Church of England Introduces Campaign To Stop Homophobic Bullying In Schools
Some good news out of Great Britain. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury (pictured left), has recently announced a campaign to stop homophobic bullying in Church of England schools across the country.
In an address to the Church's General Synod, Welby said that the Church must "accept that there is a revolution in the area of sexuality," and work to stamp out stereotyping and bullying.
"Pretending that nothing has changed is absurd and impossible," the archbishop said in his first presidential address to the synod, meeting at the University of York.
"The majority of the population rightly detests homophobic behavior or anything that looks like it and sometimes they look at us and see what they don't like," he said.
"With nearly a million children educated in our schools we not only must demonstrate a profound commitment to stamp out such stereotyping and bullying but we must also take action.
"We are therefore developing a programme for use in our schools, taking the best advice we can find anywhere, that specifically targets such bullying."
In his address, Welby quoted gay Labour peer Lord Waheed Alli, who told the House of Lords that 97% of gay teenagers in the country report homophobic bullying. He later mentioned the tragic gay teen suicides here in the United States over the years as a direct result of homophobic bullying. "One cannot sit and listen to that sort of reality without being appalled," Welby said.
While the changes are no doubt a step in the right direction, Weby stressed that the Church was not changing its teachings on gay relationships. Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, said that in light of the archbishop's opposition the gay marriage bill in the House of Lords last month, the new changes should be more scrutinized.
"Of course we will always help an education provider in helping tackle homophobic bullying in schools and there are already several dozen Church of England schools working with Stonewall but a cynic would be tempted to think perhaps that the archbishop is trying to distract attention from his failure engage gay people when they requested it over the issue of marriage."