Yesterday’s rejection of women bishops by the Church of England led to deep disappointment and embarrassment in the liberalising wing of the church. Those outside the church will be asking some important questions.
- How can the Church of England continue to claim its privileged position in British civil society and its exemption from equality law?
- How can anyone justify allowing 26 male bishops to sit in the House of Lords?
- How soon can we disestablish the Church?
I was on BBC Radio Suffolk this morning at about 9.30am, commenting in Mark Murphy’s Big Conversation slot. Another guest was the Bishop of St Edmundsbury, the Rt Rev Nigel Stock, who mentioned that it was good to hear a humanist sympathise with women clergy. I am sympathetic, as I’ve worked with some and liked them, but I don’t understand why any women would want to be part of such a patriarchal institution. To hear the programme on iPlayer, go to the BBC Radio Suffolk website.
A women from the C of E’s laity opposed to women bishops was interviewed on TV news yesterday, saying that they must show “obedience” to the scriptures. Obedience is for dogs. Here’s what the Bible says about a woman’s place in the church:
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. (Corinthians 14:34-36)
When people start quoting the Bible as an authority for this sort of nonsense, I think of that great scene in the US TV series, the West Wing, where fictional president Bartlett puts a Christian fundamentalist in her place.