Anglican priest who called a trans archdeacon a 'bloke' should not face punishment, tribunal rules

Friday, March 29, 2024
 – An Anglican priest who called a transgender archdeacon a “bloke” should not face punishment, a disciplinary tribunal has ruled.

Clergymen Brett Murphy made the comment when discussing the appointment of Rachel Mann as the archdeacon of Bolton and Salford on YouTube last year. He said the Church of England's first trans woman archdeacon was “in fact, biologically, a bloke, who identifies and lives as a woman,” and also labelled her as a “fella,” The Times reported.

During the video, Mr Murphy also questioned whether Ms Mann was being positioned to become a bishop, saying: “What you are seeing here is someone who is a radical rainbow activist being put in a position of high authority in a diocese.”

He subsequently left the church after it announced plans to introduce same-s3x blessings to places of worship, but still faced a hearing after a complaint was made against him under official clergy discipline measures.

The complaint was rejected at the first hearing by the Bishop of Loughborough, the Right Rev Saju Muthulay, but it was re-opened after a review was requested by the original complainant.

This week, Mr Murphy once again found he had no case to answer for, following a ruling from David Turner KC, deputy president of the church's disciplinary tribunal.

Mr Turner said while the terms used to refer to Mann were “arguably highly insensitive,” they were “not in themselves offensive words.”

According to officials at the Christian Legal Centre, Mr Murphy has faced a “co-ordinated campaign against him, resulting in a record four clergy disciplinary measures.” since he launched his YouTube channel. All four claims have been rejected, the centre says.

The centre also told the Times: “Murphy was concerned that the church's disciplinary process was being abused and weaponised to silence, intimidate and force Anglican priests … who do not affirm and celebrate LGBTQI+ ideology and the plans to introduce same-s3x marriage to places of worship.”

It also pointed out a “huge volume of cases involving clergy who have been intimidated and punished simply for expressing standard Christian beliefs on marriage and s3xual ethics.”

The complaint would not be referred to the bishop's disciplinary tribunal and no further steps could be taken, as Mr Turner had ruled that there was not a case for Mr Murphy to answer.

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