Second Class Citizens?

Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriAs a Buddhist, I haven’t felt able to comment on the Church of England’s continuing struggle over its position on women bishops. The question has been being debated for decades and the decision this week has left the Synod looking even more out of touch with the values of modern British society.

Looking at world religion as a whole, it is pretty clear that, as with the rest of society over the millennia, it has been controlled by a predominantly male hierarchy. In many parts of the world, that seems to be changing, with female bishops being ordained in places as far apart as Cuba and now Swaziland.

Watching the BBC’s Big Question today, appeared to show the aggression on both sides, to what would seem to be an almost impossible question. It is possible, it was shown, to interpret the Bible as supporting both sides of the argument. So one might say that both camps are right and wrong in their support of their position.

The far more worrying aspect from my perspective, from a church that purports to represent the religious nature of my beloved England, is that it appears to be populated by a disparate collection of bigots. Neither side came out of the argument with any credit, and judging by the stream of negative #bbctbq tweets, did nothing to ingratiate themselves to the mainly secular audience.

Of course, many may say that it is non of my business, how the Christian religion structures itself, and with any other than the Church of England, I would agree. But whilst the Church is part of the Establishment and has a say in how my country is run, through the bishops seats in the House of Lords, I will have my say.

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