The Church must repent of times when it has been homophobic, the Archbishop of Canterbury said on Wednesday. He also said most people under 35 think that the Church's traditional attitude to gay people is "wicked", "incomprehensible" and on a par with racism. Speaking at the official opening of the Evangelical Alliance's new premises in King's Cross, central London, he said the Government's same-sex marriage bill rightly dealt with issues of homophobia in society. But he said he voted against the same-sex bill because it seemed to be "rewriting the nature of marriage" within the Christian tradition, and that if the debate was repeated he would vote the same way. The archbishop went on: "As I said at the time in the House of Lords, the Church has not been good at dealing with homophobia. It has at times, as God's people, either implicitly or explicitly supported it and we have to be really, really repentant about that because it is utterly and totally wrong. But that doesn't mean that redefining marriage is the right way forward." Archbishop Welby admitted that his own mind was not yet "clear" on the wider issues relating to gay marriage, and said the Church of England was still "deeply and profoundly divided" over the issue. He also said he was keen not to exclude those who disagreed with his views. Echoing statements he made to General Synod in July, Archbishop Welby also noted that there had been "a rapid cultural change" in sexuality and sexual behaviour. He said: "We have to face the fact that the vast majority of people under 35 not only think that what we're saying is incomprehensible, but also think that we're plain wrong and wicked, and equate it to racism and other forms of gross and atrocious injustice."
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