Words: Alastair James; pictures: Pexels, Joshua McKnight
A German bishop has apologised to the LGBTQ community for the discrimination inflicted by the Church.
Bishop Christian Stäblein was speaking before Berlin’s Pride Parade and said he was “appalled” by how members of the LGBTQ community had been treated.
People have been subjected to intrusive questions, fired from jobs in the church, and been told to be celibate.
"Their rightful place as children of God"
According to the Irish Times, Bishop Stäblein, of the Berlin-Brandenburg state church, said he was “appalled by the stigmatisation we have perpetrated” upon LGBT members and staff.
He also denounced a policy where LGBTQ people were also denied pastoral housing, which he said along with everything else, had compounded discrimination.
He said LGBTQ people had been denied “their rightful place as children of God in the image of God” by being excluded adding, “we have to assume that many more people were harmed by these practices than we are aware of or can document.”
Asking for forgiveness, the Bishop said, “it is God’s alone to give, and that we bear responsibility as a community for these wrongs”.
It’s not the first time that Bishop Stäblein has proven himself an ally to the community. Last year he reinstated a gay pastor who had experienced discrimination under Nazi Germany.
Pastor Friederich Klein spent three years in prison, was stripped of his title and sent to fight in the Second World War near Leningrad where he went missing in 1944. He was declared dead in 1975.
The Berlin-Brandenburg state church is one member of Germany’s Evangelical Church Federation, which have become more and more progressive over the years by blessing same-sex marriages in 2017.
However, the conservative Saxon church only offers same-sex couples a private blessing, not full services.
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