Moral Welfare and Social Well-Being: The Church of England and the Emergence of Modern Homosexuality

  • Timothy W. Jones
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)


In his retirement, former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey attained a certain notoriety for his support for the so-called gay-conversion therapy. He twice publicly intervened in cases where Christian psychotherapists were disciplined for their treatment (or non-treatment) of homosexual clients. In April 2010 he provided a witness statement for Gary McFarlane, a counsellor who was suspended for refusing to provide relationship counselling to gay couples on the grounds that he would not ‘encourage sin’. In January 2012 he published an appeal against the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy’s suspension of Lesley Pilkington. She was found guilty of malpractice and suspended after being found to be providing ‘reparative’ therapy to gay clients. Carey’s intervention in these cases came in the context of the established Church’s continued opposition to gay marriage, the failure of Christian churches globally to deal appropriately with systemic sexual abuse by male clergy in church institutions, and the trauma caused by a failure to navigate peacefully the growing acceptance of homosexuality within the churches. Carey argued, without apparent irony, that in these cases involving homosexuality British courts have ‘consistently applied equality law to discriminate against Christians’.1


Male Homosexuality Departmental Committee Moral Welfare Homosexual Desire Christian Attitude 
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Further reading

  1. Bailey, D. S. (1955) Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition (London: Longmans, Green & Co.).Google Scholar
  2. Brady, S. (2009) Masculinity and Male Homosexuality in Britain, 1861–1913 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brickell, C. (2006) ‘Sexology, the Homo/Hetero Binary, and the Complexities of Male Sexual History’, Sexuality, 9(4), 423–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cocks, H. G. (2006) ‘Religion and Spirituality’, in H. G. Cocks and M. Houlbrook (eds) The Modern History of Sexuality (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan), pp. 157–79.Google Scholar
  5. Houlbrook, M. (2005) Queer London: Perils and Pleasures in the Sexual Metropolis, 1918–1957 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).Google Scholar
  6. Jones, T. (2013) Sexual Politics in the Church of England, 1857–1957 (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  7. Jordan, M. (2011) Recruiting Young Love: How Christians Talk about Homosexuality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).Google Scholar
  8. Waters, C. (2012) ‘The Homosexual as a Social Being in Britain, 1945–1968’, Journal of British Studies, 51(3), 685–710.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Weeks, J. (2012) ‘Queer(y)ing the “Modern Homosexual”’, Journal of British Studies 51(3), 523–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Timothy W. Jones 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy W. Jones

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