- (Photo: REUTERS/Toby Melville)
In a shocking letter to one of the leaders in Britain's House of Lords, an Anglican Bishop equated upholding the traditional family structure with apartheid.
The inflammatory statements were written in a letter to Labour Party member Lord Alli, who personally requested that the Bishop of Salisbury, Rt. Rev. Nicholas Holtam, clarify his position on the issue before the House of Lords votes on same-sex marriage legislation on Monday.
Holtam stated that he feels Christians need to "rethink" interpretation of biblical scripture to coincide with changing social norms regarding homosexuality. Holtam went on to add in the letter that Christians' who support and defend biblical standards are just like Christians of centuries past that used the Bible to justify slavery and apartheid.
Bishop Holtam's comments are in conflict with Church of England's official position condemning same-sex marriage, and he further separated himself from the Church's doctrine by stating that "Christian morality comes from the mix of Bible, Christian tradition and our reasoned experience."
"Sometimes Christians have had to rethink the priorities of the Gospel in the light of experience. No one now supports either slavery or apartheid. The Biblical texts have not changed; our interpretation has," he added.
The debate over gay marriage in Britain has been costly and divisive, according to British Prime Minister David Cameron, who recently conceded that his pursuit of legalizing gay marriage has left Britain divided.
Many Tories have been left bemused by Cameron's continued pursuit of gay marriage despite clear objections among many within his own party.
Cameron recently explained that he will now look to step back from the gay marriage debate in order to focus on "big picture" issues such as the economy and job creation during an interview with BBC Radio's Today show.
A previous vote on the controversial bill dubbed the "Gay Marriage Bill" showed that nearly half of all Tory Members of Parliament voted against the Marriage Bill that will aim to legalize same sex marriage, highlighting the split within the party.
"On the gay marriage issue, this is an issue clearly that divides the country. It certainly divides the Conservative Party," Cameron said during the radio interview.