English evangelical: Let's include gays

Jan. 16, 2013 at 1:07 AM

LONDON, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- One of England's most prominent evangelical ministers says Christians need to recognize monogamous same-sex relationships.

The Rev. Steve Chalke, a Baptist, senior minister of Oasis Church in London and founder of a network of charities, gave his views in an article, "The Last Taboo," published this week in Christianity, The Daily Telegraph reported. Chalke compared the views of many Christians on homosexuality to those who 200 years ago used the Bible to justify slavery.

Chalke said the overall message of the Bible is one of "radical inclusion."

"Some will think that I have strayed from scripture -- that I am no longer an evangelical," he wrote. "I have formed my view, however, not out of any disregard for the Bible's authority, but by way of grappling with it and, through prayerful reflection, seeking to take it seriously."

Prime Minister David Cameron is pushing for legalization of gay marriages. Both Catholic and Church of England leaders oppose the move, although the Church of England has allowed gays to become priests.

Chalke said many Christians turn homosexuals into "pariahs," who end up in "lives of loneliness, secrecy and fear."

One result, he said, is a high suicide rate: "Why am I so passionate about this issue? Because people's lives are at stake."

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