Labour MP Wes Streeting has shared his personal journey of reconciling his sexuality with his Christian faith.
In an interview with Premier Christianity, the 40-year-old expressed feeling at ease with his identity and beliefs after experiencing an internal struggle when he discovered he was gay.
Speaking to Premier's Emma Fowle, he reveals how he successfully reconciled these two essential aspects of his life: "Well, I thought: Fundamentally, I'm a Christian. I believe in God, and I subscribe to the fundamental tenets of our faith. So just because I've got a difficulty in one area, it doesn't mean I'm going to junk the rest.
"I've got to a place now where I can finally reconcile my identity with my theology. I have some sympathy with the view that says: "You can't pick and mix which bits you follow and which bits you don't." You can't say: "I think eight out of the ten commandments are terrific, but these two I'm not down with." That's not how this works. But we're made in God's image. I think God created gay people, that we are accepted and our relationships are valid and important."
For Streeting, some of the conservative elements of the church are "inconsistent" when dealing with LGBT+ issues. He believes that when they focus on specific Bible passages to oppose same-sex relationships, they may be overlooking other teachings.
"They get very hung up on the bits of Leviticus where homosexuality is ruled as sinful or an abomination, but they do quite a bit of pick and mix around food laws, clothing and other examples," he continued.
"Jesus was a radical figure, enraged by the injustices of what he saw around him. He sought to disrupt the status quo and change things for the better. What would he make of all of these culture wars today? What would he make of the people who go to Pride marches and heckle? Regardless of whether or not he would say: "I'm down with gay people and gay marriage", he'd definitely be saying: "Well, even if you hold those beliefs to be true [that same-sex relationships are sinful], shouting and abusing people is not the way to bring them into your Church. And it's not your place to judge."
In his memoir titled 'One Boy, Two Bills and a Fry Up', the shadow health secretary shared he developed his faith during his time at a Church of England primary school. But while at university he found he often didn't know what to reply when asked about his faith and sexuality.
However, he is now back to church and feels "very comfortable" with his identity and Christianity.
"I always describe myself as a practising Christian, but not very good at it. I don't go to church nearly as much as I should. It's partly the sort of life I lead but that's really no excuse.
"Readers of this publication are going to have zero sympathy with that! Like: What on earth? Get up on a Sunday morning and get yourself down there! I don't want to be the person who only turns out for Midnight Mass, Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday which, now I think about it, is the last three times I've been to church! But I feel very comfortable with my identity and my faith. I have a relationship with God again that makes me happy."
You can read the interview in full, in the latest edition of Premier Christianity magazine here.