Yesterday the General Synod of the Anglican Church voted against ordaining women as Bishops. In actual fact a large majority of the Synod voted FOR the motion, but a two thirds majority across all three of the Houses is required, and the House of Laity was 6 votes short to pass the motion.
I struggle to articulate my thoughts on this matter. I am a fervent atheist so you might question why I should care about an institution I regard as outmoded and full of fantasy. Well, discrimination in an arena angers me. I don’t want to play cricket either, but I want our female cricket team to get equal treatment to their male counterparts. I have not seen any coherent arguments against the notion of women as Bishops, and I can’t think of any argument that I would accept on the matter. I cannot understand how the Church can defend this decision.
I wanted to weep yesterday listening to Alison Ruoff on Radio 4 as she tried to defend the notion that women should be subservient to the authority of men: “it’s that way in the home too” she said. Not in my home it’s not. In fact many of the opponents to the motion were women, bought up with the indoctrination that their wants and needs come after those of men.
For too long in the eyes of the Church, and consequently in the rest of society (let’s not forget the CofE hasn’t always been the irrelevance it is now) women have been treated as less than equal, bearing the sins of Eve who is seen as the sole reason for the banishment from the Garden of Eden, conveniently forgetting Adam ate the apple too.
The Church spent a long few days praying to God to guide them and give them wisdom in their choices. Well, if this is the outcome God led them to then they can keep their God. And supporters of Anglican reform know this is how many people will feel and fear this will lead to the discrediting and demise of its position as a National Church. Women are not a minority group. We make up just over half the population. Businesses today know they have to offer benefits and career profession prospects to attract high calibre women to make up their workforce and make them more relevant today. The Church of England, essentially a business, working to protect its assets, its power, and its market share, has failed to modernise, held to ransom by anachronistic shareholders.
The members of the Church who were against the ordination of women as Bishops are today rejoicing, proclaiming that they have prevented a schism in the Church. Those members who threw their toys out the the pram and threatened to run off and join the Catholic Church may now stay. But who knows what amazing women, the future of the Church, will leave or stay away because of this decision.
I hope all those who remain in the Church that hold sensible and modern views voice their dissatisfaction at this decision. Anyone who continues to blithely worship within a such an institutionally misogynistic organisation without fighting for the equality of women is themselves participating in and propagating the notion that women are inferior. And that notion filters down, so that consequently all those women who are the backbone of the Church without pretensions to ordination are by association inferior. The Church of England is an anachronism and and irrelevance and it needs to reform if it is to survive in this increasingly secular country.