Look at it this way - November 23, 2012

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She’s not the Bishop - she’s a very naughty girl!

She’s not the Bishop - she’s a very naughty girl!

Spare a thought for female vicars slaving away over hot baptismal fonts and Sunday sermons.

There have been female priests in the Church of England for 18 years – but the ultimate boys’ club has yet to come of age.

For some of those women the path has been rockier than the road to Damascus but it’s right and relevant they are there.

They are deemed fit enough by the liturgical drones of the day for the hatches, matches and dispatches that drag the disaffected back into church but perish the thought they should aspire to a purple frock. Sorry, surplice. For some deem them surplus to requirements.

As an atheist I’m not enthralled by nine hour debates in the Synod. I worry far more about the Sinai, the new battleground in Israeli-Palestinian turmoil in the definitive bible lands.

Yet as a Monty Python fan I turned on the news to find myself watching what looked like the Life of Brian. Bishops and clergy, overwhelmingly in favour of female bishops, versus laity.

That’s the lot who purport to represent the rest of us - their moral compass set to Planet Zarg.

It looked like a clash between Python’s Judean Popular Front and the People’s Front of Judea.

It’s not that they didn’t want women bishops. They just support those who would rather fly in male bishops to fuddy duddy parishes happy to let women arrange the flowers but precious little else.

Don’t blame us, they say. Blame the Bible. This is not an ecumenical matter. It’s down to St Paul. They can cherry pick celibacy and Sunday working and sport out of the deal but a woman’s place – according to the misogynist’s first letter to Timothy – is to be silent and submissive.

For those rusty on bible studies the rest goes: “I do not allow a woman to teach or have authority over a man but to keep quiet.” (Silence please in CoE staffrooms.)

Paul goes on: “For Adam was created first and then Eve and Adam was not deceived but the woman was deceived and transgressed.

“She shall be saved through childbearing, if they (sic) continue in faith, love and holiness, with modesty.”

If that’s the kind of church they want is it any wonder so few of us want to be part of it? Anyone who claims to be Christian should be fighting to ease poverty of spirit on our streets today and campaigning for world peace.

I’d contend any church needs reality lessons but roll on the new reformation. Remember a woman heads the church founded by a king’s desire for marriage annulment five centuries ago.

It’s a shame we can’t bring the laity to account via an employment tribunal.

As for God? If a deity exists I’m sure She’s very cross about it...