Faith

Christian Former UK Party Leader Admits He Lied About Believing Gay Sex Is Not a Sin

YouTube screenshot of Tim Farron on Premier Christian Radio.

Tim Farron, an evangelical Christian who led the Liberal Democrats in Britain for two years, admitted this week that he had lied during the election last year when he said he did not believe gay sex to be a sin.

“There was a General Election and all they wanted to do was talk about my Christian beliefs. I foolishly and wrongly attempted to push it away by giving an answer that frankly was not right,” Farron told Premier Christian Radio in an interview on Wednesday.

The politician added, “I found myself in a situation, partly because of events beyond my control and partly because of things that were my fault, where I either had to be compromising my faith, frankly, saying things I thought were not true, or be true to my faith and frankly be in a situation where I sucked all the attention that ought to be going to me being the mouthpiece of the party.”

In April of last year, Farron told the BBC, “I don’t believe gay sex is a sin. I take the view that as a political leader, my job is not to pontificate on theological matters but this has become a talking point, an issue – and in that case, if people have got the wrong opinion of what I think of those issues, it’s right to correct it.”

Even at the time, Farron suggested his answer was less theologically correct and more an attempt to switch the conversation back to political issues. “When I get asked theological questions, which I don’t think many other politicians do get asked, I took the view that it would be better for me to say this is a matter of theological nitpicking, and let’s talk about the politics,” he said.

Even so, he did point-blank say “I don’t believe gay sex is a sin,” and this week he revealed that this was a lie.

“If you’re a Christian you’ve got a very clear idea about what sin is — it is us falling short of the glory of God — and that is something we equally — all of us — share,” Farron explained. The fact that Christians consider gay sex to be a sin does not mean they view themselves as pure and perfect, better than LGBT people. In fact, St. Paul called himself “the worst of sinners,” and Christians are called to think of themselves in that light.

Non-Christians don’t have this perspective, however. “So in one sense to ask that question is to essentially persecute one group of human beings because sin is something we are all — Jesus excepted — guilty of. But if you’re not a Christian, what does sin mean? It is to be accused of something,” Farron explained.

In short, Christians and non-Christians are “talking different languages.”

“Maybe I could have explained the biblical teaching of sex and sexuality,” the former party leader admitted, but “with the exception of programs like this, you don’t get more than 20 seconds to get your message across.”

Rather than take the time to explain theology, the politician prioritized doing his job. “So I’m a committed Christian, but my job as leader of the liberal democrats is to get our message across,” Farron explained. “If you’re the chief executive of a bus company and you spend all your time talking about the gospel and not looking after timetables and your staff, then you’d probably get sacked.”

Eventually, the balance became too difficult, and he resigned his leadership of the party.

“Christianity is, or should always be, countercultural, so if you’re not being persecuted a bit, there’s something wrong,” Farron explained. He dismissed the idea that “there’s some wicked evil agenda to try and sort of get at me and get at Christians. I think it’s more the fact that it’s just interesting to journalists.”

He also explained how a biblical Christian can side with the Left on certain issues. Some “just can’t comprehend how somebody can have strong convictions and be a Bible-believing Christian and really passionately believe in people’s rights to make their own choices — that’s what liberalism is.”

Farron lamented, “We’re tolerant of everything apart from the things we don’t like, and that’s not liberal.”

While Farron’s false statements are regrettable — he said he did regret them — they make sense in the current cultural moment. It is difficult to balance the Bible’s positions on LGBT issues with the Left’s demand for purity on these issues. Christians should not have to lie about their beliefs in order to do their jobs, and believing that gay sex is a sin does not imply believing that the government should outlaw it. According to Jesus, looking lustfully at another person is also a sin, and no Christian calls for making lustful looks illegal.

Farron’s confession should demonstrate to liberals that Christians can believe gay sex is a sin and still lead a party of the Left. It should also encourage acceptance and understanding of biblical views on LGBT issues. This event represents a key opportunity for liberals to prove that they are truly tolerant — they should take it.

Click “Load More” to watch the interview.