Anglican Leaders Speak Up About 'Blasphemy' of Cathedral Flying Rainbow 'Pride' Flag
On Tuesday, Britain's Ely Cathedral announced that it would fly a rainbow "Pride" flag on Saturday in the interests of "inclusion." Ordained Anglican leaders in and outside the Church of England spoke out against this move as "blasphemy."
"The flying of a gay pride flag above a cathedral is more than a contradiction, it constitutes a blasphemy," Gavin Ashenden, a missionary bishop to England who rejected his ordination in the Church of England (and his position as honorary chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II) but kept his connection with the global Anglican Church, told PJ Media. He argued that the pro-LGBT Christians have twisted scripture to put words into God's mouth.
Ashenden cited Romans 1, noting that "distorted sexual identity and practice is diagnosed by St. Paul as a symptom of idolatry. He warns that the more a society turns its back on the living God, the more people experience dis-ease and disintegration. This expresses itself partially in a confusion of sexual identity and equally by an absence of continence."
"By contrast the Judaeo Christian tradition is a journey into a deeper sexual and psychological purity set within the parameters of God’s created order," the ordained Anglican leader explained.
Ashenden framed the discussion in terms of a cultural attack on Christianity. "The present cultural and ideological assault on the Church takes the form of an attack on the conceptual integrity of both marriage and the family. It particularly sets out to undermine the integrity of the church on the given-ness of the ‘binary’ categories of man and woman coming together to co-create as God’s agents."
Tragically, "Instead of resisting this assault, parts of the church have welcomed it. By ripping a piece of St Paul out context they have made him say the opposite of what he intended."
Rather than following Romans 1, Jesus' teaching on sexuality, and the clear condemnations of homosexual activity in Leviticus, pro-LGBT Christians turn to Galatians 3:28, the statement that "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." The LGBT argument (that Christians should radically accept LGBT identities on this basis) is the exact opposite of what St. Paul intended by the passage, Ashenden argued.
"Paul explored the basic categories of mutual antagonisms embedded in his culture," the Anglican explained. "Jews against gentiles, men against women and the free against the enslaved. Once anyone defined by these categories of adversity entered new life in Christ, the baptized life washed these antipathies away into a new identity."
"No Christian can be truly Christian if they place a defining categorising adjective in front of their identity," Ashenden explained. Indeed, in Mark 8:34-38, Jesus tells His disciples that whoever would follow Him should "deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me, for whoever would save his life [soul, identity] will lose it but whoever loses his life [soul, identity] for my sake will find it."
"It would be ludicrous to describe people as 'straight' Christians," the Anglican argued. "It is just as ludicrous to define people as 'gay' Christians. The matter is not made any clearer by the observation that the very term gay is too clumsy to act as a descriptor of the horizon of sexual incoherence that stretches through the spectrum of LGBTIQCAPGNGFNBA etc…"
The Anglican noted that "of all adjectives, the least desirable would be an adjective denoting perversion of God-given identity or a disorder of behavior in sullying sexual purity as enabled experienced and understood in the Holy Spirit. But that is exactly what the gay pride movement has set out to achieve in the redefining and undermining of Christian sexual ethics and theological identity."
Chillingly, this puts the very church at odds with itself. "In flying the flag of gay pride from a Christian Cathedral, the clergy have indicated their allegiance to an ideology of sexual identity that is at complete odds with the faith that the Cathedral was built to teach and embody," Ashenden explained. "They have instead adopted the categories, language and ethics of the enemies of Christ and his kingdom. A church built on such a foundation, of ideological sand, will soon collapse."
Matthew Firth, pastor of the Anglican churches St. Cuthbert's and Holy Trinity, Darlington, also attacked Ely Cathedral for hanging the flag.
"Given that Pride teaches things which are in direct contravention of what the Bible and [the Book of Common Prayer] teach, how is it justifiable for an Anglican cathedral to fly their flag?" Firth asked in a Facebook comment.
The pastor flatly declared, "I don’t think Ely Cathedral should be flying the Pride flag as Pride organisations teach things about marriage and sexuality which are in direct conflict with the Bible, Prayer Book and Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference."
Many Anglican leaders and even cathedrals have embraced the LGBT movement to one degree or another, flying LGBT flags — or even hosting church ceremonies catered to the LGBT community, like an "LGBTI+ friendly Eucharist," complete with a rainbow flag on the altar.
Responding to these events, anonymous Anglicans adopted the spirit of Reformation leader Martin Luther, nailing a protest document to the doors of five cathedrals throughout Britain. The protest came around the 500th anniversary of Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the Wittenberg church door, an event that began the Protestant Reformation.
Other Anglicans have sent messages of protest to church leaders directly, and they rarely receive substantive responses.