MPs As Bully Theologians
The Church of England votes in a few hours on whether or not to approve women bishops. The vote is expected to be close — and on Monday, some members of Parliament tried to put the screws to those who will cast ballots:
MPs, who must approve any Synod decision before it receives Royal Assent, warned that a failure to approve the proposal could undermine the Church of England’s position as the established Church. Chris Bryant, the Labour MP and a former Anglican priest, said the legislation would face a “rough ride” in Parliament if there were any further concessions to traditionalists. “If the legislation leans too far towards the traditionalist that won’t please the Commons and the legislation would have trouble,” he said.
“There are quite a few of us who think that the way this is leaning is entrenching forever a religious apartheid within the Church of England.”
This is what it means to have a state church, I suppose. Because members of the the legislature — the House of Commons, I mean — have the right to approve any Synodal legislation, MPs feel at liberty to threaten the Church in this way. This is how doctrinal issues of enormous importance are decided? By members of Parliament openly putting a gun to the head of the Synod, and using hysterical, heavily loaded language like “religious apartheid”? I find that scandalous.
Sweet, sweet First Amendment! What a blessing it is. Poor old Church of England: conceived in an act of State bullying, and now suffering more of same.
UPDATE: The proposal to have women bishops has failed. Here’s what I don’t understand, and would like to have an Anglican explain to me: if you can have women priests, as the Church of England allows, why not women bishops? Is it because a traditionalist Anglican could avoid a parish pastored by a woman priest, but not avoid a bishopric headed by a woman bishop? Or something else? Help me out here. (Nota bene, I ask this as someone who believes women priests are an impossibility in sacramental Christianity, but I do not want to discuss that here, so don’t bring it up. I’m only asking about the Anglican case out of personal curiosity.)