Jeffrey John est le doyen de St Albans, une importante paroisse anglicane près de Londres. Il est ouvertement gay et avait renoncé à devenir évêque en 2003 face au tollé que cela avait provoqué.
Dans le sermon qu'il a donné le 26 décembre en la fête de St Etienne, diacre et martyr, il dénonce la "tranquilité" dans laquelle s'installent souvent les chrétiens.
Voici un extrait de ce sermon, dans lequel il témoigne du cas d'un garçon effeminé qu'il a connu personnellement et qui était persécuté par ses camarades :
"Ninety per cent of clergy and churchgoers are introverts. We prefer a quiet life; we don't like sticking our necks out. But at some time or other God needs us to speak. It might be to explain our faith. It might be to challenge an injustice at work. It might be to defend someone who can't speak for themselves. There are all kinds of situations where witness is required. And with nearly all of us, our sin isn't speaking too soon, it's not speaking at all, because we are scared. But as Jesus said, there is a worse thing to fear than fear. Fear letting him down. Fear losing your soul.
I have a memory from my schooldays that still haunts me. One year we had a boy in our class - I'll call him David. He was a pathetic kid, weedy and rather effeminate. And his life was hell. Children can be incredibly cruel to anyone who's different, and David was a brilliant target. He was beaten up, he got his lunch thrown away, he got called girl's names, nancy boy and poof and all the rest of it; and he always sat on his own. I can hardly think of the misery that kid must have gone through. Now I never beat him up, I never called him names; the fact it was happening used to churn my stomach. But I never said or did a thing to help him. Because of course I was terrified that if I did, they'd suspect me too, and I'd get the same
And of course that's how it works, in so many bad situations in the world - and yes, in the Church too. We know what's happening is wrong, but we keep our heads down, and hope someone else will do the martyr bit and face down the bullies with the truth."