Confronting Stonewall’s weaponisation of Rowan Williams

14 April 2022

Dr Carys Moseley, policy researcher for Christian Concern, reflects on former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ comments on a ‘conversion therapy’ ban.

This article was originally published in Christian Today and has been republished with permission.

When the Telegraph reported on Monday that Christian Concern is threatening legal action against the government if it proposes a conversion therapy ban in the Queen’s Speech, it gave the last word to Stonewall. What Stonewall did was to cite Lord Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, as having signed Steve Chalke’s letter demanding a total ban.

Thus, Stonewall has decided to weaponise Lord Williams’ status against our advocacy defending some of the most vulnerable people in society. In this ongoing debate, it is important to look at Lord Williams’ track record on this issue, which is not good.

Williams avoided the Gender Recognition Act

The Parliamentary record shows that Lord Williams did not challenge the Gender Recognition Act in the Lords as it went through in 2004. He did not vote at either the second or third reading. This legislation was of momentous importance as it put the notion that one can change from being male to female or vice versa on the statute books.

Both Holy Scripture and science agree that your sex cannot be changed. God created us male or female. Lord Williams’ avoidance meant he allowed legislation effectively allowing for deceit about the doctrine of creation.

Dismissive attitude to parental concerns about indoctrination

Lord Williams reviewed Rod Dreher’s book ‘The Benedict Option’ for the New Statesman in 2017. Williams asks how Christian ‘Benedict Option’ communities will maintain their self-criticism, implying that Christian communities can only be self-critical if they are pro-LGBT indoctrination in schools and abandon Scriptural prohibitions.

Parents across the western world are rightly deeply concerned. Lord Williams’ dismissal is extraordinarily arrogant, out of touch, and fails to recognise these concerns.

Passive toleration of gender reassignment

Then in October 2019 VICE News quoted Lord Williams as refusing to disapprove of gender reassignment.

“Dr Rowan Williams, former archbishop of Canterbury, compares it to the debate around abortion. ‘There are questions about when we can say an identifiable organic life begins,’ he tells me. ‘The only way of getting an answer to that is listening very carefully to what the actual evidence is, which is not necessarily advanced by just quoting texts from Scripture. I see the church’s obligation being to support people through that process and not assume that there is a kind of moral weakness or unnatural vice.’”

In other words, let’s not ask any awkward questions about gender reassignment. The individual knows best and we must not ‘judge’. This leaves the anti-medical ethos of gender identity clinics, and the troubling consequences, closed to scrutiny. It also leaves unchecked the vicious behaviour of many transgender activists internationally pushing against ordinary women who desperately defend single-sex provisions.

Treating churches as ‘cults’

Lord Williams’ comments were printed in an article about the first male-to-female transgender Anglican priest Peter Stone, later Carol Stone. When Stone was welcomed back to the parish church as a post-operative transsexual in 2000, the church hired a police officer to ensure there was no disturbance. Was this a foretaste of how clerics now demanding a ‘conversion therapy’ ban will behave towards churchgoers? How cultish is a church prepared to be to defend its sacralisation of transgenderism?

This is ironic given that I’ve recently shown how last year footage emerged revealing that Lord Williams wants Biblically faithful orthodox churches to be treated like cults as regards banning ‘conversion therapy’. He wants churches to be required to give people coming to clergy with sexuality and gender problems “access [to pro-LGBT information], redress and protection” as citizens.

In other words, churches should peddle state propaganda, with the state in turn ‘protecting’ churchgoers from practical Christian ethics. No wonder Stonewall now weaponises Lord Rowan Williams.

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