Wull, if the bishops can, we can

Get ready to catch your jaw when it drops. It’s about Bristol University’s Christian Union.

A university’s Christian society has banned women from speaking at events and teaching at meetings, unless they are accompanied by their husband, it has been revealed.

Oh come on. That’s a joke or a poe or a trick. Isn’t it?

The Huffington Post UK has seen the email sent out by president Matt Oliver to all BUCU members which said: “It is ok for women to teach in any CU setting… However we understand that this is a difficult issue for some and so decided that women would not teach on their own at our weekly CU meetings, as the main speaker on our Bristol CU weekend away, or as our main speaker for mission weeks.

“But a husband and wife can teach together in these.”

So, not a joke.

But…what? It’s a difficult issue for some? What is? Women teaching and speaking?

And because it is, for some, the thing to do is forbid it?

Uh huh. What next, BUCU? Other races? Foreigners?

Oliver’s email announced the departure of the international secretary James Howlett, who, according to Oliver, felt he “cannot support the decision on women teaching”.

“After a lot of time exploring this issue, seeking God’s wisdom on it and discussing it together as a committee, we made a decision about women teaching in a CU setting,” Oliver continues. “We all hold individual convictions on secondary issues such a women speakers, which are often reflected in the churches we choose to attend.

“It is good and right that we hold strong beliefs on the Bible’s teaching about secondary issues but they are not what we centre around as a CU and therefore are not always reflected in the CU’s practice.”

Hey, fuck you, dude – women are not secondary. Nobody is secondary. You don’t get to exclude people from the important work and call that “secondary.” You don’t get to treat people as inferior and subordinate and Not Allowed, and then treat your doing that as “secondary.”

The Christian Union’s announcement follows the controversial vote by the majority of Church of England worshippers not to allow women bishops, despite many church leaders voting in favour of the move.

Oliver told The Huffington Post UK the society had now released a statement saying: “Bristol University Christian Union has no formal position on the role of men and women in the church. We respect those of our members who hold strong Biblical convictions in this area and seek to find the most practical way of expressing this inclusivity.”

This what??! 

“Inclusivity” – right, they’re being “inclusive” of those of their members who hold strong Biblical convictions that women are inferior and subordinate and have to stfu unless they’re in the custody of a man. They are not, however, being “inclusive” of half the population.

How’s your jaw doing?


  1. sambarge says

    This is why I’m an atheist – because I’m a feminist and misogyny is bad enough without having it sanctioned by a Perfect BeingTM.

  2. BradC says

    Obviously this is bullshit, but just in case any of the readers aren’t aware, it is not entirely made-up bullshit, it originates from a verse in the New Testament:

    A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.

    1 Timothy 2:11-12

    So if you believe the Bible is inerrant and inspired, what else do you do with this verse? Besides ditch the theology of inerrancy, that is.

  3. says

    Oh I don’t think any readers are unaware of the bible verses. Most probably know that Timothy is considered apocryphal, but that’s not the only verse of its kind.

    Most people who believe the bible is inerrant and inspired don’t obey every word of it though. (Although some try. Vyckie told us that the people she knew took seriously the biblical endorsements of polygamy.)

  4. lorn says

    … “we understand that this is a difficult issue for some” …

    But we also understand that there are support groups, counselors, mental health professionals, and a wide variety of psychotheraputic drugs available to ease people’s progress through any such difficulties and toward a deeper, and more complete, appreciation of humanity.

  5. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    We all know that this ban would not have happened if the atheists and secular humanists would just respect their beliefs.

  6. iknklast says

    “Most people who believe the bible is inerrant and inspired don’t obey every word of it though”

    That’s partially because it’s impossible. There are so many contradictory teachings that following all of them would have you doing two mututally exclusive things at the same time.

    Not to mention, some of the things are illegal, like stoning your disobedient child, so they have to bow to the law. Now if we just made it illegal to be a misogynistic asshole – or at least illegal to act on it.

  7. Martha says

    Thanks, hyperdeath, I needed that laugh after reading this post. Surely the University has regulations against this sort of obvious discrimination?!

  8. peterh says

    @ #7:

    It is indeed “made up bullshit;” I Tim. and II Tim. are both forgeries as are I Peter, II Peter and the remaining “pastoral epistles.”

  9. Sajanas says

    I just watched the movie Agora, and they basically had this entire situation, right in there. A bishop denounces the woman philosopher Hypatia and her friend tries to stick up for her, saying that the bishop was manipulating the word of god, and a second bishop just says “he [the first bishop] read the words, as they were written.”

    It just goes to show that all this talk about understanding the Bible as metaphor is complete bullshit. Unless they physically rip out the offensive parts of the Bible, people will bring them out and use them, and the other religious people will be too spineless to oppose it.

  10. says

    I hung out in fundagelical circles during my teen and college years (approx: the 1970s), and while the official leadership was all male, I don’t recall anything against women addressing a meeting, and it frequently occurred. Apparently, the BUCU constituency includes some seriously reactionary kinds of Christians.

  11. sailor1031 says

    Paul, the founder of xtianity (I know, you thought it was yeshue bar yussef didn’t you?), had no problem with women preaching and being apostles. The misogyny came later in writings that are generally agreed to be pseudepigraphic – a fancy way of saying “forgeries”.

  12. markdowd says

    Your warning is misleading and dangerous.

    By preparing to stop my jaw from dropping, my hands were not in a position to stop my teeth from being gnashed and ground to dust.

    Please correct this error so that others do not suffer as I have,

  13. Hamilton Jacobi says

    This declaration of “inclusivity” makes sense if your mind is configured to view The Stepford Wives not as a scary story but rather as a documentary with penetrating insights into the true nature of all women. That is, women aren’t really people, they’re just automatons with no real thoughts or feelings. You wouldn’t think of making your club “inclusive” of vacuum cleaners or washing machines, so why should it be “inclusive” of women either?

    This mindset also perfectly explains the Catholic perspective on women’s health care. When your BabyBot 2000 begins to malfunction, you must of course do all you can to rescue the precious fetus inside, but the appliance itself can be thrown on the trash heap once that is done.

  14. latsot says


    it is not entirely made-up bullshit, it originates from a verse in the New Testament

    An obvious point, but I’m struggling to think of anything more made up than that.

  15. reinderdijkhuis says

    OK… if I read the Guardian article correctly and join the dots… there’s a delicious irony here. With this rule, they’ve actually made a baby step forwards from their previous policy in which women couldn’t teach at the Christian Union at all, but in doing so, they’ve drawn attention to themselves.

    Not that I believe this is a bad thing. They should lose all accreditation and funding they have based on either their old or their new policy, just to remind them that this is the 21st Century.

  16. Kate says

    Dealing with this group would be very simple. Withdraw any funding and facilities that are provided via the University and/or the Students’ Union and let them pay all of their expenses from their own pockets.

  17. says

    Ophelia: “What next, BUCU? Other races? Foreigners?”

    The women who can speak, when accompanied by their husbands – what about in the case of ‘mixed’ marriages ? – I’d bet that makes the real fundie’s pretty queasy too.

    I’m in the bristol uni AASS (In fact I was the one who called the alert on this – and ain’t gotten no h/t’s yet!)

    The last time I was in a church, to be in my sisters am-dram group for one play, the Bible on the dais was actually open at the sanctions against mixed marriage pages.

  18. twist says

    This is a university club, so I’m guessing a mainly student membership. I wonder what these clowns do if/when they have a female lecturer? Not go to that class? Stick their fingers in their ears?

    I thought the Jebus club at my uni were bad, all they did was throw a tantrum about the atheist society.

  19. evilDoug says

    BUCU has certainly crafted a policy that is all shit-shaped and Bristol fashion.
    I’m sure the women on the faculty at BU are very relieved that BUCU has granted them permission to go about their duties, reprehensible though they may be.

    Oliver, this sort of crap is why I have no respect for religion, and why I have no respect for the likes of you.

    I have to wonder what will happen next. Will the Students’ Union issue a proclamation that the policy is just fine, because it makes the BUCU a safe place for the fragile and delicate menz, or will they declare that it makes the BUCU an unsafe place for women?

    I also wonder how many of the women who belong to BUCU actually are wives (note I didn’t say “have husbands”, since that would be of the wrong tone). My experience suggests very very few undergrads are married, and the numbers are still pretty small among grad students.

  20. maggs says

    I guess it’s all down to modern PC which has lost sight of everything in its effort to bend over backwards and get its head up its….. We no longer have the academic brain in modern universities, it’s highly likely that we’ve managed to wipe out the academic brain altogether in the current university entrant age group. Thinking seems to be thought to be a bit old fashioned and altogether leads one into non PC fields and dangerous ground so we open our mouths and let our tummies rumble.

    No women in top management in the church of england and no wives ministering. Hell’s teeth what is the world coming to! Please don’t answer that question.

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