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Synod motion seeks to ban Pride flag on church buildings

09 June 2022

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A PRIVATE member’s motion submitted to the General Synod asks the Archbishops’ Council to prohibit through legislation the display of the Pride rainbow flag on church buildings, because “what [the flag] represents . . . is contrary to the word of God”.

The motion from Sam Margrave (Coventry) asks that the Synod, while “affirming that God loves all people irrespective of their sexual orientation, nevertheless consider that the ‘Pride’ rainbow flag and what it represents in terms of the ordering of lives and relationships is contrary to the word of God”.

It asks the Synod to a) call on the House of Bishops “to state that support for Pride (including use of the rainbow flag and participation in Pride events) is incompatible with the Christian faith, its agenda being contrary to scriptural teaching and doctrine by promoting sexuality and promiscuity, and by the denial of the distinction between male and female”.

And b) “request the Archbishop’s Council to introduce legislation to prohibit the display of any political or other campaigning flags in or on church buildings”.

Pride is celebrated in June. In a note accompanying his motion, Mr Margrave writes: “The number of churches, cathedrals and clergy endorsing Pride, which promotes values contratary to scripture, has been significant this year.” He continues: “Whether or not they agree with the proposal, we as a Church need to discuss the Church’s approach to Pride and the increasing use of political flags inside our churches.”

Responding to the motion, the Synod member and LGBT campaigner Jayne Ozanne (Oxford), said: “As someone who had the privilege of carrying the Pride flag in the Queen’s Jubilee pageant, where we were met with cheering crowds along the whole route, I find this motion both incredibly offensive and intentionally divisive.

“It is about time the Archbishops spoke out once and for all about this prolonged and sustained attack on the LGBT+ community from a section of the church who are indifferent to the harm that they cause.

“The Pride flag symbolises inclusion and has nothing to do with ‘promoting promiscuity’. We must remember that God’s love has no boundaries, God’s gospel has no exception clauses — those who wish to create them are clearly acting in a way that is ‘contrary to the word of God’.”

A spokesperson for Church House said on Thursday: “To be considered for debate at General Synod private members’ motions need to be supported by at least 100 signatures from Synod members.

“The proposed motion shared on social media has not yet been published to begin collecting signatures and, for the avoidance of doubt, is not scheduled for debate.”

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