Queen Elizabeth--who is the head of the Church of England--has irked gay rights advocates this week by sending letters described as 'supportive' to the conservative Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA), following the group's efforts to fight the church's increasingly progressive outlook. According to the Telegraph, a controversial figure involved with the group, Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, recently called on gays to repent and follow the Biblical decree that marriage is between a man and a woman, lending to the rebuke of the Queen's tacit endorsement.
According to Royal Watch News, prominent gay rights advocate Peter Tatchell issued statements of his own in response to the Bishop's position:
He said: "Homophobia is a social and moral evil, just like racism. Bigotry, even in the guise of religion, has no place in a compassionate, caring society.
"I call on the Bishop to repent his homophobia. His prejudice goes against Christ's gospel of love and compassion."
The dispute is the latest installment in an ongoing bout of contentiousness between the Anglican Church's more traditional elements and its more progressive faction that is said to have begun in 2003 with the ordination of New Hampshire's openly gay Gene Robinson. According to the Telegraph:
Last year orthodox bishops boycotted the once-a-decade gathering of Anglican leaders, the Lambeth Conference, after holding a breakaway summit in Jerusalem. A new "province" for traditionalists has since been created as a home for those who oppose the ultra-liberal churches in America and Canada, which approve of same-sex unions in defiance of tradition and scripture and want to elect more homosexual bishops.