November 21, 2012
In voting to bar women from becoming bishops, the
Church of England has duly attracted opprobrium and ridicule as a fusty, intellectually
costive and increasingly marginal institution, stubbornly resistant to the egalitarian
principle of gender equality long since embraced in just about every secular
form of human enterprise.
As my Jewish friends would say, “So, what else is
Prime Minister David Cameron professed to be
aghast. “The church needs to get on with
it, and get with the programme,” he exhorted the remnants of the Anglican
Rowan Williams, the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury agreed,
admitting that the church had “a lot of explaining to do”.
What exactly is this ‘programme’? And what explaining is required, and to whom
must it be addressed?
Beats me. The
programme to which Cameron refers is presumably not the one in which virtually
everyone in Britain
has abandoned the church as an irrelevance.
Perhaps he’s referring to the programme that espouses the legal
principle of equal opportunity in the jobs market though, as well he knows, religious
groups are exempt from the legislation.
As for Dr. Williams’s urge to explain something, I can
only presume that he means an explanation in the form of an apology to the
church’s female ministers who until the latest blow to their ambitions had been
hoping to hear a resounding crash as the glass ceiling shattered.
As a strident non-believer, I’m not entitled to an
opinion on the matter. But for what it’s
worth, the policy adopted by the church’s General Synod strikes me as rationally
unsupportable. But then so does just
about everything the church wishes me to believe.
In other words, I can’t work myself into a lather of
indignation about a failure to acknowledge gender equality in an organization
that still asks me to believe in resurrection, transubstantiation, miracles or
any of the other preposterous fairy tales it has been propagating for a couple
of centuries and a few thousand victims.
All I can say is, “Thank God I’m an atheist”.