Washington D.C., Feb 6, 2023 / 15:45 pm (CNA).
As Church of England leaders meet in a contentious synod over whether to bless same-sex unions, tensions escalated when a diocese reported a lay synod member to police for “hate speech.”
The Diocese of Coventry announced reported synod member Sam Margrave to the police after he reportedly posted his beliefs that same-sex relationships are sinful. The diocese is part of the Anglican communion and not in communion with the Catholic Church.
Margarve has been a vocal critic of Anglican Church leaders who want to bless homosexual unions and those who want to go further and perform marriages for homosexual couples.
Bishop Christopher Cocksworth of the Diocese of Coventry informed Margrave that they had reported him to the police, according to a news release from the United Kingdom-based Christian advocacy group Christian Concern.
“The diocesan secretary has had no option, in view of a number of complaints received, [but] to report your offending tweets to the West Midlands Police and is in continuing conversation with them,” the correspondence read.
“[The police] have advised her that they have been able to speak to you but that you continue to deny you have done anything wrong.”
When contacted by CNA, the diocese forwarded its statement condemning Margrave but refused to comment further on its decision to report him to the police.
In its statement, the diocese wrote that “everyone has the right to feel safe when interacting online” and encouraged people to read an information sheet that includes information about how to receive mental health support and report supposed hate speech to social media companies and local police.
“We are extremely sorry when an individual makes comments that fall short of the social media guidelines published by the Church of England and fails to behave in a way fitting of their office as a member of Synod,” the statement read.
“We continue to take all the appropriate action available to us, including reporting the matter to external agencies, and are working to introduce a Code of Conduct with sanctions for non-compliance to our own Synod. We have not taken these actions lightly and have only done so in view of the sheer number of complaints received from third parties, and only after other avenues have been exhausted, including repeated offers of support to the individual concerned.”