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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 November 2007, 03:54 GMT
Tutu chides Church for gay stance
Desmond Tutu
Archbishop Tutu rebuked religious conservatives
South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has criticised the Anglican Church and its leadership for its attitudes towards homosexuality.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4, he said the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, had failed to demonstrate that God is "welcoming".

He also repeated accusations that the Church was "obsessed" with the issue of gay priests.

He said it should rather be focusing on global problems such as Aids.

"Our world is facing problems - poverty, HIV and Aids - a devastating pandemic, and conflict," said Archbishop Tutu, 76.

"God must be weeping looking at some of the atrocities that we commit against one another.

"In the face of all of that, our Church, especially the Anglican Church, at this time is almost obsessed with questions of human sexuality."

Criticising Dr Williams, he said: "Why doesn't he demonstrate a particular attribute of God's which is that God is a welcoming God."

'Extraordinarily homophobic'

Archbishop Tutu referred to the debate about whether Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, could serve as the bishop of New Hampshire.

He said the Anglican Church had seemed "extraordinarily homophobic" in its handling of the issue, and that he had felt "saddened" and "ashamed" of his church at the time.

Asked if he still felt ashamed, he said: "If we are going to not welcome or invite people because of sexual orientation, yes.

"If God, as they say, is homophobic, I wouldn't worship that God."

Dr Williams has been working to limit divisions between liberal and traditionalist Anglicans that came to the fore following Bishop Robinson's consecration in 2003.

Following his plea for compromise, leaders of the Episcopal Church in the US agreed to halt the consecration of gay priests as bishops, to prevent a split in the Anglican Communion.

In the interview, Archbishop Tutu also rebuked religious conservatives who said homosexuality was a choice.

"It is a perversion if you say to me that a person chooses to be homosexual.

"You must be crazy to choose a way of life that exposes you to a kind of hatred.

"It's like saying you choose to be black in a race-infected society."

From Calvary To Lambeth will be aired on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday, 27 November at 2000 GMT.

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