Tutu gets standing ovation for addressing Church of Scotland gay issue

Published May 28, 2009

EdinburghArchbishop Desmond Tutu has said that homosexuals have a place in the Church while addressing the Church of Scotland general assembly in Edinburgh during a gathering that has left the denomination deeply divided on the issue of gay clergy.After a 15-minute speech in the Scottish capital before members of the general assembly of the Kirk, as the Church of Scotland is known, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and retired South African archbishop received a standing ovation.”I would find it impossible to stand by when people are being persecuted for something about which they can do nothing – their sexual orientation,” Archbishop Tutu told delegates on the last day of their 2009 meeting. “In this family there are no outsiders. All are insiders – lesbian, gay, so-called straight – we are family.”Archbishop Tutu’s May 27 speech was the day after a decision by the Church of Scotland to impose a two-year ban on open debate about the ordination of non-celibate gay people after the Kirk announced the appointment of a commission to investigate the issue and to report back by 2011.The decision came as 121 ministers and members of the Kirk, expressed their disapproval about an earlier decision to allow Scott Rennie, a gay man living openly with his partner, to be appointed to a ministry in Aberdeen, northern Scotland.Archbishop Tutu stated that he knew about the debate on the appointment of the homosexual minister. Archbishop Tutu noted, “For my part, I was involved in the struggle against a system that penalized people for something about which they could do nothing – their race – and I could not stand by when people were being penalized again for something about which they could do nothing – their gender.”For quite a while our church did not ordain women to the priesthood. I joined the struggle and this is a non-issue in our church now,” the archbishop said. “We haven’t yet consecrated a woman bishop but we’ve called our first woman dean and any number of women are archdeacons.” The Anglican cleric was later awarded an honorary degree from Edinburgh University.


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