I really wasn’t going to comment on the Church of England vote to ordain female bishops but I guess I have a big mouth and anything involving the CofE always interests me, not least because I was brought up devoutly in the Anglican tradition but also because . . . get this folks . . . I was a Sunday school teacher at one time, until I became brave enough to let go. And even now, I have to take middlie to church on the fourth Sunday of every month, what with her being a bit holy and all. But also, as a Girl Guider, she has to attend church parade on the fourth Sunday of every month which I fiercely disagree with because I think that forcing Guiders to be Christian is just not on. And telling them they can’t be a Guider if they don’t attend church is discriminatory. Well, maybe it’s not a compulsory thing as such but they do place strong obligations on the girls. And I always thought these Scouting organisations were inclusive and non-prejudicial but who am I? Anyway, I will certainly have my say on the church and the She-bishops. Sigh . . . I expect there will be lots of weeping and gnashing of teeth . . .
Paul told his brothers and sisters-in-Christ that women must not speak inside a church but should kneel and pray in pious silence and listen to the men preach . . . that they must cover their heads in humble modesty at all times inside the church in case the sight of the exposed female hair causes the male brethren to have their senses stirred and agitated.
So I added a bit for effect but for sure Paul was sexist, no doubt about it. But he was just abiding by the culture and society of the time. It certainly doesn’t mean he’d be saying those things in today’s church. He wouldn’t dare if he was acquainted with some of those WI women.
If Paul’s teachings on women in the church is the argument used by the conservative Anglicans to oppose the ordination of female bishops, then it’s by logical reckoning that women can’t be vicars either because let’s face it, if they were forbidden to speak in church they wouldn’t make such a great priests if they had to deliver their Sunday sermons by PowerPoint. Actually, they do use gadgetry and technological stuff nowadays. I went to a baptism a wee while ago – one of those baptisms that are integrated into the service so that the baptisee’s and all their families are forced to sit and fidget through the whole communion service . . . and suffer embarrassing moments of standing and sitting at the wrong times and mouthing the wrong words to the hymns. All just because the vicar takes great pleasure in getting these one-off church-goers to sit through a full service, knowing full well they’ll be squirming throughout and would much rather have a quick drive-in baptism before a long sesh in the pub – the after-party being the best part of the occasion if I’m they’re to be truly honest. So anyway, the baptism I attended (which had a female vicar by the way who was very funny and nice), they had a laptop set up at the front with an Internet connection . . . and a white board thingy displaying their brand new church website. They had a grand opening and a dedication and everything. Yes folks, they even blessed the website.
Anyway, back to the CofE gender debate (I warned you there’d be much digressing) – the church voted for women vicars back in the 1990’s. And praise the gods for that! If they’d lost the vote, we might never hath been blest’ by the wonderfully blessed and endearing, chocolate-chomping Vicar of Dibley. But aye, the women had the ayes. And from thereonin, since that historic win for the women, those crusty old neo-literalists have worked alongside the she-vicars without having, thus far felt an overwhelming compulsion to jump ship and swim over to the other-dark-side. The other-dark-side is, incidentally, reported to be very concerned about this she-win and if you want my intellectual opinion, they can take their concern and stick it up their obscene opulence – along with their bigotry and their intolerance. Anyway. I can only conclude that the old crusties, despite their claims to the contrary, are totally chauvinistic because is it, perchance, that they can just-about-tolerate women vicars because women vicars are not the boss of anybody? But female *bishops*!! Now they would be the boss of many. They would be the boss of the objectionists. And that would be intolerable.
The crusties also imply that because Jesus chose twelve men to assist his ministry, that is somehow clear-cut evidence that he only wanted men to lead his future church. They say . . . there’s no biblical precedent for women bishops because Jesus chose male apostles. Well, there’s no biblical precedent for female vicars either but hey ho, nothing ever stopped these people from spinning the scriptures before to get their own way. It’s funny how the explainers of the scriptures are selective about their literalism.
Somebody needs to tell those conservative crusties that we’ve moved on, that there are employment equality laws in this country and if the Church of England want to be an employer, then it should not expect to be exempt from the law of the land. No religion should be.