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Archbishop Justin Welby can't give a 'straight answer' on whether gay sex is sinful

2017-10-03
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has said he can't give a "straight answer" as to whether gay sex is sinful. Speaking to journalist and former Labour Party spokesperson Alastair Campbell in the November issue of GQ, the head of the Anglican Church admitted that he did not have a "good answer to the question", which he continues to "struggle" with. Asked by whether he considered gay sex to be a sin, Wleby replied: "You know very well that is a question I can’t give a straight answer to." He added: "Sorry, badly phrased there. I should have thought that one through." Pressed as to why he couldn't answer, the 61-year-old 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." When reminded that many same-sex relationships are founded on the same principles, Welby replied: "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." Asked about the church's internal struggle between conservative Anglican church leaders in places such as Uganda and more liberal churches in the UK, Welby replied: "It is irreconcilable." 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." Despite being unable to say whether gay sex was sinful, Welby was clear in his response when asked the same question about homophobia. "Yes. 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," he said. See the full interview in the November issue of GQ, out Thursday 5 October. More stories: Male sports stars strip naked for Dieux du Stade 2018 calendar This gay couple have been together since before homosexuality was decriminalised