Wallace Benn withdraws endorsement of pro-rape booklet

Wallace Benn, the Church of England’s Bishop of Lewes, has today withdrawn his endorsement of a booklet by the fundamentalist campaigner Stephen Green. He issued a statement after several bloggers drew attention to his endorsement yesterday.

The booklet, Britain in Sin, advocates the legalisation of rape within marriage and the criminalisation of sexual relations between people of the same sex.

As I pointed out in my blog yesterday, Green’s revamped website includes an endorsement from Benn, in which the bishop says, “This makes interesting and disturbing reading”. The booklet opposes the welfare state, a legal right for equal pay for men and women, the UK’s membership of the United Nations and power-sharing in Northern Ireland.

Today, I received a message from Wallace Benn’s office in which he made the following statement:

Having now read the contents of this booklet in full I want to completely and absolutely dissociate myself from it.”

Benn’s statement implies that he endorsed the booklet without reading it all. It remains unclear which part of it he thought worthy of endorsement, but I’m still willing to give him credit for the rapid withdrawal of his remarks. I have asked his communications officer if he has asked Stephen Green to remove the endorsement from his website.

However, I find it sad that the bishop’s statement does not include any expression of apology, or of regret for any upset or offence he may have caused.

3 responses to “Wallace Benn withdraws endorsement of pro-rape booklet

  1. Its this kind of thing that keeps me passionate in my views. People think our peace and freedoms are safe, they may (if they care at all) want to push forward, however those that would drag us back to dark religious oppression are still with us.

  2. Whilst there is a challenge to us all through this, that we must fully understand something before we endorse it, I feel that many have rushed in and done exactly the same thing here by endorsing views that are misunderstood! Having spent time listening to Bishop Benn’s teachings, had the privilege of being challenged and encouraged by God through him, I do not believe he supports the view of the legalisation of rape within marriage nor of the view that women are less equal in God’s eyes. It is sometimes necessary to challenge views but there is a danger in berating godly, evangelical gospel teachers in a public forum. Remember no-one is perfect and therefore likely to make some mistakes. It is clear from the Bishop’s withdrawal of endorsement that he realises he may have made a mistake and if there is a need for repentance is not for you, thankfully, to judge but for the LORD. Far be it for us to heap judgement on a man who is seeking to glorify God and has done so much wonderful work for the gospel. The bible calls us to pray for our leaders and therefore this is surely what we must do rather than indulge in misjudged gossip…we do not ourselves want to damage the gospel in this way.

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