PARIS (Reuters) – The spiritual leader of the world’s 77 million Anglicans has said conservative Christians who cite the Bible to condemn homosexuality are misreading a key passage written by Saint Paul almost 2,000 years ago.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, addressing theology students in Toronto, said an oft-quoted passage in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans meant to warn Christians not to be self-righteous when they see others fall into sin.
His comments were an unusually open rebuff to conservative bishops, many of them from Africa, who have been citing the Bible to demand that pro-gay Anglican majorities in the United States and Canada be reined in or forced out of the Communion.
“Many current ways of reading miss the actual direction of the passage,” Williams said on Monday, according to a text of his speech posted on the Anglican Church of Canada’s Web site.
“Paul is making a primary point not about homosexuality but about the delusions of the supposedly law-abiding.”