Church of England reopens investigation into former cleric who called trans priest a 'bloke'

Rev. Brett Murphy
Rev. Brett Murphy | YouTube/Brett Murphy

The Church of England is reopening an investigation into a former clergy member regarding a YouTube video he made in which he referred to a transgender-identifying priest as "a bloke."

The Rev. Brett Murphy, 38, whose YouTube channel addresses weekly news from an orthodox Anglican perspective, was slapped with a Clergy Disciplinary Measure (CDM) because of his statement against the Rev. Rachel Mann, according to the London-based nonprofit Christian Concern.

Christian Concern's legal arm, Christian Legal Centre (CLC), has assisted Murphy in his defense.

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CDM is the Church of England's formal disciplinary procedure in response to allegations of clerical misconduct, and Murphy is claiming that the process is being "abused and weaponized" to force out ministers who resist what he described as the church's "landslide into apostasy and irrelevance."

In his June 23 video, Murphy was critical of Mann, a biological male who identifies as a woman and had been appointed archdeacon of Bolton and Salford earlier that month.

Mann is the first transgender-identifying archdeacon in the Church of England. Murphy predicted in his video that groundwork is being laid to make Mann the first transgender bishop in the denomination.

"Now you may wonder, 'Is that really newsworthy, Brett'? You may roll your eyes if you are a complementarian, that another feminist is getting a prominent high-ranking position in the [Church of England], but this is worse than that," Murphy said in the video. "The Rev. Rachel Mann is, in fact, biologically, a bloke who identifies and lives as a woman."

Citing Mann's promotion and the glowing rhetoric by which Bishop of Manchester David Walker announced it, Murphy said, "I wonder if this is this is not positioning for [Mann] to become a bishop in the Church of England, the first transsexual bishop in the [Church of England]. Yes, my dear ones, this is a very troublesome story."

He also called Mann "a radical rainbow activist being put in a position of high authority in a diocese" and questioned whether a parishioner might struggle with accepting communion from a cleric who is in "complete rebellion against God's Word."

In addition to having formal complaints lodged against him for "misgendering" Mann, the CLC says Murphy also received three other CDMs for social media posts criticizing Mann's prayers describing Jesus as "our sister," for raising concerns in a sermon over teaching about marriage and sexuality in United Kingdome schools and for not visiting someone in the hospital who had left his church.

With the aid of the CLC, Bishop of Loughborough Saju Muthalaly dismissed each of the four complaints against him, though the Diocese of Leicester announced in a statement on Tuesday that the investigation into his YouTube video had been reopened following an appeal.

CLC maintains that Canon Carolyn Lewis is behind the complaint. She serves as the diocesan director of education in Leicester. The Christian Post has reached out to Lewis for comment.

"After due consideration, the four cases were determined and no further action was taken," the diocese said. "One, concerning a vlog by [Rev.] Murphy, was reopened after an appeal was made by the complainant and upheld by the President of Tribunals."

Murphy pastored St. David's Church in Coalville, Leicestershire, before departing the Church of England in June to join the separatist Free Church of England. He claimed during an interview in August that he felt he "had to leave" after the General Synod approved blessings for same-sex couples.

The Diocese of Leicester noted that even though Murphy has left the Church of England, "the CDM provides that the process has to continue nonetheless" because the complaint occurred while he was still a priest in the denomination.

Murphy said in a statement that the reopening of the complaint against him proves the point he was trying to make in his YouTube video last June.

"The re-opening of the complaint especially exposes the drive within the [Church of England] to censor and banish any dissenting voice that does not agree or celebrate extreme LGBT ideology," he said.

Noting that receiving a formal complaint was "a scary experience" that caused him to question whether he could maintain his livelihood, he said he is concerned by how many other clergy are potentially being silenced by the process, which he claimed has effectively been hijacked by liberals.

Murphy claimed to know other priests who have told him that "they are being pushed out and bullied if they do not go along with the same-sex marriage agenda."

"Many orthodox Anglican clergy are on the receiving end of a system that is being misused and abused," he said. "The process is designed to get the bad guys, the clergy who have done something seriously wrong, not for stating biological truth that is aligned with the [Church of England's] own teaching."

"What is happening to me is a case of pure vengeance for daring to say what I have," he added. "It is an attempt to slur, slander and discredit me and take me down even though I have left the [Church of England]."

Andrea Williams, who serves as CLC's chief executive, said in a statement that her nonprofit has lately been inundated with cases of Anglican clergy being intimidated and punished by their denomination for upholding traditional teachings regarding marriage and sexuality.

"Promoting same-sex blessings is a catastrophe for the [Church of England]," she said. "It is a clear departure from the biblical model for marriage. We will continue to see the Church of England decline if it insists on continuing this course."

Williams added that the only churches thriving in the U.K. are those that adhere to biblical standards of morality.

"People expect the church to be a standard bearer for the world," she said. "They don't expect the church to be following the ever-changing culture of the world."

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