The Church is driving homosexual people to suicide because of its negative and discriminatory attitude towards same-sex relationships, a major Christian charity has concluded.
A report by Oasis warned that churches must take a ‘disproportionate share of the blame’ for the mental health issues of people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual.
The charity found that every denomination of the Christian church in Britain, except for the United Reformed Church, held positions which actively discriminate against people with same-sex partners.
Rev Steve Chalke MBE , Founder of Oasis, said, “It is no secret that the negative stance taken by the Church, and so many individual local churches, has a hugely distressing impact on large numbers of lesbian, gay and bisexual people and leaves countless numbers of them living lives of forced secrecy and dishonesty.
“Tragically, it is also common knowledge that the resultant anguish and distress often leads to spiritual, mental and physical harm, and in the worst of cases to people making the desperate decision to take their own life.
“We will take a long hard looking the mirror and see the consequences of what we have said and done staring back at us.”
The report concluded that local churches are ‘one of the biggest organisers discriminators’ of gay people.
The research was released in part to respond to the report from the House of Bishops which restated the Church of England’s opposition to same-sex marriage and will be discussed at the General Synod meeting next week.
The charity called for the Church of England to fund more research into the issue and also give more money to mental health charities.
It also said that liberal members of congregations must do more to ‘make their position heard.’
The report said: “Churches that are inclusive to lesbian, gay and bisexual people, need to find effective ways of presenting this to local communities. We would encourage people in every church group and denomination to be as courageous as possible in championing the position that they believe in.”
Rev Chalke added: “Any doctrine, any policy, that causes destructive hurt and alienation cannot be born of a theology that reflects the God of the Bible.”
Inclusive churches were urged to sign up to the Open Church charter which commits to welcoming gay people into their congregations.