I did something increasingly unusual last year.
On the census form, on the religion bit, I put: C of E.
I don't go regularly any more (distinct lack of child friendly churches round here), and you'd probably never know that I ever went at all if I didn't tell you. But despite that my membership of the Church of England, is, and always has been, a part of who I am. Three of my four children were baptised into the church and the fourth has his official dunking booked for later this year.
But following the news about gay bishops, I'm thinking of cancelling the Christening; and if the census were tomorrow, I'm not sure what I'd put.
It's not that I care who my bishop sleeps with. (To be fair,it's not that I know who my bishop is, living in Scotland as I do.) Nor is it that the whole thing is a nonsense - it's apparently ok to be gay, and do gay stuff like fall in love, move in together and have a civil partnership, as long as you don't do other gay stuff; like, for example, sleep with other men. (Really? Is there really anyone who thinks that makes sense?) Nor is it that it almost explicitly invites senior clergy into each other's bedrooms. (Will they also be asking the straight ones if they prefer it missionary or doggy style?).
It's not actually about the gay men at all, whether bishops or otherwise.
What's bothering me is the thought of what this says about the whole institution's unspoken attitude towards women in general, and women bishops in particular.
Because underneath it all, doesn't that attitiude boil down to this:
Being gay is wrong. Being a gay bishop is ok.
Being a woman bishop is not ok.
Or, in other words: while it's sometimes ok to be gay, it's never ok to be a woman.
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