Church of England members who support traditional marriage are much the same as Islamist terrorists, according to one Conservative MP.
Michael Fabricant MP launched an astonishing attack on the C of E after it held back from endorsing same-sex marriage in a recent report on sexuality. He said the opinions of some conservative Anglicans “differ little from ISIL”.
Last week, conservative and liberal members of the C of E voted against the report which both backed the biblical definition of marriage and called for “maximum freedom” for homosexual people.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, the MP for Lichfield said the Church of England risked becoming “out-of-step with 21st [century] Western liberal values”.
“Perhaps the Church should take a tough line on its less progressive elements: get with the times or get out,” he added.
Fabricant, a self-described agnostic, went on to say: “Simply opting for more of the same for the sake of unity amongst a diverse Communion – some of whose views differ little from ISIL – is a choice of quantity over quality.”
He also called for liberals and conservatives to “go their own separate ways” following the vote and suggested that it was time for the C of E to split.
The General Synod decided not to ‘take note’ of the report which also called for “maximum freedom” for homosexual people, during a meeting in London.
Bishops gave their full support; lay members of the Church from around the country backed it by 106 to 83; but clergy rejected taking the document forward by 93 votes to 100.
The House of Bishops’ report has been branded as a ‘fudge’ by critics who say that although it left the definition of marriage intact, it also backed a greater role for practising homosexuals in the Church.
Evangelical Church of England minister Melvin Tinker warned that the report ‘looks both ways’ on sexuality. He said it gave the impression of “business as usual” while also moving in a revisionist direction.
Pro-gay activists welcomed the Synod result, claiming the report showed the Church was “lamentably out of step” on the issue of sexuality.
But Andrea Minichiello Williams, a member of the General Synod and CEO of Christian Concern, said the result meant “no change in doctrine or practice”.
She called on Bishops to “lead with clarity and authority”, holding out God’s way of life and liberty, rather than seeking the “approval of the world more than the love of God”.
Bishop of Norwich Graham James said the House of Bishops would “consider carefully and prayerfully all the contributions made in the debate”.