Earlier this week, the Anglican Synod voted against women being ordained as Bishops. The result cause dismay and disbelief amongst fellow clergy, some of whom are women, and worshipers as the traditional and orthodox views were carried out.
There was one question in particular that struck me. Why is the Church of England not subject to the same employment equality laws as every other organisation in the country?
After much research and questioning, I finally came across the answer. When equality in the workplace laws were being passed, the Church was provided with exemption by Parliament. Is the Church above the law of the land? Clearly it can do as it pleases.
Justifications for voting against women bishops were as simple as tradition. A spokesperson for the Synod’s decision even described that there needs to be provision for those who believe that leaders in churches should only be men, i.e. provision for sexist values. Isn’t this similar to someone asking for provision to be made for their racist beliefs?
Yes, the bible does clearly say in verses under Timothy that men should be leaders in the church and family and also there is a letter from St Paul to vicarage suggesting women should be silent in Church. However, St Paul was just asking for women who had been given access to Church not to shout out questions in the middle or a service but to go back and ask their husbands or the priests afterwards. Of course society was very different in the days when the bible was written and men were leaders of churches and families. In today’s world, some families are without men who may have died, run off, divorced etc…. and most church goers are women. It is impossible for all the messages that were relevant to a society 1500 years ago to be relevant today.
One final hypocracy in this whole debacle, is that the head of the Church of England is clearly a woman i.e Her Majesty The Queen. Furthermore, in the past 200 years there have been 3 female monarchs as leaders of the church and also the family.
Parliament, hold this Synod to account. It is just an old boys network.