Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Women bishops, super bishops and regular bishops

Dear reader, our blog has moved to a new address.

Do come on over (and change your bookmarks accordingly): rationalist.org.uk

It's usually pretty hard to follow the internal wranglings of religious organisations, as if you don't believe any of the stuff they do or have any experience attending their ceremonies and rituals the whole thing seems fairly confusing. But thankfully for all concerned I think I've managed to get a grip on the Church of England's female bishops saga, which I will now summarise for your consumption:

Some people in the Church thought, it being the 21st century and all, that it would be a good idea to allow women into the upper echelons of their administration. So, the Church of England's General Synod (that's the fairly liberal lot, not the all-new homophobic lot) had a very long debate which, according to the BBC, "saw one bishop in tears", and voted to allow members of half the human race to become bishops. Some people were really not very keen on this idea and had appealed for a new category of bishop – the "super bishop" – to be created for those who would not be able to face dealing with a woman when seeking, at the risk of coining a new word, bishoply services. However, the Synod rejected this idea and now the ball's in the court of the 1,300 Church of England clergy who have threatened to leave.

So there you have it – a victory of sorts for feminism, but in my view a real shame that there wont be people out there known as "super bishops".

Lots of female members of the Church of England were opposed to members of their sex becoming bishops. Our associate editor Sally Feldman has a term for such people – Gender Traitors – and conveniently you can read what she has to say about them in our new issue, which is online now.