Dr Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has stepped into a storm after issuing his anti-bullying policies for Church of England schools.
While it is right to condemn any form of bullying, the fact the head of the Established Church has told teachers it is fine for boys to wear tutus and tiaras, without any scriptural mandate, has set a dangerous precedent for religious organisations.
Robert Gagnon, former associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, was quoted by Christian Concern as claiming Dr Welby is committing heresy.
In his blog, Mr Gagnon wrote: ‘To claim that providing space for children to be socialised into a “transgender” or homosexual life is consistent with the teaching of Jesus and the apostolic witness to Christ (especially Paul) is heresy, pure and simple.
‘It is absurd to appeal to the fact that all humans are made in God’s image as a justification for providing “safe spaces” for affirming homosexual practice or transgenderism. Sadly, this is precisely what Dr Welby does when he states in support of this new (anti-)guidance’.
Some organisations, though, were quick to welcome the perverse guidance put forward by Dr Welby. Javed Khan, chief executive of children’s charity Barnardo’s, commented, ‘Respecting the unique worth of every person is an integral part of Barnardo’s values, so we wholeheartedly welcome this move by the Church of England. How you identify should not be a barrier in your life; it should be a springboard’.