Jeffrey John, Gay Church Of England Dean, Considers Discrimination Lawsuit
Britain's most senior openly gay cleric is reportedly threatening to sue the Church of England for discrimination after being rejected from being promoted to bishop.
As The Guardian is reporting, Dr. Jeffrey John, the dean of St. Albans' Cathedral, is believed to have hired employment lawyer Alison Downie after he was prevented from becoming the bishop of Southwark in 2010 when the archbishops of Canterbury and York stepped in to block his candidacy following objections from conservative evangelicals in Britain.
The 58-year-old John, who is in a longstanding civil partnership with another cleric but has declared to be celibate, was also forced to give up his appointment as Bishop of Reading in 2003 following a national row over his sexuality, according to Pink News. The Daily Mail also cites unnamed sources who say the dean, described as "one of the most contentious figures in the Church," believes he could sue officials under the Equality Act 2010, which approves the appointment of openly gay bishops as long as they are celibate.
“When he was given and relinquished the position as Bishop of Reading, that was very hard for him to do," an unnamed friend of John's told The Sunday Times, according to The Guardian. "When he was shortlisted but didn’t receive the position of Bishop of Southwark, that was a very bitter blow for him. It doesn’t surprise me that he is considering taking action like this and I think he stands a very good chance.”
The case also has strong support from Rev. Colin Coward, the director of Changing Attitude, which works for the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the Anglican communion. "I think the church has behaved appallingly towards him in particular and is continuing to behave appallingly towards its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clergy and lay people in general," he told The Guardian. "It is time for the church to be held to account for its abusive behaviour and its entrenched prejudice and homophobia."
Numerous reports say that John is no longer personally interested in becoming a bishop, but hopes to use his alleged discrimination case to aide other openly gay clergy members in gaining promotion. Downie and Church of England officials have thus far declined comment on the case.
For a look at other inspiring LGBT religious leaders, check out the slideshow below:
Dr. Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajaje
Dr. Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajaje is Provost of Starr King School for the Ministry, Professor of Cultural Studies and Islamic Studies, and Sufi. Taught the first divinity school class in the US on African-American faith communities and HIV prevention.
Irshad Manji is a Muslim and founder and director of the <a href="https://www.irshadmanji.com/Moral-Courage-Project" target="_hplink">Moral Courage Project</a> at New York University's School of Public Service.
Bishop Gene Robinson
Bishop of the <a href="http://www.nhepiscopal.org/" target="_hplink">Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire</a>.
Rev. Ouyang Wen Feng
Reverend Ouyang Wen Feng founded a gay-friendly church outside Kuala Lumpur and is thought to be the country's only openly gay pastor. Although he now lives in the U.S., he frequently returns to Malaysia to call for gay rights, despite the country outlawing homosexuality.
Imam Daayiee Abdullah
Imam Daayiee Abdullah is the imam and religious director of <a href="http://daayieesplaceofinnerpeace.com/MASJID_ANNURAL_ISSLAAH.html" target="_hplink">Masjid An-Nur Al-Isslaah</a>, and the co-director of <a href="http://www.mpvusa.org/" target="_hplink">Muslims for Progressive Values</a>
Bishop Mary Douglas Glasspool
Bishop Mary Douglas Glasspool serves as the Assistant Bishop of <a href="http://www.ladiocese.org/" target="_hplink">The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles</a>.
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum serves as the spiritual leader of <a href="http://www.cbst.org/" target="_hplink">Congregation Beit Simshat Torah</a>, the largest LGBT synagogue in the world.
Rev. Troy Perry
Rev. Troy Perry founded the LGBT denomination of <a href="http://mccchurch.org/" target="_hplink">Metropolitan Community Churches </a>(MCC) in 1968.
<a href="http://www.larryyang.org/home.html" target="_hplink">Larry Yang</a> is on the Spirit Rock Teachers' Council and a core teacher at the new East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, Calif.
Pastor Manny Santiago
Pastor Manny Santiago is the pastor of <a href="http://www.ubcseattle.org/" target="_hplink">University Baptist Church</a> in Seattle, Wa.
Rev. Scott Anderson
Rev. Scott Anderson is the first openly gay PCUSA minister ordained after the church voted to allow individual presbyteries to set their own ordination guidelines around sexual orientation
Rev. Pat Bumgardner
The Rev. Pat Bumgardner is currently the Senior Pastor of <a href="http://mccny.org/wordpress/" target="_hplink">Metropolitan Community Church</a> of New York.
Rabbi Steven Greenberg
Rabbi Steven Greenberg, the first openly gay Orthodox rabbi, is Director of Orthodox Programs for <a href="http://www.nehirim.org/" target="_hplink">Nehirim</a>, the organization for GLBT Jewish culture and spirituality.
Bishop Yvette Flunder
Bishop Flunder founded the United Church of Christ Church, <a href="http://www.sfrefuge.org/index.cfm" target="_hplink">City of Refuge</a> and presiding Bishop of <a href="http://www.radicallyinclusive.com/" target="_hplink">The Fellowship</a>.
Archbishop Carl Bean
Archbishop Carl Bean founded the <a href="http://www.unityfellowshipchurch.org/mainsite/" target="_hplink">Unity Fellowship Church Movement,</a> a primarily African American and LGBT denomination.
Rev. Malcolm Boyd
Rev. Malcolm Boyd is an Episcopalian Priest and author of "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Are-You-Running-Me-Jesus/dp/1561012750" target="_hplink">Are You Running With Me Jesus?</a>"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Coloradem"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/466930-tiny.png?20091015162513" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Coloradem">Coloradem</a>:<br />Justin Lee is the founder and Executive Director of the Gay Christian Network.
William R. Johnson
William R. Johnson - First Openly Gay person ordained in a mainline denomination (United Church of Christ) and founder of the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns and Maranatha: Riversiders for LGBT Concerns at the Riverside Church, NYC.
Rev. Robin Reiter
Rev. Robin Reiter is the Founder and director of Sacred Abundance Ministries
Rev. August Gold
Founder of the Spiritual Center - NYC, Author, speaker, life coach.
Jimmy Creech was defrocked by the United Methodist Church and lost his ordination for performing same-sex commitment ceremonies. He is the author of Adam's Gift: A Memoir of a Pastor's Calling to Defy The Church's Persecution of Lesbians and Gays.
Executive Director of Fig Leaf
Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson
Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson is Senior Pastor at Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, TX
Bayard Rsutin was the Quaker activist who not only mentored Dr. King in the principles of non-violent, non cooperation, but also helped found the Southern Church Leadership Conference. Rustin was the chief organizer of the '63 March on Washington, as well as of the first Freedom Rides in 1947. Because Rustin was openly gay, he had to remain behind the scenes in the Civil Rights movement, as his sexuality was the target of attacks by anti Civil Rights antagonists.
Candace Chellew-Hodge is the founder of Whosoever: An Online Magazine for GLBT Christians that was founded in 1996. The magazine was the first of its kind on the internet has continued to be a resource for the LGBT community since then at whosoever.org. She is also the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians published in 2008.
Rabbi Denise Eger
Rabbi Denise Eger serves at Congregation Kol Ami and long time LGBT activist
Rev. Peter J. Gomes
Rev. Peter J. Gomes (who passed away earlier this year) was longtime pastor of The Memorial Church at Harvard. He came out in 1991, saying "I am a Christian who happens as well to be gay. Those realities, which are irreconcilable to some, are reconciled in me by a loving God."
Pastor Dennis A. Meredith
Pastor Dennis A. Meredith is the Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA
Pastor Darlene C. A. Franklin
Pastor Franklin is the Pastor of Agape Spirit Life Ministries in Detroit. She is a leader in social justice and a pioneer in spiritual equality for the LGBT Community.
Rev. Roger E. Hayes
Rev. Hayes is the Senior Pastor of Church Of The Holy Spirit Fellowship located in Winston Salem, Nc
The Rev. Elder Jim Mitulski
Rev. Jim Mitulski, pastor of MCC New York City, came to MCC San Francisco. Under Jim's leadership for 15 years, the church entered a period of sustained growth during the devastating years of the AIDS epidemic and shifted from being a place to meet on Sundays into an integrated part of the San Francisco queer community.
Dr. Herukhuti, Founder of Black Funk: The Center for Culture, Sexuality, and Spirituality; author of Conjuring Black Funk: Notes on Culture, Sexuality, and Spirituality; and practitioner of traditional African and African Diasporic spirituality.
Archbishop Michael Seneco
Archbishop Michael Seneco, the presiding bishop of the North American Old Catholic Church- a progressive Catholic denomination with ministries in 23 states.
The Rev. Dr. Katrina D. Foster
Rev. Dr. Katrina D. Foster is an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) pastor. In 2007 she came out of the floor of her denomination's national assembly, after which the bishops put forth a resolution allowing them to abstain from discipling lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pastors with families and not face disciplinary action themselves for not bringing charges against these pastors.
Rabbi Andrea Myers
Rabbi Andrea Myers is the author of the book, "The Choosing-A Rabbi's Journey from Silent Nights to High Holy Days", an activist and mother.
Author Jay Michaelson
Jay Michaelson is a writer, scholar, and actvist whose work focuses on the intersections of religion, spirituality, sexuality, and law. His newest book, "God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality" shows that the Bible supports equal rights.
The Rev. Dr. Neil Thomas
The Rev. Dr. Neil Thomas is currently the Senior Pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Los Angeles.
Rev. Canon Susan Russell
Rev. Canon Susan Russell is the Associate Pastor at All Saints Pasadena, CA, past president of Integrity, HRC Religion and Faith Council.
Pastor Bradley Schmeling
Rev. Bradley Schmeling is Pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church, ELCA, Atlanta GA. Led the way for full inclusion of LGBT clergy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
Rev. Dr. Nancy L. Wilson
Rev. Dr. Nancy L. Wilson is Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches
Rev. Michael Hydes
Rev. Michael Hydes is the Pastor of New Light Metropolitan Community Church in Hagerstown, MD
Rev. Jo Pang
Pastor Of Good Samaritan Church In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia