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Pope Francis, Archbishop of Canterbury and Presbyterian Minister Condemn Anti-LGBT Laws

© AP Photo / Tiziana Fabi / Religious authorities condemn anti-LGBT lawsReligious authorities condemn anti-LGBT laws.
Religious authorities condemn anti-LGBT laws. - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.02.2023
The official current positions of Christian denominations on homosexuality generally differ little. However, in recent years, there have been increasing calls to ease the stigma on homosexuality.
Pope Francis, the head of the Anglican Communion and the top Presbyterian minister have condemned the criminalization of the LGBT community. They made the statement as part of a joint press conference on their return from a three-day ecumenical pilgrimage in South Sudan, one of 67 countries where homosexuality is prosecuted.
Pope Francis repeated his earlier statements that anti-LGBT laws are "unjust":
"To condemn someone like this is a sin," he said. "Criminalizing people with homosexual tendencies is an injustice. People with homosexual tendencies are children of God. God Loves them. God accompanies them."
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said he would cite the Pope's words at the forthcoming General Synod meeting:

"I wish I had spoken as eloquently and clearly as the pope. I entirely agree with every word he said," said Welby.

This statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury was preceded by a recent decision by the Church of England to grant blessings for same-sex couples wishing to marry. The Vatican forbids both gay marriage and blessings for same-sex unions.
Welby also said the issue had been raised at two previous Lambeth Conferences of the broader Anglican Communion, which includes churches in Africa and the Middle East. And while the conference has each time spoken out against the criminalization of LGBT people, "It has not really changed many people's minds," he said.
The Rt. Rev. Iain Greenshields, the Presbyterian moderator of the Church of Scotland shared his views on the issue:
"There is nowhere in my reading of the four Gospels where I see Jesus turning anyone away," he said. "There is nowhere in the four Gospels where I see anything other than Jesus expressing love to whomever he meets. And as Christians, that is the only expression that we can possibly give to any human being, in any circumstance."
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