Everybody thought the Church of England general synod was going to vote for women bishops. But they voted against it. I am not surprised. Don’t we already know that religionists are against women’s equality?
But anyway, what is so revolutionary about women bishops!
The truth is I am not very excited about women becoming priests or bishops, imams or monks. I do not think women should believe in anti-women religions.
I have recently learned about ordination of women.
In 1917 the Church of England licensed women as lay readers called Bishop’s Messengers, many of whom ran churches, but did not go as far as to ordain them. Within Anglicanism the majority of provinces ordain women as deacons and priests.
The first three women priests ordained in the Anglican Communion were in the Anglican Diocese of Hong Kong and Macao: Li Tim-Oi in 1944 and Jane Hwang and Joyce Bennett in 1971.
A number of Anglican provinces also ordain women as bishops. The Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican churches of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia, Australia, Canada and the Church of Southern Africa. Cuba, one of the extra-provincial Anglican churches, has done so as well.
The Church of Ireland has permitted the ordination of women as bishops since 1990 but none have yet occurred. The Scottish Episcopal Church also permits the ordination of women as bishops since 2003, but none have yet been consecrated.
In England the issue of women being ordained as bishops is contentious and under discussion. The issue was voted down in 2012 by the Church of England.
What did women bishops do so far? Did they rewrite the bible? Did they delete the anti-women parts from the bible? Did they ever criticize Christianity for being cruel to women? No. They didn’t. They are not less misogynists than male bishops. They just worship a misogynist and arrogant god like all other ignorant worshipers. The beliefs of male and female bishops are scientifically inaccurate, insane and often inhumane. The only difference I find between male and female bishops is that female bishops are masochists.
A friend of mine told me, ‘breaking that glass ceiling is considered a big deal – baby steps, perhaps! Who knows, one day female bishops might rewrite the bible!’ When you sincerely believe every word of the bible, you become a bishop and claim apostolic succession! As a bishop you can do anything you like, you can even fuck a child but I do not think you will ever rewrite the bible!
Come on, folks!
Gregory in Seattle says
The Wikipedia has a good article on the ordination of women in the Anglican Communion, for anyone who is interested.
Ms. Nasreen, you seem to think that a small handful of women can overcome inertia and quickly turn a hulking institution on their own. For all the women that the Episcopal Church (the US province of the Anglican Communion) has ordained over the last 40 years, its clergy and lay leadership remains overwhelmingly male. The ordination of women and gay people remains very contentious among many in the church and most reformers work hard to heal the rifts rather than deepen the schisms. Even though the Episcopal Church has a woman and a reformer as Presiding Bishop — basically the archbishop, although they don’t use that title — she is bound by the canons to seek collegiality among the factions. If she agitates too hard, too fast, she will be replaced.
Then there is the fact that the kind of women who would agitate for meaningful change are not the kind to study theology for years and work their way up through the hierarchy to positions of power in a large denomination. That kind of patience only comes with a belief in and dedication to the church, qualities which are not compatible with paradigm change.
As for rewriting the Bible, it’s been done. I refer you to The Women’s Bible, written by a committee of women led by the American women’s rights leader, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. It was published in two parts, in 1895 and 1898, and was a response to the Church of England’s publication of the Revised Version, which was meant to replace the King James Version in CoE services. The Women’s Bible stirred up quite a hornets’ nest when it came out; I think you would like it.
Taslima Nasreen says
Thank you so much, Gregory. Yes, I like ‘The women’s bible.’
Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says
The whole thing is hilarious, in my opinion anyway. Either way they voted they were going to lose.
Voting against women bishops loses them support in the more liberal part of the world, but voting for female bishops would alienate the part of the Anglican communion in more conservative countries. Amusingly the part with the numbers is the more conservative arm in the developing world, and the threat to schism has been there for a while (along with the RCC helpfully saying that it will accept disaffected Anglican priests since the ordination of women vote).
Hopefully this is the first step to disestablishing the church. I have popcorn ready.
Given our unprecedented ability to watch the sausage being made, I’d say there’s an even more fundamental lose-lose proposition for them.
Either they can carry on being so misogynistic they repel people – or they basically admit their deity is so fictional they can simply vote to remake its instructions for ordering their religion, and still repel people.
I’d say Williams wasn’t wrong about not having “credibility”.
There are a few religions which believe that their “religious authority” *really* comes from voting. I’m not sure what consequences this has for supernaturalist belief, but I’ve come to realize from studying the history of religions that the core part of religion is the ritual practice, and the “beliefs” are primarily a parasitic addition — it doesn’t seem to harm the religion to have no beliefs and it often seems to help the religion’s members.
My idea of a good religion is now one with no beliefs at all, but with a lot of pomp and circumstance and fancy holiday celebrations.
Rewriting the bible? If you mean new translations, which can change the meaning and message of the result significantly through the interpretation of nuances in the original plus conscious language choices in the target language, that’s actually being done fairly frequently, and there are translations into a number of languages that emphasise social justice, inclusivity and female participation.
Also, for example the German protestant church (or really a federation of a number of them, with a membership of about 25% of the population) has had female priests since 1958, female bishops since 1992, and a female bishop at its head from 2009 to 2010. (Also, they’re ok with homosexual priests and bless gay civil unions.) Then again, this church is one of the few that occasionally adapt their rules and re-interpret beliefs in order to account for reality and people’s actual lives… and they’re getting criticism for that for lots of conservatives who call them soft and unprincipled.
Black Antelope says
Not to defend to CoE, but they didn’t exactly vote against it. It passed easily in the House of Bishops and the House of Clergy, and only failed because it was a few votes off 2/3 majority in the House of Laity. Which suggests either the general communion is just much worse than the clergy, or (more likely) the house is relatively old, so doesn’t share the view of the recent generations of members.
You might not have been surprised (and I will admit to having been rather cynical about the whole thing) but it certainly caught the Bishops by surprise.
I had the misfortune to be persecuted in an educational establsihment by an Anglican nun. It was nothing compared to what some younger kids have endured at the hands of nuns. But I have nightmares about her to this day.
This woman later became chairman of a society devoted to keeping women Anglican priests out of Wales. While very odd, she did not present as masochistic but narcissistic and cold. She was flirtatiously submissive in the presence of male priests who seemed to find it embarrassing. I believe she was suffering from maternal deprivation as she had lost her mother as a baby. Perhaps that is why she did not care for other women.
Curiously, she had been a Baptist minister before converting to Anglicanism.Rowan Williams referred to the irony of this at her funeral. Who can ever fathom the psyches of female misogynists? Just avoid them!