Page last updated at 02:30 GMT, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 03:30 UK

Gay bishop Robinson 'should quit'

By Robert Pigott
BBC Religious Affairs Correspondent

Bishop Gene Robinson
Bishop Gene Robinson is a controversial figure for Anglicans

The Archbishop of Sudan, Daniel Deng, has called for gay American bishop Gene Robinson to resign and go back to being "a normal Christian".

Archbishop Deng made his comments as Anglican bishops from more than 150 countries meet in Canterbury for the 10-yearly Lambeth Conference.

The Archbishop blamed Bishop Robinson for the boycott of the conference by 230 traditionalist bishops.

And he also criticised the delay in debating the issue.

The boycott of more than a quarter of the most traditionalist bishops from the Lambeth Conference has inevitably weakened the voice of conservatives at the meeting.

They believe the Bible rejects active homosexuality.

However, a passionate, sustained and uncompromising attack on the openly gay Bishop Robinson indicates a similar intensity of opinion among bishops who did turn up in Canterbury.

Archbishop Deng claimed Bishop Robinson's behaviour "violated Anglican norms" and had been responsible for dividing the Communion.

We are called infidel by the Islamic world
Daniel Deng, Archbishop of Sudan

He also called for repentance from the 60 American bishops who took part in Gene Robinson's ordination, saying that "they should confess to the conference because they have created an outcry for the whole Anglican world".

Archbishop Deng said the existence of an actively gay bishop in America had direct consequences for Anglicans living in countries such as Sudan, who had Muslim neighbours.

"We are called infidel by the Islamic world", he said.

"When they are hearing our brothers and sisters from other parts of the Christian global, when they are talking of the same sex to be blessed.

"Immediately it gives them the way out to tell the other people, these people are evil and they can even harm our people more."

Unity call

Archbishop Deng said he had not joined the boycott, believing that the Anglican Communion needed to remain united.

However, he said Gene Robinson's ordination divided Anglicans, and he should resign to promote unity.

He called on traditionalists who held a rival meeting in Jerusalem last month, and most of whom decided not to attend the Lambeth Conference, to "come back to the Anglican world".

The Archbishop added his voice to criticism of the delay in discussing the crisis over homosexuality.

He said the small groups of 40 bishops in which the debates are being conducted had not even touched on homosexuality, even though it was one of the main reasons that bishops such as himself had gone to the conference to discuss.

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