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Former UK Lib Dem leader Tim Farron expresses regret for saying gay sex isn't a sin

(Reuters/Darren Staples/File Photo)Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron speaks during their General Election campaign launch in Manchester, Britain April 21, 2017.

Tim Farron, the former leader of U.K.'s Liberal Democratic Party, has said that he regrets saying homosexual sex is not sinful during interviews running up to the 2017 general election.

During the campaign, Farron had been repeatedly put under pressure to clarify his stance on sexuality. The Christian politician initially declined to state his position, but he relented during an interview with the BBC in April, saying, "I don't believe that gay sex is a sin."

In a recent interview with Premier Radio, Farron expressed frustration that his views on sexuality had drawn attention away from the his party's campaign.

"All they wanted to do is talk about my Christian beliefs and what they actually meant," Farron said. "Foolishly and wrongly, [I] attempted to push it away by giving an answer that, frankly, was not right," he added.

He said that part of the difficulties that he encountered during the controversy was that Christians have a different understanding of sin compared to non-Christians. He explained that Christians view sin as "falling short of the glory of God," but for non-Christians, "it's to be accused of something, it's to be condemnatory."

The politician said that he could have tried to explain the Bible's teaching on sex and sexuality, but it would be "naive" to think that the people behind the questions were "interested in the theology."

Farron said that he felt "isolated" during the controversy, but he acknowledged the support of people praying for him.

"I know that others were praying for me but there is a sense in which I was isolated. I had a wonderful team around me at HQ but with one exception, there were no Christians; it was not their fault they didn't understand the issue," he said.

During the interview with Premier, Farron commended Christians in the Parliament for creating "great friendships and great fellowship across political parties."

Farron had voiced his "passionate concern about LGBT+ rights" in the past, and he has pointed out that he had campaigned on the issue for 31 years since he joined the Liberal Democrats. He stressed that believing in the people's right to make their own choices was essentially liberal.

Less than two months after the BBC interview, Farron resigned as the leader of the Liberal Democrats, saying he felt "torn" between his faith and his job.

He said that he did not believe that there was a "wicked agenda" to marginalize or ridicule Christians, but he cautioned that there was a risk that society is becoming "tolerant of everything apart from the the things we don't like."

Farron, who now serves as the party's environment spokesman as well as MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, was succeeded by Sir Vince Cable, who had stressed that his colleague's views did not represent party policy.

In a speech last November, Farron contended that society considers Christians to be "dangerous" and "offensive."

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