Jayne Ozanne has written a powerful blog drawing on her own experience of mental anguish and trauma, suicidal thoughts and feelings of self-hate that she and so many other LGBTI people suffer as a result of Christian teaching that claims to be orthodox, traditional and biblically-based. Jayne identifies this Christian teaching and theology as the cause of a safeguarding issue of immediate importance. The House of Bishops cannot wait until 2020 when their complex Teaching Document is due to be published. They must take action now to end the teachings that fuel homophobia.
I have written a letter to Graham Tilby, the National Safeguarding Adviser, asking the Safeguarding Team to investigate the Bishop of Maidstone, Reform, the Church Society, and Christian Concern as key instigators of abusive and homophobic teaching and practice in the Church of England. Spiritual abuse is now recognised as one of the most serious manifestations of homophobia and prejudice against LGBTI people. The letter is copied to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the bishops of Newcastle (Pastoral Advisory Group) and Bath and Wells (the lead bishop for safeguarding).
The Archbishop of York has replied to my letter about the Bishop of Maidstone’s response to the Bishop of Lichfield. My letter is being referred to the Pastoral Advisory Group for advice. The views and practices directly advocated by the Bishop of Maidstone to his clergy could, if acted upon, endanger the physical or mental well-being of adults who may well be vulnerable in their faith and sexuality. I believe the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are the people responsible for taking action in this matter. It is a safeguarding issue affecting the practice advocated by a bishop.