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Tatchell applauded at UK Christian festival

Timothy Kincaid

August 30th, 2010

Peter Tatchell has been an untiring and unflinching advocate for international gay rights. His willingness to be arrested, harassed, and beaten has given him the credibility to command attention. And Tatchell has a character trait that sets leaders apart: the ability to find commonality where others might only see enmity.

Tatchell, who has long since abandoned his Christianity, may seem like an odd choice to speak at Greenbelt, one of Britain’s largest Christian festivals. But finding “more in common than divides us”, he went to harness the power of faith to do good in the world.

Tatchell was harshly critical of Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, whom he accused of colluding with the persecution of GLBT people by the Anglican Church in Africa and of “conservative evangelical groups from the USA” who went to Uganda to argue that the country’s biggest problem is “not poverty, not corruption, not human rights abuses, not rigged elections” but homosexuality.”

But he also found Christians to praise and to hold up as an example. (Ekklesia)

He was keen to make a distinction between Christians who oppose homosexuality and those who encourage persecution. “It’s one thing to say that homosexuality is wrong, and people are entitled to that belief,” he said, “What they’re not entitled to do is to say that the law of the land should discriminate”.

But Tatchell was quick to praise Christians who have stood up against such attitudes. He singled out South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Ugandan Bishop Christoper Senjyonjo, who has “paid a very, very heavy price” and been denied his pension.

He also spoke passionately of LGBT African Christians, including Davis Mac-Iyalla and Jide Macauley, who have risked their lives by being open about their sexuality.

“For all of those, gay and straight, who do take a stand, I salute you, I thank you,” he concluded.

Tatchell received a standing ovation.

Comments

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Regan DuCasse
August 30th, 2010 | LINK

Definitely my personal hero and someone to emulate.
I’m glad he’s receiving the recognition he deserves as he makes sure that like minded people are aware and united regarding the price being paid to do so.

Mark Lawrence
August 30th, 2010 | LINK

Greenbelt is a special and unique kind of Christian festival. It’s been affirming and supportive of GLBT Christians for years and has been willing to front speakers and support dialog amongst Christians along the way. It definitely isn’t anything like a Christian festival you might find in the US (oh wait, “Wild Goose”, patterned after Greenbelt, debuts in the US next summer!).

Tatchell is one example. Bishop Robinson was a speaker last year as was Rob Bell.

I wouldn’t have expected anything less of the Greenbelt punters than to give Tatchell a warm welcome. I’m just sorry I had to give it a miss this year.

anteros
August 30th, 2010 | LINK

wow.
the world needs more people like Peter Thatchell.

TampaZeke
August 30th, 2010 | LINK

I wish we colonists had a Peter Tatchell.

Alas, we have a Joe Solomonese instead.

Probably why the UK has been moving forward by leaps and bounds since the turn of the millennium while America has been heading in the wrong direction.

nikko
August 31st, 2010 | LINK

Peter Tatchell indeed is a great gay activist. However, I make no peace with people who believe homosexuality is wrong-no matter how nice thy are. To me, that does soul damage and is where the real trauma and oppression begins.

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