Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Church of England, has warned that embracing same-sex marriage could inadvertently lead to the persecution and murder of Christians around in the world, particularly in Africa.
In an interview with LBC on Friday, Welby said that he'd been warned while on his visit to South Sudan that the Church of England accepting gay marriage could lead to some communities believing having Christians among them could make them gay and reacting by murdering the Christians. As such, he cautioned the church to refrain from making any drastic doctrinal changes, such as allowing members to carry out same-sex marriage ceremonies.
"What we say here is heard around the world," the Archbishop, who had earlier revealed that the average Church of England worshipper is a sub-Saharan African woman in her 30s, responded.
"Well, why can’t we just do it now? Because, the impact of that on Christians in countries far from here, like South Sudan, like Nigeria and other places, would be absolutely catastrophic, and we have to love them as much as we love the people who are here.
"At the same time, we have to listen incredibly carefully to the LGBT communities here, and listen to what they’re saying, and we have to look at the tradition of the church, and the teaching of the church, and the teaching of scripture, which is definitive in the end, before we come to a conclusion.
Throughout the interview (which you can check out here), Welby appeared to be trying to appease both religious tradiitonalists and those who want the church to recognize LGBT equality. To his credit, Welby recognized the damage that homophobic behavior causes on LGBT individuals, particularly teens.
Back in July, the Church of England introduced a campaign to combat homophobic bullying in schools across the UK.