Today is a dark day for Britain. It’s like going back 30 years to witness the interminable debates of having women priests. At that time the fear rom the male priests of having women ministerng on behalf of their God was almost tangible. But gradually, the early ‘90s saw a new era of common sense and women were allowed to be ordained as the Church became even more irrelevant to the public it thought it was serving!
It has been 20 years since that historic moment and not a single woman has been allowed to rise above priest level automatically like the men. The cement ceiling of stunted careers was put in place firmly above their heads in a country that brook no discrimination against women in any other part of its establishments. But the Church, with its hot line to God, was allowed to discriminate in His name. Yet still the women got on with it, accepted their lowly status, willingly, without seeing the irony that though the Queen is head of the Church of England, women were not deemed acceptable to be its bishops too!
They perhaps thought that if they put forward their arguments for inclusion, one granted to every other woman in the land by legislation, and waited patiently, their moment would come. Twenty years have passed, including 12 years of campaigning and debate, and the moment has come for the Church to end the blatant sexism of its members and have an establishment more in tune with reality, a democracy and good sense. What does it do? Vote to entrench that sexism even more. The General Synod, with its three layers of voting, allowed a vocal minority among the Laity to vote it down.
The motion was lost by just six votes, though the Bishops voted almost unanimously to admit women to their ranks. Apparently, the main reason for the decision is that insecure men priests do not like the idea of being taught their art by women bishops. There is still a huge fear of women in our society by men who can make a difference. Yet, with women having being priests for over 20 years, and fully accepted by their communities, making them bishops should have been a shoe in. At least 90% should have voted for their inclusion, instead of 72% - 2% short of what’s required - in the 21st century
The Church has been gradually losing its credibility and audience in a slow steady haemorrhage for the past 50 years, with barely 30% of our population have anything to do with it. Last night, as one writer said, it committed suicide, because now MPs are talking about taking away some of its privileges as the established national Church and treating it as a sect. After all, it is now representing so few people and is still openly discriminating against women, that can't be right.
And so, with that selfish, delusional and shortsighted decision, the Church marches on like a sexist dinosaur, pompous and proud in its irrelevance to its own public, as fewer than 30% of Britain have anything to do with its religion or activities. A golden moment to reconnect with reality has been lost, especially when the Anglican Church across the world already has women bishops who were looking to England HQ to set the example.
Where does the Church of England go from here, when it is rapidly losing all credibility and sense of reality?
I would never have thought that the English Church had anything in common with the kamikaze Republicans in America, who spent their election campaign trying to denigrate, exclude and control women and paid handsomely for it. But it just shows how wrong one can be at times!