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.”

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Science Technician

£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: The Job:School Science Technici...

English and Media Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: English & Media Teacher - ...

Graduate BI Consultant (Business Intelligence) - London

£24000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate BI Consultant (B...

Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam