dictate what marriage is. we’ve got a historically narrow understanding of marriage at the moment; registration of marriages was an 18th-century invention, and before that any couple living together who said they were married, were married. We need to think seriously about recongnising the relationships of couple living together long-term, without the piece of paper.

    But he’s disastrously wrong on gay marriage. Surely marriage is about a relationship – as it is in Genesis 2 – not about having one partner, and only one, with a y chromosome, and one with a pair of x’s.