It was a historic day as Pope Francis, the head of the Anglican Communion, and top Presbyterian minister joined forces to denounce the criminalization of homosexuality. On Sunday, the three Christian leaders spoke out on LGBTQ rights during an unprecedented joint airborne news conference returning home from South Sudan. This comes after Francis declared that laws that criminalize gay people were “unjust” and that “being homosexual is not a crime.”
The three Christian leaders were asked about Francis’ recent comments to The Associated Press, to which he reaffirmed that criminalizing people with homosexual tendencies is an “injustice.” He also repeated that parents should never throw their gay children out of the house. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, echoed the pope’s words and said that LGBTQ rights were very much on the current agenda of the Church of England.
The Church of England decided to allow blessings for same-sex civil marriages but said same-sex couples could not marry in its churches. The Vatican forbids both gay marriage and blessings for same-sex unions. The Rt. Rev. Iain Greenshields, the Presbyterian moderator of the Church of Scotland, offered a poignant observation: “There is nowhere in my reading of the four Gospels where I see Jesus turning anyone away. There is nowhere in the four Gospels where I see anything other than Jesus expressing love to whomever he meets.”
On this day, three of the world’s most powerful Christian leaders spoke out against the criminalization of homosexuality and called for acceptance and love for all. This is a monumental step forward in the fight for LGBTQ rights and a reminder of the power of love.