Time For Disestablishmentarians to Pounce


by Robert Sharp    
2:00 pm - November 21st 2012

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The Church of England will maintain its prohibition on women bishops. This news signals the moment is ripe for disestablishmentarians to pounce.

The careless, irresponsible, short-sighted, tone-deaf, out-of-touch, shoot-yourself-in-the-foot, desecration-of-duty, cut-your-nose-off-to-spite-your-face, living-in-the-dark-ages, missing-the-wood-for-the-trees decision to promote misogyny would never be accepted in any public organisation, commercial company, or lay-charity.

Now is the time for disestablishmentarians to remind everyone that the Church of England is part of the State. The case must be made that an institution that endorses and promotes this kind of misogyny cannot continue to be an official part of the British state.

This simple and persuasive argument should be presented to politicians and the public for renewed discussion. It should routinely be included in any talk of constitutional reform.

The Church of England does not appear to take tax-payers’ money, so formal disestablishment is revenue neutral. It would not entail the closure of any Churches. It would not hinder the practice of religion any more than it does for the many non-established Christian denominations or other faiths. But it would end state complicity in institutionalised sexism.

Update

Fellow LibCon conspirator John Band has a good post also on the General Synod vote, pointing out that the Church of England was founded by a woman and led by a woman (two Queen Elizabeths) and the male dominated clergy voted overwhelmingly for inclusion.

In other words, if the C of E wasn’t so keen to give regular churchgoers a say, female bishops would totally be a thing already, and the massive blow to both PR and moral authority of voting for discredited Pauline nonsense wouldn’t have happened.

Meanwhile, Disestablishmentarian petitions are now live.

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About the author
Robert Sharp designed the Liberal Conspiracy site. He is Head of Campaigns at English PEN, a blogger, and a founder of digital design company Fifty Nine Productions. For more of this sort of thing, visit Rob's eponymous blog or follow him on Twitter @robertsharp59. All posts here are written in a personal capacity, obviously.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Equality ,Feminism ,Religion ,Sex equality


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Reader comments


Can men become nuns? Nope, didn’t think so? And before anyone says “but they can become monks” I suggest you learn the difference.

Why stop at mere disestablishment?

A private corporation would never be allowed to get away with explicitly barring women from its higher offices. The Church of England is guilty of egregious discrimination and should be censured accordingly.

In fact, Christianity is itself a discriminatory religion, giving the favoured few access to heaven and damning the rest to hell. How is this reconcilable with the principles of a modern liberal state? Christians should be made to renounce such disgusting and medieval sentiments, or else face the possibility of Christianity being made illegal outright.

Or, alternatively, we could all mind our own business and leave them to mind theirs. I think it’s disgraceful that only men play for Liverpool or play in the world snooker championship. Something must be done – won’t somebody theeenk of the cheeeeldren etc etc.

4. Richard Carey

I agree that the church should be disestablished, but it must be remembered that the state under Henry VIII took over the church, not the other way round.

“But it would end state complicity in institutionalised sexism.”

Or, to turn it around, it would end church complicity in the many crimes of the state.

@ Vimothy,

“Christians should be made to renounce such disgusting and medieval sentiments, or else face the possibility of Christianity being made illegal outright.”

Oh the brave keyboard warrior. Bring it on.

5. Chaise Guevara

@ $ Richard

“I agree that the church should be disestablished, but it must be remembered that the state under Henry VIII took over the church, not the other way round.”

True. But here and now the church does enjoy special privileges not extended to other religions.

“Or, to turn it around, it would end church complicity in the many crimes of the state.”

I’m not convinced that the state is all that complicit in the actions of the church, and even less so that complicity works vice-versa. It would be a bit like blaming the Department of Education for the invasion of Iraq.

“Oh the brave keyboard warrior. Bring it on.”

I’m not certain, but I suspect Vimothy is taking the piss.

Talking of tone-deaf…

Christians should be made to renounce such disgusting and medieval sentiments, or else face the possibility of Christianity being made illegal outright.

I guess this sarcasm might work for people who can’t tell the difference between removing an anachronistic and unwarranted constitutional privilege on one hand, and feeding Christians to lions on the other.

Now is just the right time for the Catholic church to show how absolutely avant guarde and universal the church is by getting the College of Cardinals to vote a woman in as the next Pope. There is a precedent – Pope Joan:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Joan

Yes, I’m not a believer myself, but, like most people, I know and respect many who are and who get a lot from their religion – all well and good. However, they now have a real problem – how can they fundamentally support an organisation that is institutionally sexist?
The Church of England has turned itself into something akin to a weird ancient cult or old-boys club – sort of a mix between the Freemasons and a Golf Club.
Shame on them.
We analyse their decision further in the following piece: http://www.allthatsleft.co.uk/2012/11/has-the-church-of-england-turned-itself-into-a-glorified-golf-club/

In declining to permit women bishops, the General Synod of the Church of England has made its most positive decision in decades, possibly ever.

Christianity is the basis of this state and the foundation of all three of its political traditions. But independent research has found very large proportions of the women among the Church of England’s clergy to be doubters of or disbelievers in key points of doctrine. Two thirds deny “that Jesus Christ was born of a Virgin”. One quarter denies the existence “of God the Father Who created the world”. Assuming a woman on the episcopal “team” in each diocese, of those with privileged access to the media and other organs of national life as the voice of the Christianity professed by 72 per cent of Britons, at least one eighth would have been agnostics or atheists.

A positive decision to retain declared “Fathers in God” sets the tone for the introduction of a legal presumption of equal parenting. For the restoration of the tax allowance for fathers for so long as Child Benefit was being paid to mothers. For the restoration of the requirement that providers of fertility treatment take account of the child’s need for a father. For repeal of the ludicrous provision for two women to be listed as a child’s parents on a birth certificate, although even that is excelled by the provision for two men to be so listed. And for paternity leave to be made available at any time until the child was 18 or left school.

That last, in particular, would reassert paternal authority, and thus require paternal responsibility, at key points in childhood and adolescence. That authority and responsibility require an economic basis such as only the State can ever guarantee, and such as only the State can very often deliver: high-wage, high-skilled, high-status employment. All aspects of public policy must take account of this urgent social and cultural need. Not least, the energy sources to be preferred by the State are those providing that secure economic basis of paternal authority in the family and in the wider community. Nuclear power. Coal, not dole.

And it includes foreign policy, in no small part because those sent to war tend to come from working-class backgrounds, where starting to have children often still happens earlier than has lately become the norm. Think of those very young men whom we see going off or coming home, hugging and kissing their tiny children. Yet our society urgently needs to re-emphasise the importance of fatherhood. That authority cannot be affirmed while fathers are torn away from their children and harvested in wars. You can believe in fatherhood, or you can support wars under certainly most and possibly all circumstances, the latter especially in practice today even if not necessarily in the past or in principle. You cannot do both.

To argue for this by word and by sheer presence is a role for living icons of God the Father, addressed as “Fathers in God”.

10. Richard Carey

Chaise,

“But here and now the church does enjoy special privileges not extended to other religions.”

What? Sitting in the House of Lords? Yes, they get this without having first donated to either of the main parties, but I don’t see it’s much of a privilege.

As for other religions, you must accept that Christianity is entwined in this nation’s history in a way no other religion could claim, therefore it is not surprising that it crops up all over the place. Consider the influence of the King James Bible over the English language as an example.

Personally, I don’t know why the CofE is not demanding disestablishment itself. It may be something most atheists and most christians agree upon.

It’s sexist, but what if God is sexist?

I support disestablishment, but not for this reason. Non-believers like us have no right to tell Christians what to believe or how to run their churches, churches that predate any equalities legislation.

Also sexism and misogyny are not the same and to accuse the minority within the Church of England who have blocked this as “misogynist” is stupid and offensive (not unexpected alas, due to the Americoliberalism which is seeping into the left).

DtP @3:

“Or, alternatively, we could all mind our own business and leave them to mind theirs.”

This might even be funny (in poor light and with a following wind) were it not for the fact that the church has the privilege of having a number of its senior managers permanently ensconced in the legislature, who can – and do – pass/amend/block laws to which parts of the Untied Condom which ditched Establishment decades ago (or which never had it anyway) are subject.

13. The XYZ Line

The Judge @ 12:

“This might even be funny (in poor light and with a following wind) were it not for the fact that the church has the privilege of having a number of its senior managers permanently ensconced in the legislature, who can – and do – pass/amend/block laws to which parts of the Untied Condom which ditched Establishment decades ago (or which never had it anyway) are subject.”

The Lords Spiritual make up around 4% of the HOL, so talking of them as if they’re some sort of sinister theocrats making the country dance to their tune is a bit out. The only time the Bishops can make a difference to legislation is during an exceptionally close vote in the Lords, in which case it wouldn’t be them passing laws, it would be them + the Commons + c. 50% of the Peers Temporal.

Bob B @ 7:

Pope Joan was almost certainly fictional, and hence is a poor precedent to use.

@ The OP:

“In other words, if the C of E wasn’t so keen to give regular churchgoers a say, female bishops would totally be a thing already,”

Giving ordinary people a say?! Good heavens, we can’t have that!

Quick straw poll: how many of those going on about “misogyny” or “antiquated Pauline nonsense” or whatever actually understand the arguments against female Bishops?

David Lindsay is hilarious.

13

“Pope Joan was almost certainly fictional, and hence is a poor precedent to use.”

I not convinced about that. There is a lot on the web about Pope Joan and even a feature movie:

“A new film based on the legend of Pope Joan – an Englishwoman who purportedly disguised herself as a man and rose to become the only female pontiff in history – has sparked debate in the Roman Catholic Church.”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/vaticancityandholysee/7841690/Pope-Joan-film-sparks-Roman-Catholic-Church-row.html#

Besides that, there are also those many accounts of the amazing measures the College of Cardinals applied to ensure it couldn’t happen again. But why not? With Pope John Paul II, the Catholic church overcame its centuries of tradition of only electing Italians to the Papal throne so why not give a woman a chance at the Holy See? With all that downbeat stuff about paedophile priests, I’m sure it would be really good PR for the church and put the Catholics one up on the Anglicans.

Thanks for the comments, folks.

@ 3 DtP

Or, alternatively, we could all mind our own business and leave them to mind theirs.

That is exactly why Disestablishmentarianism means! At present, the rest of us are being dragged into their business.

Thanks also, David Lindsay @ 9. I agree that fathers are important and that policy should encourage an enable all men to embrace that role. However, I disagree that this is the same as Bishops as ‘Fathers’ of the Church and that a need for fathers in nuclear families translates as a need for a paternal figure at the head of a diocese. That’s Apples & Oranges argument, a semantic slip.

17. The XYZ Line

Robert @ 16:

“That is exactly why Disestablishmentarianism means! At present, the rest of us are being dragged into their business.”

How so? How does it affect you one way or the other whether or not the Church of England lets women be Bishops?

The Church in Wales is already disestablished, and it has not affect how it opporates in Wales.

19. Chaise Guevara

@ 10 Richard Carey

“What? Sitting in the House of Lords? Yes, they get this without having first donated to either of the main parties, but I don’t see it’s much of a privilege.”

That, and the ability to hold legally binding weddings (which changes my view on whether they should be allowed to reject gay couples), and generally popping up all over the place in ceremonies and so on. And also allowing annoying people to say “This is a CHRISTIAN country!” then demand special privileges, although I’m not sure that really counts.

“As for other religions, you must accept that Christianity is entwined in this nation’s history in a way no other religion could claim, therefore it is not surprising that it crops up all over the place.”

Well, of course. It’s not like we got together one day to pick a state religion and roll a dice.

I don’t like that the CoE gets special privileges in the system. Beyond that, its official status is just embarrassing, like the monarchy, so my position is that I’d prefer it wasn’t there, but I’m not gonna get too het up about it.

20. Robin Levett

@ XYZ #13:

Quick straw poll: how many of those going on about “misogyny” or “antiquated Pauline nonsense” or whatever actually understand the arguments against female Bishops?

Well, I believe I do; but how about trotting them out.

Do bear in mind that the CofE has these things called bishops, who one presumes to be the authorities on matters theological, so any argument based upon theology must get around the fact that the best-trained theologians overwhelmingingly don’t see a problem. And of course the Evangelical argument runs into a logical contradiction right there…

It always seems odd to me that our current female monarch is the head of the CoE but women can’t become bishops, I’m sure there’s some warped logic somewhere.

“It always seems odd to me that our current female monarch is the head of the CoE but women can’t become bishops, I’m sure there’s some warped logic somewhere.”

That observation could be construed as treasonable. In some unfathomable way, I suspect it relates to the requirement that the monarch can’t be a Catholic.

The XYZ Line @13:

The fact is that no sect (for, in technical terms, that’s all the CoE is) should have automatic representation in the legislature if we are to live in a secular system (and the ‘solution’ which – if I recall correctly – Tony Benn and others came up with years ago, namely simply allowing all sects to be so represented was just too bloody silly for words). It doesn’t matter if there are twenty six or just two of them.

24. Richard Carey

Chaise,

“That, and the ability to hold legally binding weddings (which changes my view on whether they should be allowed to reject gay couples)”

I love the way you turn a liberty (the freedom to hold weddings) into a state-enforced obligation (the demand that they hold weddings for gay couples, or not at all). Such a law would certainly speed up the disestablishment process, and will give me, as a libertarian, a great opportunity to explain to Christians how the state is the enemy and how resistance to tyrants is obedience to God. As I said to Vimothy, bring it on.

25. Chaise Guevara

@ 24 Richard Carey

“I love the way you turn a liberty (the freedom to hold weddings) into a state-enforced obligation (the demand that they hold weddings for gay couples, or not at all).”

Do rights not usually come with responsibilities? If a church is able to provide a state wedding, then surely it makes sense that it would have to follow the same rules that would be observed at any other venue.

“Such a law would certainly speed up the disestablishment process, and will give me, as a libertarian, a great opportunity to explain to Christians how the state is the enemy and how resistance to tyrants is obedience to God. As I said to Vimothy, bring it on.”

Speaking of turning things on their head, I like how you turn a refusal to give people special privileges based on their demographic into “tyranny”. If someone followed a horrible old-school form of religion that they believed allowed (or even required) them to take violent vigilantee action against “sinners”, would you demand that the law be suspended for their benefit?

@24 You ought to read the bible if you think resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.

27. Man on Clapham Omnibus

‘careless, irresponsible, short-sighted, tone-deaf, out-of-touch, shoot-yourself-in-the-foot, desecration-of-duty, cut-your-nose-off-to-spite-your-face, living-in-the-dark-ages, missing-the-wood-for-the-trees’

Surely an organisation such as this should not exist particularly if you tag the, probably most important, descriptor; believes in fairies.

Personally I find it comical that a bunch of deluded women want the same rights as a bunch of deluded men.

I suggest secularisation is the answer. At the risk of isolating flat dwellers, maybe these people are better privately serving the fairies at the bottom of their own gardens rather than in front of the public at large.

28. Man on Clapham Omnibus

14. Jack C

congratulations for getting to the end.

29. The XYZ Line

Bob @ 15:

“not convinced about that. There is a lot on the web about Pope Joan and even a feature movie:”

Uh huhh, because the internet is always accurate, and feature movies are never made about fictional characters or incidencts, right?

Robin @ 20:

“Well, I believe I do; but how about trotting them out.”

I’ve heard several in my time, although I’m not sure which ones were used in the recent debate. Hence I’m withholding judgement on those who voted against the motion.

“Do bear in mind that the CofE has these things called bishops, who one presumes to be the authorities on matters theological, so any argument based upon theology must get around the fact that the best-trained theologians overwhelmingingly don’t see a problem. And of course the Evangelical argument runs into a logical contradiction right there…”

If we’re going to play the old appeal to authority game, ordaining women only really became an issue in the last fifty years or so. Before then, all the major theologians who wrote on such matters were against the idea, whether explicitly or implicitly. So looking at the whole of Church history, rather than just the current House of Bishops, one finds that the best-trained theologicans overwhelmingly do, in fact, have a problem.

Steve @ 21:

“It always seems odd to me that our current female monarch is the head of the CoE but women can’t become bishops, I’m sure there’s some warped logic somewhere.”

The Queen isn’t a Bishop, nor is she ordained, so none of the arguments relating to female Bishops would apply to having a female Supreme Governor.

30. Richard Carey

Chaise,

“Do rights not usually come with responsibilities?”

As a general point, that may be true. The church has a responsibility to follow the law when conducting a marriage, but no particular priest has ever been forced to marry any particular couple, nor has any couple been able to force a church to hold their wedding. If you want to marry in Westminster Abbey with Bishop Tutu presiding, you can ask, but you can’t force it upon them.

“I like how you turn a refusal to give people special privileges based on their demographic into “tyranny”.”

Thanks, but I suspect our definitions of ‘special privileges’ and, indeed, natural rights (you’d probably say ‘human rights’) differ.

“If someone followed a horrible old-school form of religion that they believed allowed (or even required) them to take violent vigilantee action against “sinners”, would you demand that the law be suspended for their benefit?”

You know the answer to this one; No, of course not. The church does not demand such a privilege, and if they did a libertarian would not support it. The only institution which claims such a privilege is the state, which can have its agents throw you on the floor of a tube train and shoot you in the head eight times and then have a judge order the inquest jury not to find it unlawful.

BTW, you do realise that your argument against the church is based on the church’s view of what the proposed law change signifies, and that the proponents deny that it means this? It is the church that alleges it will be forced to hold gay weddings, and the proponents say this is nonsense. You are agreeing with the church’s interpretation.

31. Robin Levett

@XYZ #29:

I’ve heard several in my time, although I’m not sure which ones were used in the recent debate. Hence I’m withholding judgement on those who voted against the motion.

How about trotting all the arguemnts out? Whether or not they were actually voiced in the debate, they wuld have been in the attenders’ minds.

If we’re going to play the old appeal to authority game, ordaining women only really became an issue in the last fifty years or so. Before then, all the major theologians who wrote on such matters were against the idea, whether explicitly or implicitly. So looking at the whole of Church history, rather than just the current House of Bishops, one finds that the best-trained theologicans overwhelmingly do, in fact, have a problem.

The difficulty with an episcopalian church – for the amateur theologian – is that appeal to authority is built in, and the bishops are the authority. That is rather the essence of the system. If the laity are going to make up their own theology, what’s the point of bishops and priests?

An appeal to church history in relation to church organisation is somewhat self-defeating for a Protestant church…particularly the Church of England.

32. Chaise Guevara

@ 30 Richard Carey

“As a general point, that may be true. The church has a responsibility to follow the law when conducting a marriage, but no particular priest has ever been forced to marry any particular couple, nor has any couple been able to force a church to hold their wedding.”

And time was that you could refuse to serve someone in a bar because of their race. Things change.

“Thanks, but I suspect our definitions of ‘special privileges’ and, indeed, natural rights (you’d probably say ‘human rights’) differ.”

It is special privileges, though, if a registrar is legally required to marry gay couples but a priest is not. You might believe that the registrar should be allowed to refuse, and that would make your position consistent, but the situation we’re describing would count as special privileges.

“You know the answer to this one; No, of course not. The church does not demand such a privilege, and if they did a libertarian would not support it. The only institution which claims such a privilege is the state, which can have its agents throw you on the floor of a tube train and shoot you in the head eight times and then have a judge order the inquest jury not to find it unlawful.”

OK, let’s clarify: how do you feel about a situation where registars have to marry gay couples but priests don’t?

“BTW, you do realise that your argument against the church is based on the church’s view of what the proposed law change signifies, and that the proponents deny that it means this?”

No, I’m saying what I think should be, not what is.

Please note that this only applies to church marriages that are legally binding. If the marriage is just religious/ceremonial/symbolic, then that’s absolutely none of the government’s business and they can turn down whoever they like, or for that matter marry polyandrous groups.

33. Robin Levett

~XYZ #29:

<blockquote.The Queen isn’t a Bishop, nor is she ordained, so none of the arguments relating to female Bishops would apply to having a female Supreme Governor.

Not so.

Every CofE bishop can only take offfice after audience with the Queen, paying homage to her in the following words:

I A.B. having been elected, confirmed and consecrated Bishop of C. do hereby declare that Your Majesty is the only supreme governor of this your realm in spiritual and ecclesiastical things as well as in temporal and that no foreign prelate or potentate has any jurisdiction within this realm and I acknowledge that I hold the said bishopric as well the spiritualities as the temporalities thereof only of Your Majesty and for the same temporalities I do my homage presently to Your Majesty so help me God. God save Queen Elizabeth.

The problem the opponents have is with female headship; the act of homage squarely places the bishop under the headship, eccelsiastical, spiritual and temporal, of the sovereign – a woman.

34. Robin Levett

@Richard Carey #30:

The only institution which claims such a privilege is the state, which can have its agents throw you on the floor of a tube train and shoot you in the head eight times and then have a judge order the inquest jury not to find it unlawful.

Wrong on a couple of points.

Firstly, a simple matter of fact; it was seven, not eight, shots (nine fired, seven hit).

Secondly, anyone previously acquitted of criminal charges is entitled to a direction from the Coroner that “unlawful killing” is not an available verdict.

35. Richard Carey

@ Chaise,

what I think you want is marriage to be made secular, such as it is in France, and for the churches to be barred from incorporating the signing of the documents into their wedding ceremonies, unless they change their ceremony in line with the government’s latest plan (and enforce a new rule that anyone has a right to hold a wedding ceremony in any church of their choice, or risk legal action for ‘discrimination’).

As I pointed out, this is not what the proponents of changing the law are arguing for, in fact they are denying that this is the intention, and saying that the church is totally wrong to suggest that this will be the outcome.

It’s all very interesting. The church finds itself facing the Thomas More moment in reverse. As a libertarian, I think this is good. I’d like to see the separation of Church and State, as well as the separation of Bank and State and numerous other separations, until the state is no more than a cauterised, dessicated wart on society’s backside. So, for very different reasons as some round these parts, I look forward to joining the disestablishmentarian clamour.

36. Richard Carey

@ 34 Robin,

thanks for the clarification. I’ll stand by my general point, though.

37. The XYZ Line

Robin @ 31:

“How about trotting all the arguemnts out? Whether or not they were actually voiced in the debate, they wuld have been in the attenders’ minds.”

Well, Evangelicals would probably say that Jesus chose only men for His Apostles, and it’s not up to us to overturn His decisions. Anglo-Catholics would say that the priest/bishop is a stand-in for Christ when they give the Eucharist, and having a woman as a priest messes up a lot of the symbolism associated with Christ and His Church (e.g., the Church can’t really be the bride of Christ if Christ is a woman…).

“The difficulty with an episcopalian church – for the amateur theologian – is that appeal to authority is built in, and the bishops are the authority. That is rather the essence of the system. If the laity are going to make up their own theology, what’s the point of bishops and priests?”

The Bishops can interpret God’s wishes; they can’t ignore them altogether. And I think that most of the opponents of female bishops would say that they’re maintaining Jesus’ (and the Church’s, for the last c. 1,950 years) teachings, not “making up their own theology”.

“An appeal to church history in relation to church organisation is somewhat self-defeating for a Protestant church…particularly the Church of England.”

It’s primarily a matter of theology rather than organisation. I’ve never heard of any Anglican who said that the Church of England should never listen to any pre-Reformation theologian.

38. Derek Hattons Tailor

Fun Fact – antidiestablishmentarianism – is, or was at one time, the longest word in the OED

You’re wrong about the Church of England receiving no subsidy. One such subsidy is the legal requirement for local authorities to maintain “closed churchyards”. This may sound trivial but is often a major expense for Parish and Town Councils. It doesn’t apply to other denominations though there are plenty of those with graveyards that are full. Nor does “closed” really mean closed – it means closed except to those who have family or pre-purchased plots. In some towns and villages, this can amount to being closed to incomers.

40. Robin Levett

@XYZ #37:

Well, Evangelicals would probably say that Jesus chose only men for His Apostles, and it’s not up to us to overturn His decisions.

For the record: Jesus only chose Jews as Apostles; he also only chose men with names Simon (or Peter), Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, Thaddaeus and Judas (none of them with Christian names, be it noted)…

On the other hand, to witness the single most crucial event in the Gospels, he chose his woman disciple, Mary Magdalene.

Anglo-Catholics would say that the priest/bishop is a stand-in for Christ when they give the Eucharist, and having a woman as a priest messes up a lot of the symbolism associated with Christ and His Church (e.g., the Church can’t really be the bride of Christ if Christ is a woman…).

That isn’t a problem unless you have a hangup with gay marriage.

41. The XYZ Line

Robin @ 40:

“For the record: Jesus only chose Jews as Apostles;”

Which might have something to do with the fact that he was preaching to a majority-Jewish area in the tradition of the Jewish religion.

“he also only chose men with names Simon (or Peter), Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, Thaddaeus and Judas”

Now you’re just being silly.

“That isn’t a problem unless you have a hangup with gay marriage.”

Gay marriage has no scriptural support whatsoever and is rejected by the Church of England, so any argument which rests on the validity of gay marriage is going to be a non-starter theologically.

42. Robin Levett

@XYZ #41:

“For the record: Jesus only chose Jews as Apostles;”

Which might have something to do with the fact that he was preaching to a majority-Jewish area in the tradition of the Jewish religion.

And the fact that he only chose men as Apostles had nothing to do with the fact that he was preaching to a majority-Jewish area in the (male Rabbis only) tradition of the Jewish religion?

“he also only chose men with names Simon (or Peter), Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, Thaddaeus and Judas”

Now you’re just being silly.

The difference is that I realised that before I said it…

I can’t, by the way, see your resposne to the fact that his disciple Mary Magdalene was chosen to witness the single-most important event (theologically speaking) in the entire New Testament, and none of the Apostles were.

Another question; who delivered Romans to the Romans? And what was the tradition in relation to such epistles?

“That isn’t a problem unless you have a hangup with gay marriage.”

Gay marriage has no scriptural support whatsoever and is rejected by the Church of England, so any argument which rests on the validity of gay marriage is going to be a non-starter theologically.

It would square the circle, though.

There is certainly evidence that women were active in the early Church as priests and even one as bishop; so the Anglo-Catholic argument has a circle to square as well.

43. The XYZ Line

Robin @ 42:

“And the fact that he only chose men as Apostles had nothing to do with the fact that he was preaching to a majority-Jewish area in the (male Rabbis only) tradition of the Jewish religion?”

Jesus was quite happy to go against established norms, religious or otherwise, so he’d have been perfectly capable of choosing female Apostles if he’d so wished.

Plus, of course, when Christianity spread through the Mediterranean (where there was nothing unusual about having priestesses), they kept the practice of having only male Apostles, indicating that there was more to it than just “Well, let’s follow the dominant religious tradition of our area.”

“I can’t, by the way, see your resposne to the fact that his disciple Mary Magdalene was chosen to witness the single-most important event (theologically speaking) in the entire New Testament, and none of the Apostles were.”

Nobody’s denied that women can be witnesses to Christ (hence the existence of female martyrs), but witnessing Chirst =/= being a priest.

“Another question; who delivered Romans to the Romans? And what was the tradition in relation to such epistles?”

Again, there’s a difference between delivering a letter and being a priest.

“It would square the circle, though.”

What circle is this, exactly?

“There is certainly evidence that women were active in the early Church as priests and even one as bishop;”

Maybe you could present some, then.

Anglo-Catholics would say that the priest/bishop is a stand-in for Christ when they give the Eucharist, and having a woman as a priest messes up a lot of the symbolism associated with Christ and His Church (e.g., the Church can’t really be the bride of Christ if Christ is a woman…).

Can’t they use their imagination? If they can believe the earth was created in seven days some 6000 years ago…

45. The XYZ Line

ukliberty @ 44:

“If they can believe the earth was created in seven days some 6000 years ago…”

Erm, they don’t.

46. Robin Levett

@XYZ #43:

Jesus was quite happy to go against established norms, religious or otherwise, so he’d have been perfectly capable of choosing Gentile Apostles if he’d so wished.

Fixed that for you.

@UKL #44:

If they can believe the earth was created in seven days some 6000 years ago

That’s the evangelicals you want, not the Anglo-Catholics.


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