Anglicans accuse London Mayor of censorship
Boris Johnstone has stepped into a bus advertising campaign to ban a response by Anglican Mainstream to a pro-gay slogan carried on London buses.
report by Church Times
ANGLICAN Mainstream has said that it is considering legal action after its bus-advertisements campaign, suggesting that people could become “ex-gay”, was cancelled at the last minute by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
Transport for London said that the advertisements were not consistent with its commitment to a tolerant city.
The advertisements had been placed by Anglican Mainstream and another Christian charity, Core Issues Trust, run by Mike Davidson. On his blog, Mr Davidson describes himself as married with two children, but “in conflict with unwanted homosexuality”.
The charity works with churches to help them minister to those “who have issues of homosexuality”.
The banned posters — which had been booked to run on buses in central London for two weeks — said: “Not gay! Post-gay, ex-gay and proud. Get over it!”
The campaign was a response to one run by the gay-rights group Stonewall, whose posters read: “Some people are gay. Get over it!”
In a joint statement this week, Anglican Mainstream and the Core Issues Trust said: “We welcome honest, robust debate about origins, development, and therapeutic and other forms of help for those with unwanted same-sex attraction, and are deeply concerned that such debate is continually ruled out of court because it is deemed to be politically incorrect and ‘offensive’.”
The portrayal in some sections of the media that they advocated a “gay cure” was wrong, they said. “We do not believe people are ‘born gay’ — in fact, the science does not support this.
“We have never used the term ‘cure’ because it is inaccurate. People with same-sex attraction can and do develop their heterosexual potential. However, it is a voluntarily taken journey of self-exploration and understanding, not a pill or a prayer (though praying can help). However, if people believe the myth that they were ‘born this way’, then gay demands for marriage appear more reasonable and harder to challenge. That is why this campaign is vitally important.”
The executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream, Canon Chris Sugden, said that the publicity over the cancelled advertisements had led to an increased number of calls from people looking for pastoral support and help.
“No one denies that people have same-sex attraction, but it is an experience people can move through. Our concern in all this is pastoral.”
He said that he was “exploring various avenues” of legal challenge to Mr Johnson’s decision.
Anglican Mainstream and Core Issues stress Transport for London(TfL), which is chaired by Mr Johnson, previously cleared the posters.
In addition, the media company CBS Outdoor, which sells advertisement space on the capital’s transport system, admitted the Committee of Advertising Practice also passed the advert for display. It is understood TfL was due to make £10,000 from the deal. Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream said: “We created a very modest counter bus campaign which had gone through all the necessary checks and been given the green light. However, it was pulled by the Mayor of London at the last minute, proving our point that we cannot even discuss these matters in public.”
Dr Sugden claimed even Ben Summerskill, Chief Executive of Stonewall, admitted censorship was wrong. Since the ban, the group told us they are delighted the issues surrounding homosexuality and the extension of same-sex marriage are being addressed in the public square. However they are concerned debate on therapeutic and other forms of help for those with same-sex attraction is continually ruled out because it is deemed politically incorrect.
Anglican Mainstream and Core Issues Trust believe it is important to help those unhappy with their homosexual feelings to ‘develop their heterosexual potential’. They argue scientific research has not yet found a gay gene and sexuality is fluid. This week, Dr Sugden said: “If people believe the myth that they were ‘born this way’, then gay demands for marriage appear more reasonable and harder to challenge. That is why this campaign is vitally important.”
Anglican Mainstream is a community within the Anglican Communion committed to promote, teach and maintain the Scriptural truths on which the Anglican Church was founded. These also guarantee its fellowship with Christians down history and throughout the world. Faithfulness to Scripture as God's Word is essential for sharing the love and purpose of God in Jesus Christ.
Church Times/Christian Together, 20/04/2012