As an American male, the royal family in England is an uninteresting mystery to me. I pay very little attention to their comings and goings. One news report about the royal family has caught my attention, though. An Anglican minister is praying and encouraging others to pray that Prince George, the young son of Prince William and Kate Middleton, will grow up to be gay.
Two years ago, Reverend Kelvin Holdsworth published a blog post in which he encouraged people to join him in prayer that Prince George will be gay. Due to the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Holdsworth retweeted the blog post. The Scottish Episcopal Church minister soon found himself in the midst of a controversy.
In the original post, Rev. Holdsworth was making a case for how the Church of England could be forced to recognize same-sex marriages. In the post titled “How to Change the Church of England,” he explained that people should pray “for the Lord to bless Prince George with a love, when he grows up, of a fine young gentleman. A royal wedding might sort things out remarkably easily. Though we might have to wait 25 years for that to happen.”
The original post, which has been deleted, was replaced with an overall defense of the original post which includes a half-hearted apology for dragging the royal family into it and a pointed jab at those who had a problem with his original post.
Rev. Holdsworth wrote,
Nearly two years ago, I wrote a piece about how campaigners might change the Church of England to make it more inclusive of LGBT people. The post was copied and pasted elsewhere and commented on widely at the time. In those two years I can’t remember any negative comment about it
This week, this old post has received much media attention, many people presuming that it was a new post and part of a commentary about the Royal Family rather than the church. The post was entirely about the church and its policies around LGBT inclusion.
I could spend the next few weeks defending that post and keep reminding people what it was originally about. However, it seems to me that isn’t likely to be fruitful. The ironic comment that I made quite a while ago could be seen as hurtful to members of the Royal Family, a group of people whom I actually rather admire.
I’m sorry that something that I wrote has been interpreted in the way that it has. It was not my intention to cause hurt and I regret that this has led to the current focus on Prince George.
The issues about the church and its capacity to welcome same-sex couples who want to be married remain important. However, I won’t be part of a media circus that puts further pressure on members of the Royal Family. They need peace and young members of the Royal Family need privacy too.
Speaking to the BBC, Gavin Ashenden, an Anglican missionary who has previously served as the Queen’s chaplain, summed up the problem with Holdsworth’s post nicely, beginning with the observation that Rev. Holdsworth’s comments “were not Christian.”
“To use prayer as a mechanism for wishing this on Prince George is an unkind and destructive thing to do,” he told the BBC.
“It doesn’t have the prince’s best interests at heart, but uses him as a gender-political football to please 1.7% of the population.
“What is especially odd and incongruous is the fact that it is suddenly OK to pray for someone to be gay, but totally unacceptable to pray for them to be free from being gay and to resume a sexuality that was in tune with their biology.
“This seems not only contradictory but hypocritical.”
Considering the current trajectory of the Church of England, it’s only a matter time before Rev. Holdsworth gets his wish that the Church of England will recognize same-sex marriages.