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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 July, 2003, 10:10 GMT 11:10 UK
Is the church in crisis over gays?

Gay priest Canon Jeffrey John has said he will not take up the post of Bishop of Reading.

Dr John said he made the decision because of the "damage" his consecration might cause to the "unity of the Church".

Friends say his departure is a disaster for the Church of England and claim Canon Jeffrey John only stepped down after pressure from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Should the church accept his resignation? Could the row split the Anglican Church?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinions we have received:

most people don't need the church to give them a moral lead
Ben, Singapore
The church is in crisis because the world has moved on but it hasn't. This is just another example. Fortunately, most people don't need the church to give them a moral lead. They recognise that prejudice is prejudice, however you dress it up.
Ben, Singapore

The issue about gay priests is not about sexuality, it is about morality. Would a heterosexual priest be allowed to continue in the ministry if he had left his wife and /or was living with a woman who is not his wife even if they had a celibate relationship? I think not !Yes the church should accept Jeffery Johns resignation.
Trevor Olner, UK

If the Church cannot accept gays as equals then there is little hope for religion
Bill, UK
I am not a church goer. And after this I doubt that I ever will be. What happened to understanding? What happened to good will to all men? The people who opposed this appointment should be ashamed. They have had their moment of homophobic victory but they have, at least in my mind, destroyed any credibility the Church of England had. If the Church cannot accept gays as equals then there is little hope for religion.
Bill, UK

People do not 'choose' to be gay, lesbian, black, white, etc. If Cannon John has the commitment and ability to become a bishop, then his sexuality should not be in question. I am also gay and feel that God loves me no less than he loves anyone else. Only God will be our judge.
Barbara Gardner, England

How can people commit to a religion that rejects them or their friends?
Alan, UK
It's time for the church to come off the fence and showed its commitment and love to all people, regardless of their race, colour or sexual persuasion. How can people commit to a religion that rejects them or their friends? In the eyes of god are we not one big family?
Alan, UK

What must surely concern Dr Williams is that at best he failed to prevent a concerted and collective act of homophobic bullying and intimidation. It would appear that the recognition of the sexual and spiritual integrity of Canon John is less important than the prevention of a schism with the African churches. It is a pity that the leaders of the African churches do not see it that way. Should they not now be held responsible for their collusion in the oppression of homosexuals in their own countries, never mind their threats and bullying towards a single gay clergyman in England?
Dominic Fox, UK

Unfortunately, as in this case, celibacy is not enough. I'm a lesbian and once had the misfortune to have a few Christians "convert" me. They claimed that not practicing lesbianism was not enough - I would have to turn heterosexual to be a true Christian. This is the rubbish that causes such harm to others. Claire, UK

What happened to the law of equal rights regardless of race, colour, gender or sexuality?
Sara, England

This is not homophobia
Mike Hall, UK
As a licensed lay minister in the Church of England and living in the Oxford Diocese, the pain and distress to those in the ministry and the congregationscaused by the proposed appointment have been more than real. This is not bigotry, this is not homophobia, this is not discrimination - it is simply upholding the biblical guidance on morality. The homosexual act is a sin, as is theft, murder, etc. If Dr John feels that his homosexual history is not sinful, then he is 'blind to sin'. If one cannot identify their own life style as being previously sinful I fail to see how they can offer guidance and assistance to others.
Mike Hall, UK

The church is supposed to nurture love, compassion, understanding and tolerance not bigotry and double standards. A loving relationship whether heterosexual or homosexual, is a reflection of spirituality and compassion, and should be respected as such. It is time the church bowed its head and asked forgiveness for the pain and suffering it has caused through its pious, and self-righteous attitudes. Dr. John's appointment would have let some light into a very dark institution.
Terri Quaye, UK

There is a deep spiritual void abroad in the nation
David Carson, Northern Ireland
I do not believe that the Church of England will be in crisis over the subject of priests who are overtly or privately homosexual. I do not believe that the Church is in a state of "catastrophe" as the Bishop of Southwark says. There are greater issues at stake such as the chasm that exists between the Church and the vast numbers of folk who do not attend church at all. There is a deep spiritual void abroad in the nation. The Church's attitude to homosexuality in the priesthood is a very minor issue which does not merit the attention given to it in recent days. I have every expectation that there are a few priests who are disappointed by Canon John's decision, but frankly they ought not to have been surprised. The matter is still at issue in the courts of the Church and until those matters are decided, then let's not "jump the gun" by attempting to make so-called "progress" on this minor and almost irrelevant issue. The Almighty expects more of us on more worthy fronts than this one!
David Carson, Northern Ireland

The church must accept clergy who are imperfect, there are no other kinds of candidates on offer, but it should not accept those who glory in their departures from its teaching.
Laurence Target,UK

It is not a matter of someone's sexual orientation, it is a matter of whether or not they can take part in Holy Communion in a truly repentant manner, let alone preside over it. As someone at the evangelical end of the spectrum, I don't think Dr John should ever have been put forward for the position and feel sad that he appears to have been used. I suspect (as do others) that it was a political move to test the waters. The Bishop of Oxford should also resign and the Archbishop of Canterbury also looks out of place in a leadership role as he tried to sit on the fence before he was prompted to change minds.
Toby, Herts UK

God is not responsible for humans and how they act. He created us and then gave us free will to decide our own way. Whether we should follow him, or turn away from him.. The Bible is still relevant today as it was 2000 years ago, that is what makes it so powerful. Read it before you judge it!
As for gay people, I love them. Welcome them to the church. But the Bible says practising it is wrong - it's God they are going to have to face up to. The church should accept everyone (like mine) and let God do the convicting as I am sure he will do.
Chris, UK

This goes much further than being 'gay' The church teaches that sex outside of marriage is wrong. .The marriage ceremony states that the purpose of marriage is for the procreation of children. No priest who is not able to subscribe to these two principles can hope to teach,lead their congregations and prepare couples for marriage. Being gay is a side issue. The church can condone sin but can still love the sinner but cannot be lead by people who openly oppose the basic teaching of the church
Chris Fenwick, England

It cannot stand by and slowly watch the morals of Christianity being eroded
Adrian Bolton, England
The C of E must give a moral lead. It cannot stand by and slowly watch the morals of Christianity being eroded one by one. As each successive value falls then next one to fall becomes a greater threat to the rotting of the fabric of society.
Adrian Bolton, England

What can I say? No wonder I stopped going to church 20 years ago when I realised that my being gay was a problem for the church. I had recently been thinking of returning to the church, but now I am not so sure. At least saying my prayers on my own at home I don't have to worry about other people, but I do miss the companionship of worshipping as a congregation.
Adam, UK

So who cares about the church anymore? None of them have been serving their congregations in the modern world for the last one hundred years. Mature like the rest of us do every year.
Kenn, USA

I'm a member of the armed forces and, following the disgraceful treatment of Jeffrey John, I shall be requesting that all references to "CofE" are removed from my military records and dogtags. It is my small way of saying, I want nothing to do with Church of England and the narrow minded bigotry of its anti-gay lobby. Suddenly, I'm more attracted to atheism than I am to religion.
William, UK

If the Church wants to keep its congregation then it needs to get real
Hannah, UK
My father is a friend of Jeffrey John and I have heard nothing but the highest praise for a man who is clearly perfect for the post. If he wants to live his life that way then let him! He has openly declared that the relationship is no longer sexually active, so why does it matter? If the Church wants to keep its congregation then it needs to get real and understand that times change and so must it!
Hannah, UK

I suppose if God made him gay then its God's work so surely he should be accepted by the Church of God.
Peter, UK

If you join a club, you are expected to follow its rules. The problem with the CofE is that the leadership does not follow the rules of the "Christian" club while claiming to be members of it. This confuses the hell out of everyone, whether inside and trying to follow, or outside and having a good laugh.
Marcus, UK

Colin Slee suggests that empty pews are the result of narrowness, bigotry and prejudice. On the contrary, empty pews are the result of a church moving away from clear, God-given standards. Look to where the pews are full, week after week.... the Evangelical Christian Church that holds fast to Bible-based doctrine.
Eldin, England

As a Christian I am required to love my neighbour, black, white, gay, straight, priest, murderer, doctor, estate agent etc. Christianity is a religion of forgiveness and love, and I for one am very sad that a talented and Holy man's sexuality has prevented him from becoming a Bishop. I write as a white, married heterosexual father of two, who was brought to God late in life by the ministry of an openly gay priest.

Faith is not a pick and mix
Osana, UK
Why people are mixing together the reality of life in the 21st century England and Christianity. It's perfectly OK to be gay and accepted in the society. Religion is a personal choice, not a compulsory duty and if you choose to be Christian, then please do read the Bible and listen to what it tells you. Christian morals clearly state that homosexual intercourse is wrong. If you are Christian there should not be a debate about this. If you are unhappy about the C of E, then please practise other religion. Faith is not a pick and mix.
Osana, UK

As most Anglicans know, the church already accepts gay clergy - in their hundreds - and there are several gay bishops. It is time to admit this and for the Anglican hierarchy to resist the bullying of a few fundamentalist Evangelicals whose bigotry is alien to those of us trying to live out the Christian faith within the civilised tradition of the Anglican Church.
Gillian Upton Holmes, UK

There is no place in a Christian church for practising homosexuals. The church must stand up for the teachings of Scripture. The Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin to be repented of and excluded from the church. If that is what the Bible says then that is that. The moment we start ignoring or bending Biblical teaching to fit society is when the church stands for nothing and its teachings become meaningless. We are all called to repent of our sins and bow before Almighty God. He is holy, pure and righteous. He desires that we turn from our sins, acknowledging our need of Christ as Saviour, and seek to live a life that honours Him.
Colin Shelton, UK

For 18 years I was outreach secretary for Quakers in Britain - one of the most public roles in British Quakerism. I am an openly gay man in a relationship. My partner and I were always treated lovingly. There are forms of religion which are not dominated by politicking, unintelligent fundamentalism and bigotry.
Harvey Gillman, UK

If the Church truly believed in love, they would not have accepted the opinions of those who preach hatred and bigotry, and Dr John would not have been forced out. Up to now (I am in my 60s) I have taken an interest in what the Church has to say. No longer. How can one take seriously an institution that has been known to support war, but does not support a man whose life has been more moral than that of those who condemn him? They are the people whose power in the Church worries me, not Dr John.
Katherine, UK

Leviticus bans homosexuality - however he also says that a woman is unclean after giving birth until she sacrifices a small animal. You can't just pick the bits you want and ignore the inconvenient bits! Either scripture is right, or it's not. Just selecting the bits that support your views and ignoring the rest isn't Christianity, its bigotry.
Phil, UK

The real question is should the church accept clergy who do not accept the bible as the word of God.
Chris Lack, England

The bible has not changed in nearly 2000 years. Christianity is not a comfortable or easy religion.
Anthony Price, UK

It is time for the Church to listen
Keith, Germany
It does not suit some elements of organised religion that society has been changing over the past decades and forming its own opinion of same-sex relationships. It is time for the Church to listen to its sheep before the pen is empty. And an apology for being essentially responsible for the persecution of homosexuals over the past few centuries should be forthcoming.
Keith, Germany

The bible has a pretty clear stance on homosexuality. Should the church accept any clergy that openly defy a clear stance in the bible? Which stances in the bible should we make people adhere to and which ones should we overlook and how do we choose?
Irene, USA

I quite agree with all the true Christians here - the primacy of scripture is paramount. I expect they all keep Kosher, celebrate Yom Kippur, and make the appropriate sacrifices after menstruation. Don't even get me started on the first commandment.
Ben Eaton, UK

The fact that in the 21st century, this is a still a matter of debate is a major reason why very few people now go to church. Move on, and grow up. How can the church teach compassion and encourage tolerance of other faiths and religions, if the issue that it is really concerned with is the sexuality of its clergy?
Philip, England

Why not? Everyone is said to be equal in the eyes of God, so why can homosexuals not have the same rights as heterosexuals?
Sarah, UK

The man has been chosen for his ability to do the job, not his sexuality
Peter, Ireland
Would there be an equally strong outcry if the person in question were a female member of the clergy who professed to be lesbian? Is it male homosexuality or gay sexuality in general that causes such offence to people on this page? I'm heterosexual and have straight and gay friends and believe in taking others as I find them. The man has been chosen for his ability to do the job, not his sexuality. Let he who is without sin ...
Peter, Ireland

Not a single non-Christian religion accepts homosexuality. It is ironic that missionaries who once brought biblical morality to the Third World now need missionaries from the Third World to bring them back to biblical basics.
Revd Jules Gomes, India

The sooner the church is dragged into the sixteenth century, the better.
Pete, UK

The Church doesn't need to be guided by popular worldly opinion
Harold Tella, England
The Bible is clear on the issue; so why is there a need for further discussion? The Church should not be arguing over this matter. The Church doesn't need to be guided by popular worldly opinion on this matter.
Harold Tella, England

The Bible is 2000 years old, or thereabouts While the rest of world society has evolved and accepted new and different values, the bible remains the same. Do we really want to base a modern society on a book that promotes stoning and considers having different fibres in your clothes an abomination?
Ian, UK

What do you mean when you say "accept"? If you mean should they be accepted as people who struggle with sin, then the answer is of course! If, however, you are asking should they be allowed to preach the gospel while practicing a "gay" lifestyle, then the answer is emphatically no. To choose a lifestyle of sexual promiscuity whether it is gay or straight disqualifies one from leadership in the Kingdom of God.
David, USA

Condemn my lifestyle if you want but I am not harming anyone
James Williams, England
Gay people are in love with someone of the same sex. These intolerant religious institutions have caused problems all over the world. Condemn my lifestyle if you want but I am not harming anyone - you are.
James Williams, England

Many comments in this forum point out that the Bible condemns homosexuality - quite right, it does. However, before we blindly accept the Bible as our only source of moral authority let's not forget that it condones slavery, polygamy etc. Good luck to Canon John!
John, England

To John, England: The condemning of homosexuality is not the point here at all. The Bible does that - and this man has chosen to follow the religion for which the Bible is the primary rule book. Christianity, as many people here have mentioned condones many awful things, and condemns many good things. The answer is thus to reject Christianity, not pretend it's something it isn't and call for "tolerance".
Jane, UK

Bible teachings are against homosexuality, not homosexuals. People cannot help what they are, but they can help what they do! I can't see what more people want from this guy; he's declared his celibacy!
Paul Sealey, England

In being so anti-gay, these people are giving another example of how out of touch many in the Anglican Church establishment are with the people of Britain. Is it any wonder that most people now consider it to be an irrelevance to their daily lives?
David, England

Jesus came to do away with the unfair laws of the time
Jozef, Hungary
Should the Church accept gay clergy? Absolutely. Jesus came to do away with the unfair laws of the time. I don't think he looks at people if they gay or not, or look at their gender, race, or how devout they are to the system, but by how good hearted and honest people are.
Jozef, Hungary

Canon Jeffery Jones has said that he is now celibate and if that is the case then there should be no reason for him not to be ordained as bishop. If he was in a sexual relationship, with a man or women out of a marriage, which is against biblical teaching, then he or any one else whether homosexual or heterosexual should not be ordained as bishop.
Shirina Ibrahim, from Leicester working in Cairo

What happened to tolerance?
Helen, UK
What happened to tolerance? I think this again demonstrates that it is religion that causes intolerance in the world
Helen, UK

We are to love the sinner and hate the sin. I am not bigoted or opposed to homosexuals, but any act of sex outside marriage is not Biblical. If the man is celibate, fair enough, but he should repent his physical homosexual relationship. That is all the bishops' letter asked for.
Kirsten, England

Why would a homosexual want to follow a belief system that is so against what he does?
Bob, UK
The Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin in God's eyes with Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for this particular sin. Given the Bible is fundamental to Christian belief, why should a practicing homosexual hold a post within the Church? What verse in the Bible states that God has changed his mind on this matter? I have no problem with homosexuality, but wonder why would a homosexual want to follow a belief system that is so against what he does?
Bob, UK

How come equal rights apply to all professions except the Church?
Rob, England

I wonder why attendance levels are down at your local CofE Sunday service. Even heterosexuals only go to Church to get married (and divorced after 2 or 3 years) and buried nowadays. If the Church wants to encourage people to go and listen to the word of God, then they should make everyone feel welcome.
Mike, England

Next they will re-write the Bible so it fits. This country has become a theme park. It is quite sad how this Labour government has dragged us all down to its level.
Graham, UK

I am appalled by the bigotry
Alex Liang, London UK
I am appalled by the bigotry and hate of some of those so-called God fearing Christians. Should the Church accept gay clergy? Of course it should.
Alex Liang, London UK

If this was a housing association or a firm of stock brokers discriminating on the basis of sexuality then they'd be hauled into court pretty sharply. Secondly, doesn't the Bible also say that a man can stone his wife for something minor? Is this really a book we want to take guidance from?
Pete Burton, UK

Considering the Bible doesn't condone homosexuality then why should the Church? It smacks of double standards to me.
Simon, England

If it's OK to have gay priests, then it must be OK to have gay bishops
David Fear, UK
The Church is trying to have things both ways, and that is why it looks so ridiculous. If it's OK to have gay priests, then it must be OK to have gay bishops. Sooner or later, a priest will become a bishop.
David Fear, UK

Whether the C of E appoints a gay bishop is about as relevant to me as, well, a gate-crasher at a rich boy's party.
David, England

I have to say how dismayed I am by the Archbishop's support for the appointment of Jeffrey John
Roger Jones, UK
As an Anglican lay-reader and full-time Christian worker, I have to say how dismayed I am by the Archbishop's support for the appointment of Jeffrey John. I am now seriously considering my position in the church, as it is very difficult to accept the authority of a leader and who clearly does not accept the primacy of scripture.
Roger Jones, UK

Listen to what the man says - he's celibate. End of story. Only God knows the desires of our hearts and therefore his internal struggles are between him and God. Enough church leaders think him godly enough to serve the people as a bishop and that is what counts.
Ruth, UK

How out of touch is Rowan Williams with the general UK populace, and how non representative can he be? I am not particularly religious, but it seems to me there is a clear hypocrisy that drives a knife right through the heart of the Church of England.
Nick St. John, England

I was always under the impression that the Bible preached tolerance and respect. Seems that some of the Christians on this place only seem to know about the passages that consider homosexuality to be evil.
Mark E, England

The C of E can no longer continue to embrace contradicting doctrines
Barry Oakley, England
As a former Anglican it has been my experience that the C of E has accepted gay clergy for a very long time. The so-called Anglo-Catholic wing of the Anglican Church has a very high percentage of gay clergy amongst its ranks. The C of E can no longer continue to embrace contradicting doctrines or else more will leave. A great many have done so over the last dozen years, either opting for churches that uphold the apostolic faith or lapsing altogether.
Barry Oakley, England

I find it very hard to reconcile myself to this. I don't see how you can have a rule book, then conveniently ignore the rules when it suits you. Just because 'there are many gay priests' or because society accepts practicing homosexuals does not make sex between the homosexual men right.
Geoff, UK

I am quietly disappointed by the amount of bigotry in today's society. If Dr John has stated he is celibate, he should be taken at his word. The church does itself no favours with this intolerance.
J. Edwards, UK

Surely the issue is more one of non-repentance for what the Bible teaches is a sin?
Paul, UK
It's not gay people that the Bible teaches against, it's the homosexual act. Celibacy is the best option - both for gays and for unmarried heterosexuals - who want to take holy orders. In this case, as Dr John has stated that he is, and will remain, celibate, surely the issue is more one of non-repentance for what the Bible teaches is a sin?
Paul, UK

In a world where members of the clergy are allowed to get away with such terrible crimes as abusing children I would say we need a lot more true hearted good people to run it whether they are gay or not. We are all God's people - he created us all. He gave us the free will and didn't want us to be robots incapable of doing wrong. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
Teresa, UK

Good grief! I haven't yet read any other contributions but will assume that I will echo many when I say that there have been innumerable gay priests and other clergy in the C of E for years, if not centuries. It's akin to the theatre or the airline stewards' industry. Everybody knows they're there!
Randy, UK

It just shows how hypocritical the church can be
Andrea, UK
Hour after hour I used to sit in church and listen to someone preach about tolerance and love and about how God made us all in his own image. They read Bible passages about how Jesus loved even the 'outcasts' like Mary Magdalene. So, why do the senior members of the C of E think they have the right to judge? It just shows how hypocritical the church can be. God made us all and loves us all the way we are, homosexuals included!
Andrea, UK

I, and so many others, have found the church a place of acceptance, of love, warmth and welcome. It seems such a shame that so many should feel ostracised by the church and by intolerance and hatred on both sides of the debate.
Jeremy Fagan, UK

Strange - I thought all people were equal. Homosexuals are also people, so why is the church - and especially the Vatican - not allowing them to get in the same position as the religious heteros?
Sam, Belgium

I suggest you read your bibles
Richard Murray, UK
To all you "Christians" who say being gay is okay, I suggest you read your bibles. This is a case in which the Word of God is shouted down by the liberal mob.
Richard Murray, UK

It's my contention that if taken literally the Gospel would prove us all to be serial sinners. I think somewhere in the Gospel we are told that it's a sin to mix cloth in the same garment? How does that possible fit with modern textile manufacturing? So stand up all you bishops wearing M&S underwear and be accountable for your sins!
James Kennedy, UK

Who goes to church in the U.K. anyway? The Anglican Church is a mixed-up farce in the U.S. and has lost all relevance. It's not even a decent museum. It simply doesn't matter. The paradigm is fatally flawed and outmoded.
Agni Limpopo, USA

Why not make the Church of England split in two, and at one end of the scale there would be a loving, open and tolerant church for today's world, and at the other end of the scale there would be a traditional wing which keeps its God fearing, out of touch views for those who want them.
Peter, Scotland

Christianity is about acceptance and tolerance
Graham Slater, UK
Why is it that the most religious of people are also the most intolerant? Christianity is about acceptance and tolerance, yet people still continue to quote from the Old Testament, which in many ways contradicts the New Testament. The church should accept gay clergy, so as not to alienate an important section of the populace
Graham Slater, UK

Christians are committed to pursuing a life of holiness. There is no way that we are ever going to approve of an unholy lifestyle.
Ross Garner, UK

To Andrew Hammond, UK: So, it's a fact that it's not okay to be gay? Says who? An obsolete work of fiction from 2,000 years ago? Homophobic bigots? I think Jesus would be horrified by the discriminatory and often cruel treatment of gays. Stop perpetuating hatred of people who are different than you.
Shawn, Washington, DC, USA

The church is a farce. Ridiculous rules and tradition invented by man, so it is as completely flawed as he is. If you wish to follow a religion make it one that doesn't discriminate. Priests should be allowed to marry, women allowed to preach, and gay people allowed to join.
Graham, England

What would Jesus really think?
Andrew Hammond, UK
No matter how many people say being gay is okay the fact remains it is not. We should endeavour to free ourselves from gross bodily demands. It is better to know what God wants us to do for our own benefit. Church leaders especially have a duty to live a life as the best example, otherwise people will not progress in spiritual life. Ask yourself, what would Jesus really think?
Andrew Hammond, UK

What surprises me is that any gay person would want to be a part of such a prehistoric and bigoted institution.
Tim, UK

I think that the remaining clergy and churchgoers should fully and enthusiastically embrace the ecumenical dialogue, especially with regard to Eastern spirituality. Maybe the exposure to highly advanced spiritual practices will shame them to the realization that gender, creed, sexual orientation, and other absurd shibboleths are irrelevant and absurd - these are not the concerns of the true spiritual life.
Brian McNeil, USA

Should the church accept gay clergy? The sanctity of the church is at the highest risk. Christianity is broken in many parts. These guys are breaking them more. This question should be put to POPE
Firozali A. Mulla, Tanzania

Churches which don't adapt decay
John M, Lyne Meads, UK
The church is a reflection of society. The Bible reflects the society of the times in which it was written. There are as many interpretations of the scriptures as there are people, each person accepting or rejecting passages according to need or circumstance. Churches which don't adapt decay. A church which reflects the current needs of its people may thrive.
John M, Lyne Meads, UK

A person's sexuality should be irrelevant in any job. However, whether heterosexual or gay, they shouldn't flaunt it! Provided they are sincere with a genuine love and belief in Christ and the church, I don't have a problem.
Chris, England

Why is there so much interest in what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes? Who has the right to say what is normal and what isn't? We are all individuals, with different tastes and habits - long may that continue.
Sheila, UK

How can our society fully accept the notion of homosexuality if the leading church in this country doesn't know where it stands?
Adrian, England

The church should not accept clergy who are homosexual in the same way as it should not accept heterosexual adulterers
Paul Goodfellow, Canada
Your question assumes there is such a class of people as gays, i.e. people who are homosexual because of their nature rather than because of their practise. There are too many ex-homosexuals for this to be true. The answer to your question is no. The church should not accept clergy who are homosexual in the same way as it should not accept heterosexual adulterers.
Paul Goodfellow, Canada

Who cares if church clergy are gay! If they can't do their job because of their sexuality then they are being discriminated against.
Ron Banerjee, USA/UK

Absolutely not. This will damage the church and dilute "faith". At a time of diminishing numbers of church goers, the last thing churches need is politics in the church.
Ronald Elly Wanda, UK

Why don't they have gay churches, then they can preach to their own
Fran Williamson, England
Why don't they have gay churches, then they can preach to their own and what they feel is right for them. I am a Christian but I would not go to church. Separation, is the best answer. Gay vicars or priests, should minister to their own.
Fran Williamson, England

The best thing the church can do is disband and let someone else come up with a sensible religion.
Andy Brown, UK

It is time for the church to accept gay clergy. One can't stand firm at a point in the river of evolution and let the water go past. Only one who goes with the flow will be fit enough to survive.
Agha Ata, USA

In 2,000 years, surely all those brilliant minds could have figured out exactly what the Bible says, and whether homosexuality is permitted or not. It should be a simple yes or no, and not an argument between traditionalists and liberals.
Graham, UK

The church should accept gay clergy
Gary Mark Williams, England
I strongly believe that the church should accept gay clergy. The church claims to advocate good will to all men and yet religion is one of the few institutions left that fails to support equality for 'gay' people.
Gary Mark Williams, England

If the church were to accept gay clergy, wouldn't they just be hypocritical - they don't support same sex marriage. I believe they should accept gay clergy - but do it wholeheartedly - they have to believe it is not wrong to be gay.
Michael, UK

If there is a God then surely he is ultimately responsible for humans and how they act, ergo God must be responsible for creating gays as well as straight people. That being the case why is the church shunning these people that are part of God's rich tapestry?
Anon, UK

Leviticus 18 and 20 (part of the Bible) explicitly condemns homosexual intercourse. The Bible is the book of the Christian church, how then can the church not go along with their holy book?
Andrew, England

Nobody with an inkling of what the Bible says listens to the Anglican church anymore. Riddled with corruption and conformity to the present moral climate, the voice of God simply cannot be heard within it.
Jonathan Castro, UK

Bishop fuels gay row in church
18 Jun 03  |  Berkshire

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