More than 300 signatories, including 160 priests and members of the General Synod, have signed an open letter to bishops in the Church of England asking them to "come out" and "openly acknowledge" their feelings of same-sex attraction.
The letter—which as of last week had been signed by 282 Anglicans, 29 Methodists and 25 members of other Christian denominations, as well as representatives of Jewish groups—will be formally submitted to the House of Bishops.
The letter—signatures for which have been collected by the Rev. Keith Hebden, an Anglican vicar from Mansfield—follows on from the recent publication of a book by the retired Rev. Alan Wilson, the serving bishop of Buckingham.
In his book, More Perfect Union?: Understanding Same Sex Marriage, Wilson speculates that there are "said to be a dozen or so gay bishops" currently prevented from openly acknowledging their sexuality by "an episcopal closet door."
In response to the letter, Andrea Williams of Christian Concern commented: "This letter is a provocative statement at a time when this issue is so live in the Church of England. In urging any so-called 'closeted' bishops to acknowledge their sexuality, it grants the status of fact to damaging speculation about bishops' sexuality and gives credence to the popular and false idea that the Bible's and the Church's traditional teaching on sexuality is restrictive and limiting.
"It demonstrates no regard for the Bible, which graciously and compassionately sets out how to order our sexual lives through the life-long commitment of marriage between one man and one woman."
Click here to read the full letter.
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