Torchwood’s John Barrowman bashes bishop over homophobic remarks
Should I repent?
That was the question actor John Barrowman put to his grey-haired old mum who was in the studio audience of today’s broadcast of the popular BBC programme Loose Women.
“NO!” she emphatically declared – and was warmly applauded by the audience.
Heart-throb Barrowman, who plays captain Jack Harkness in the BBC series Torchwood, was responding to idiotic remarks made at the weekend by Anglican bishop Michael Nazir-Ali .
The Bishop of Rochester provoked outrage among gay groups and others when he urged Church leaders to stick to traditional values instead of being swayed by “culture and trends”.
While calling for the “traditional teaching” of the Bible to be upheld, the Bishop said of homosexuals:
We want them to repent and be changed.
His controversial remarks were published just hours after more than half a million people, including the Prime Minister’s wife, Sarah, took part in this year’s Gay Pride parade in London.
Openly-gay Barrowman, who was “brought up a churchgoer”, told Loose Women that he thought many more gay people would attend church if people like Dr Nazir-Ali:
Would stop talking rubbish.
According to today’s Independent, Sharon Ferguson, of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, condemned the bishop for making comments that she said would encourage hatred.
He is telling people ‘You have to repent’ for something they have no control over. It’s like asking someone to repent because they have blue eyes.
And Peter Tatchell, the gay rights campaigner, said he was “shocked” at the level of anti-gay prejudice voiced by the bishop.
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.
Labour MEP Michael Cashman accused the Bishop of Rochester of being “selective” about which parts of the Bible he upheld.
When he calls for the closure of all the banks, finance houses and credit card companies because of what it says in the Bible about usury, then I’ll take him seriously. Until then, unless he can say anything good, he should shut up.
Commenting on the bishop’s remarks, the Independent‘s Philip Hensher wrote:
Before Dr Nazir-Ali opens his mouth again, someone should explain the nature of homosexuality. Despite many years of trying, nobody has ever successfully demonstrated a â€˜cure’ for homosexuality. There is no clinical â€˜cure’. There is no possibility of â€˜change’ in this area …
And religion does not succeed where psychiatry fails. Repentance and prayer have absolutely no effect.Â â€¦ where a change of sexual orientation is sought or imposed, unhappiness and deception invariably follow.