A vicar from Tunbridge Wells has been blasted by LGBT charity Stonewall for likening local LGBT pride celebrations to child abuse.
Despite the Church Of England taking a softer stance on LGBT issues in recent years, it's continual opposition to same-sex marriage has led to some within the clergy to leave the church
, or even marry in secret.
Many leaders in the church have stood against increasingly liberal views on LGBT rights.
Dr Peter Sanlon, vicar of St Mark's Church in the Kentish town commented on a Facebook post by the Diocese of Chichester advertising a Pride tea party in which he appeared to compare the event with child abuse, describing both as "pushing sexual boundaries."
He said: "Given your diocese has one of the worst records on historic child abuse in the c of e, and even now has a special procedure of investigation to discover what went on and who in addition to the bishop currently in prison was involved- one would think your diocese would have the humility and wisdom to stop pushing sexual boundaries.
"Have you not done enough damage to the church of England?"
He is challenged by another user, who writes: "It saddens me that you are choosing to draw parallels between LGBT Christians being given a safe space to discuss their faith and their sexuality, and the terrible crime of child abuse.
However, Sanlon continued to insist on his position, saying: "There is a difference is breaching the law of the state in sexuality as a previous bishop of Chichester did - and encouraging people to break Biblical and ecclesiastical standards.
"The former can land you in prison, the latter won't. But both are pushing boundaries and both will be given an accounting before God's judgement throne."
According to Kent News
, a spokesperson for Stonewall condemned the comments, saying: "These comments are extremely damaging and show extreme contempt for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.
"Fortunately we work with many faith leaders who support LGBT people and who are passionate about equality.
"Stonewall will continue to empower these people to share their stories, to help dispel the myth that you cannot be LGBT and of faith.
According to Kent News, a number of parishes may arrange a "shadow synod" in Tunbridge Wells to discuss a number of disagreements with the Church of England, mainly over its increasingly liberal stance on issues such as LGBT rights.
In an interview with the Telegraph
Dr. Sanlon said: "If senior leaders of the Church of England water down the teaching of the Church of England on key issues like homosexuality, then this synod could easily evolve in to a new Anglican jurisdiction in England.
"The Archbishop of Canterbury has signalled that he is aware of the possibility that a significant proportion of the church will not accept a change in the church's teaching.
"This could be the beginning of that playing out."
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