More appalling revelations have emerged in this week’s Private Eye about DWP boss and Tory leadership hopeful Stephen Crabb’s links to religious organisations with extremist views on gay and lesbian people.
According to their website, Crabb sits on the Council of Reference of GWEINI, a group which claims to represent the Christian voluntary sector in Wales. In reality however they appear to be a front group for the Evangelical Alliance who support gay cures in some cases and believe that sexually active gay and lesbian people – even those in committed relationships – should be subject to church dicipline.
The chairperson of GWEINI is Elfed Godding who is also the national director of Evangelical Alliance Wales with whom they share a phone number and address. They operate under the same charity registration number as the UK wide Evangelical Alliance and explain on their website that GWEINI is “Evangelical Alliance Wales working with other Christian agencies in the nation.” One of those agencies is CARE, the group that Stephen Crabb once enjoyed a “fantastic year” with as an intern and who in 2009 funded a ‘gay cure’ conference where amongst other things they discussed “mentoring the sexually broken”. Joining Crabb on GWEINI’s Council of Reference is his old friend Lyndon Bowring, the Executive Chairman of CARE.
CARE have watered down their public opposition to gay and lesbian people recently, but you can’t say the same for the Evangelical Alliance . In 2012 the they published a book called ‘Biblical and pastoral responses to homosexuality’ to address what they said was an urgent need for guidance on matters relating to sexuality. To read it is like stepping back in time. Whilst the Alliance offer sympathy to those that experience ‘same sex attraction’ they insist that any sexual activity between those of the same sex is a sin and incompatible with Christian life.
Instead lesbian and gay Christians should be supported to live chastely says the group and church leaders are encouraged to support ‘reparative therapy’ – meaning an attempt to cure them of homosexuality – for those that want it. They say they “welcome and support … those who offer counsel and pastoral support” to help gay and lesbian people live a “chaste life” claiming that part of this process may mean some “experience changes in the strength or direction of their same-sex attractions”. According to the Alliance there is “plenty of anecdotal evidence” that gay and lesbian sexualities can be changed.
This doesn’t mean they are homophobic they inist, saying they welcome gay and lesbians into churches as long as they don’t ever have sex. But they also warn that “habitual homoerotic sexual activity without repentance”, and those who promote it, should be diciplined by, or even kicked out of their churches. And they mean it. In 2012 they expelled a Oasis, an evangelical ministry who published a piece on their website arguing that monogamous same-sex relationships are not sinful. They are still happy to work with Stephen Crabb though.
Crabb, who voted against gay marriage, has insisted that he does not support a gay cure. Yet he is embedded within an evangelical movement who actively promote such practices and who make no secret of their opposition to LGBT people. Will the real Stephen Crabb ever actually stand up? Or perhaps, given the appalling bigots he is happy to be associated with, he should stand down.
If you have any doubts about where this group stands read the Evangelical Alliance’s 10 affirmations which they say summarises their position on lesbian and gay people.