On Friday, a blog post written earlier this year by a Scottish Anglican minister went viral — but not for the kind of loving, uplifting message one might expect. Instead, the reverend requested prayers for Prince George to be gay in an attempt to make the world more accepting of the LGBTQ community. Unsurprisingly, the world hasn't taken too well to this suggestion. In fact, people are pretty angry.
In a blog post titled "How to change the Church of England," Reverend Kelvin Holdsworth wrote that one quick, effective way to get the Church of England to allow gay marriage would be if Prince George — currently all of 4 years old — grew up to be gay.
After outlining nine other ways that the Church of England could be convinced to change its views (including the more traditional methods of campaigning and using political pressure), Holdsworth suggested:
If people don’t want to engage in campaigning in this way, they do in England have another unique option, which is to pray in the privacy of their hearts (or in public if they dare) for the Lord to bless Prince George with a love, when he grows up, of a fine young gentleman. A royal wedding might sort things out remarkably easily though we might have to wait 25 years for that to happen. Who knows whether that might be sooner than things might work out by other means?
Holdsworth did not immediately respond to Romper's request for comment.
Needless to say, the reaction on Twitter was swift — and decidedly unhappy:
To be fair, Holdsworth's intentions were clearly good: the minister campaigns for LGBTQ rights and would like to see the Church of England accept same-sex marriage, which I think we can all agree is a worthy goal. His entire post was a list of ways the Church of England could come to change, and his point about Prince George was only one item on that list (possibly even there just to humorously point out his frustration with the slow pace of change). However, it still didn't sit right with many.
The reverend told the BBC regarding the blog post: "This quote seems to be getting a lot of attention because it was picked up by a number of anti-gay campaigners in the Church of England."
But while some of the criticism did come from those with seemingly anti-LGBTQ views, a fair bit of criticism came from those who simply thought that, just maybe, people shouldn't be praying for a child's sexuality to turn out one way or another. In fact, maybe someone else's sexuality is none of our business in the first place.
"To use prayer as a mechanism for wishing this on Prince George is an unkind and destructive thing to do," Gavin Ashenden, a Christian Episcopal Church missionary bishop, told the BBC. "It doesn't have the prince's best interests at heart, but uses him as a gender-political football."
What is especially odd and incongruous is the fact that it is suddenly OK to pray for someone to be gay, but totally unacceptable to pray for them to be free from being gay.
Unfortunately, this is far from the first time that the public has felt like it's necessary to comment on Prince George's potential sexuality. In August, he was labeled a "gay icon" by one website after a picture emerged of the little prince overjoyed to see a helicopter. And just like it's not OK now for a minister to pray the prince grows up to be gay, it wasn't OK then, either. In fact, before a kid decides to tell us for themselves what their sexuality (or gender identity) is, it shouldn't be anyone's business at all.
While it's fantastic that Holdsworth wants to see same-sex marriage accepted by the Church of England, hopefully he was only kidding when it came to praying for Prince George to be gay. No child should have the pressure of changing an entire community's views on their shoulders, and a person's sexuality should be an entirely private affair. Maybe next time, we can keep campaigning for equality separate from our hopes for a young kid.