Uproar in Oxford as Trinity hosts Christian group with controversial views on homosexuality

 

An Oxford college is in hot water for hosting a conference for a religious group with controversial views about homosexuality.

Trinity College has been heavily criticised for agreeing to host a conference organised by Christian Concern, a lobby group which has previously come under fire for what some people have interpreted as homophobia.

The ‘Wilberforce Academy’ conference also caused controversy last year, when it was held at Exeter College, resulting in the profits of the conference being donated to LGBTQ organisations. Nevertheless, the event began yesterday in Trinity with a seminar on ‘How To Engage with Secular Culture’.  The conference, which has paid to be hosted, lasts three days and is expected to end tomorrow, aims to prepare delegates for ‘servant-hearted, Christ-centred leadership in public life’, according to their website.

The lobby group lists sexual orientation as one of its ‘concerns’ on its website, also mentioning Islam and religious freedom. The CEO of Christian Concern has previously been reported as saying: “It is time to stand up to a militant homosexual lobby who are unable to tolerate difference of opinion and who seek to coerce behaviour and thought.”

Meanwhile an article posted on the Christian Concern website yesterday encourages people to ‘support traditional marriage while you’re allowed to’, stating that ‘if gender is taken out of the definition of marriage through these proposals, marriage will cease to be marriage.’

Olivia Ouwehand, a third-year English student at Trinity College, described Christian Concern as a “homophobic, anti-muslim and anti-tolerant body of extremists and politically active Christians.”

Olivia hopes that Trinity College follows Exeter College’s precedent last year by “paying all profits of the conference to an LGBTQ charity, of issuing an apology to Trinity and the Oxford community more widely for their mistake, and making sure that they have a system in place which ensures against repeat mistakes being made in the future.”

History student Tom Lowman added that he is “sad for gay students and Christian students in Trinity because they’ve both been hard done by” as a result of the college hosting the conference.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, disputed the claim that they are a homophobic organisation, saying ‘nothing could be further from the truth, we have immense love for every human being’.

“It is wrong to portray us as an organisation that is motivated by any hatred,” she added.

Ivor Roberts, the president of Trinity, told the Independent that he hadn’t heard of Christian Concern before this morning, and that he had ‘no idea there was anything controversial about them’.

“Christian Concern is a neutral name,” he said, and in seeing that the organisation had the support of former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, ‘the conference people booked it accordingly’.

He confirmed that he already set up a review into how the college selects its conference partners, to make sure that its ‘policies of equality’ are followed in the future, but would not be drawn on donating the proceeds to charity, noting that the college itself has charitable status.

A representative from Trinity College’s Christian Union, Andrew Bennison, said that Christian Concern ‘concentrates on a very narrow range of social issues which are not at all central to spreading what Christianity is really about’.

“The Christian perspective that Christian Concern offers probably wouldn’t be recognised by Christians in Trinity or across Oxford…  we’re much more about celebrating the inclusiveness of Christianity.”

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Guru Careers: Graduate Marketing Executive / Marketing Assistant

£18 - 23k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Marketing Executive / Assistant is n...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider to the fa...

Ashdown Group: Graduate IT Analyst - Global ERP Implementation - London

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful & reputable global business is l...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'