Tuesday, 8 January 2013

As the actress said to the bishop. Or not.

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.


  1. I am so angry with the Church of England for messing up so badly on women bishops. It's too ridiculous for words. It's all borne out of fear of change, fear of women, fear of relinquishing power. But people pretend it's something else.

    I've long cut my umbilical to the C of E and I don't miss it one bit. Not one bit.

    1. And I think if it weren't for the question of a christening I think I would do the same. But I sort of feel I want to do something for M (even 19 and a bit months after his birth!), and I don't know what else...

  2. I couldn't agree more. I don't have a deep connection with the C of E, but it was always there - as the establishment - when I was growing up. What kind of a messed up message does this send out?

    1. I know.

      My mum pointed out that it's the nutters in the laity and not the clergy that mean we end up with this nonsense, which is probably right, but they're still in charge, aren't they?

  3. Very good point! (That's all I have to say!)

  4. I'm not sure what changed since the census. The CofE has always had the same position: don't ask/don't tell for homosexual males and women are subordinate. Not sure where that leaves lesbians... Either way I'm not sure what has changed to make you consider your faith/ties to the church. All the church has done is confirm its long held position..

    But then you know where I stand on religion ;-))

    1. Indeed.

      I suspect that it's probably that pre all this recent nonsense, I could believe in the possibility of change, and now I can't.

      Either that, or I'm just an illogical woman who shouldn't be trusted with anything important.


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