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Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement sparks African conflict

Gay-friendly letter ahead of tour to Africa draws criticism from clerics

A letter written by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby calling on Anglicans to treat gay people as "children of God" has drawn the criticism of African church leaders. Credit: archbishopofcanterbury.org

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s African tour is sparking conflict between British and African Anglican leadership over the treatment of gay people, The Telegraph reports. 

In advance of his visit to Africa, Welby issued a letter calling on Anglicans to “demonstrate the love of Christ” to gay people and not to victimize or diminish them.

Ugandan Anglican Primate Stanley Ntagali shot back that the Church of England, which fought against gay marriage in England and Wales, was being hypocritical and was breaking from the global Anglican community. “We sincerely hope the archbishops and governing bodies of the Church of England will step back from the path they have set themselves on so the Church of Uganda will be able to maintain communion with our own Mother Church,” Ntagali says.

Kenyan Primate Eliud Wabukala also rejected Welby’s message, saying, “We cannot allow our time and energy to be sapped by debating that which God has already clearly revealed in the Scriptures.”

Welby will visit South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo on his tour, but not the two countries that recently passed anti-gay legislation, Nigeria and Uganda.