The churches and the women

The big non-story of the weekend was the Church of England debating female bishops. They voted to allow the practice in principle, but the final vote won’t happen until 2011/2012. Or something. I don’t care.

Really, it’s like freemasonry. Freemasons are funny, with their Right Worshipful Brothers and and all that. They have their clubs with their rules and their games, and I generally see no reason to take any interest. If that’s what people want to do, no worries – I’d play Dungeons and Dragons if I could talk my friends into it. But freemasons aren’t fond of women either, and so piss me off. The first phrase that springs to mind is ‘stupid little club for stupid old men’. Which feels mean, and maybe isn’t fair – I know someone who’ll defend them for their charity work – but I’m happy to mock those who rationalise away Neanderthal sexism. You don’t deserve attention if you’re this backward. Pity maybe, but not attention. It is 2008.

Church of England = the same. I’m not interested in their little power struggles. They can do what they like. It’s not like this is the one remaining obstacle between them and rationality. But then I’ll remember that these people, these people tearing themselves apart over whether women should have the same rights as men, sit in the House of Lords. They can affect the law. And this is obviously worth screaming to the hilltops over. It is 2008.

But still – a weekend’s news coverage of old sexist dudes? Not worth the effort. But then. Then the Catholic Church stuck its oar in, and things became Very Funny Indeed.

The Vatican has a ‘Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity’. Sounds worthy, doesn’t it? Think of all the good things that could be done by unifying Christians! Here’s what its head said about the CoE’s decision:

For the future, this decision will have consequences for dialogue, which until now had borne much fruit.

Yes. Thanks for sorting out Northern Ireland, by the way.

Such a decision is a break with apostolic tradition maintained in all of the Churches in the first millennium, and is therefore a further obstacle for reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Church of England.

These people who issue edicts on behaviour. These people who claim to be a force for good in the 21st century. These people who continually witter on about their mischaracterisation by ‘militant atheists’, and who claim their religion is not the hate-filled, medieval backwater of the ‘extremists’. These people who would have us believe they can build bridges with other faiths and solve the world’s problems.

These people think it counterproductive that their competitors don’t treat women like shit. Competitors who believe in the same deity, read the same magical book, and are only a different religion in the same way Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant are different Doctors. The only ‘obstable for reconciliation’ is the stupid old men and their stupid little rules.

Their Bible says Jesus’ apostles were men. I note that said apostles were also all from the Middle East. And (somehow) white. And won’t have worn deodorant. Or watched televisions. And didn’t wear totally ridiculous hats1. But none of this matters – it seems the most important thing about the apostles was their genitalia.

It’s not really Very Funny Indeed. Innocent people, for perfectly understandable psychological reasons, pay attention to these whackjobs. They matter. Yet it’s 2008, and they still can’t handle women’s rights. Pathetic.

  1. NOT that there is anything wrong with wearing ridiculous hats. In fact it is one of the pleasures of life. If I were Pope I’d wear a ridiculous hat too. I suspect it is the main reason people become Pope []