‘Why can’t a woman be more like a man?’ sings Professor Henry Higgins in the musical comedy My Fair Lady. Higgins is a misogynistic snob. His diatribe against the fairer sex cascades out of control. ‘Women are irrational, that’s all there is to that! Their heads are full of cotton, hay, and rags! They’re nothing but exasperating, irritating, vacillating, calculating, agitating, maddening and infuriating hags! Pickering, why can’t a woman be more like a man?’
Feminists would dismiss the professor’s rant as sexist, but transgender lunatics now have an answer to his question. A woman can be more like a man; she can actually transition into being a man and vice-versa! However, I’m not going to talk about transgenderism or sexism but about the outlandish space alien from the planet of Yabbadabbadoo known as a Welby.
Science fictionologists are not even sure whether to categorise this being as ‘a’ Welby (there could be more of the kind on Planet Zog) or ‘the’ Welby (a sui generis organism) because of its amorphous nature which is constantly evolving and transmogrifying into different shapes.
In the last few weeks, the Welby phantasmagoria has been thrashing around in the media. This remarkable creature has been putting its foot in its mouth so frequently that its ability to do this with one leg and hobble around on the other is becoming the staple of fable and legend, especially on Twitter and Facebook.
Mainstream media, alternative media and social media have been competing for observation rights on the Welby – studying it under a microscope and taking readings from electrodes attached to its uncontrollably throbbing tongue, currently detached from the prefrontal cortex of the Welby brain.
The public verdict is unanimously Higginsonian: ‘Why can’t a Welby be more like a man?’ Observers have it that the Welby is irrational. Its head is full of cotton, hay and rags. It is exasperating, irritating, vacillating, calculating, agitating, maddening and infuriating.
Does the reader seek empirical evidence for this claim?
Exhibit A: ‘A boy wearing a dress to school is not a problem,’ says the Welby on LBC radio. A Church of England school on the Isle of Wight allows boys to come to school wearing dresses (lipstick is optional). A Christian family remove their son from the school after a male classmate dons girlie apparel and decide to sue the school, arguing that it has not respected their rights to raise their children in line with biblical values. The Welby is asked to comment. It says it has been ‘struggling’ with the question.
The Welby could have talked about gender dysphoria. It could have quoted the binary category of gender in Genesis 1, where God creates Homo sapiens male and female. No. The Welby’s reply is a discharge of yucky, viscous postmodern psychobabble. ‘The other family are making up their own minds. The other child is making up their own mind. Talk to your child. Help them to understand. Help them to see what’s going on and to be faithful to their own convictions.’ Make up your mind about what, Welby? Understand what, Welby?
Exhibit B: The Welby solemnises the marriage of his divorced aide and manages to lose the bride’s ring. Ailsa Anderson, the Welby’s head of media relations, is believed to be the first divorcee to be married by an Archbishop of Canterbury in recent times. Henry VIII would have loved having the Welby as his favourite pet (alongside his poisonous tarantula).
Meanwhile conservative clerics are popping the question on social media: did the Welby examine the couple and call for repentance in the light of biblical teaching before pronouncing them man and wife?
Exhibit C: The Welby is interviewed by the BBC Today programme. It imitates another one-of-its-kind creatures called ‘the Donald’ and blames the Beeb for its response to the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal. The Welby claims that Auntie has not shown the same integrity over child abuse accusations when compared with its own C of E.
Survivors of sexual abuse in the C of E hit back, accusing the Welby of ‘breathtaking hypocrisy’. They issue a statement: ‘Far from the ‘rigorous response and self-examination’ he (the Welby) claims, our experience of the church, and specifically the archbishop, is of long years of silence, denial and evasion. The Church of England needs to confront its own darkness in relation to abuse before confronting the darkness of others.’
Auntie Beeb is no saintly nun. She is more akin to the Whore of Babylon. She has dumped her founding principles in the deepest sea and put up a notice saying ‘No Fishing Here’. So why is the Welby drawing a moral equivalence between a secular broadcaster committed to ‘fake news’ and the sacred body and bride of Christ – the Church – committed to preaching the gospel, i.e. good news?
The Welby should know that the church is sui generis. It cannot be compared to a human organisation. It is undoubtedly flawed. It has repeatedly failed. But its DNA is supernatural. When it is complicit in abuse, it cannot dodge the bullet by comparing itself to other organisations. It holds itself to a divine moral standard and by that standard it must stand or fall.
But one of the chief characteristics of the Welby is that it is allergic to theology. It excels at media spin, manipulation and monkey tricks, but it quickly disintegrates if it attempts even the most basic theology.
In the interview, the Welby suddenly jumps on a unicycle, tooting his horn and grinning at his audience like Bozo the Clown. ‘I think we are a kinder society,’ he hollers. Melanie Phillips swiftly slams this circus act. ‘Welby is deluded to think we’re a kind society,’ she writes. ‘The church confuses virtue-signalling with true virtue, while cruelty and indifference abound.’
Are we a kinder society, Welby? In 1940, teachers were asked to list the seven most serious problems they faced in school. Their answers were: talking out of turn, chewing gum, making a noise, running in corridors, cutting in line, not wearing school uniform, and dropping litter. In 1990, a group of teachers were asked the same question. This time their answers were: drug abuse, alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery, and assault.
Exhibit D: Alastair Campbell, who was once spin-doctor to an abominable ectoplasmic creature called ‘the Blair’, interviews the Welby for GQ magazine. ‘Is gay sex sinful?’ he asks. The reader will recall Campbell’s famous statement from the Blair years: ‘We don’t do God.’ Yet Campbell’s question is phrased with theological accuracy. He doesn’t ask about same-sex relationships, but about homogenital acts.
A number of biblical scholars who are gay, lesbian, and atheist have shouted out the answer from the rooftops. The Bible is unambiguous! Gay sex is sinful! There is no wriggle room. We reject the biblical teaching on sexuality but at least we are honest that the Bible condemns gay sex.
But the Welby, who doesn’t do biblical scholarship, squirms like a constipated worm. ‘You know very well that is a question I can’t give a straight answer to. Sorry, badly phrased there. I should have thought that one through. I know I haven’t got a good answer to the question.’ Campbell squashes the Welby. ‘Is that not morally a cop-out?’ The Welby decomposes with a splat. ‘Yes. I am copping out because I am struggling with the issue.’
Selwyn College, Cambridge, my alma mater, has a one-word motto. It is a Greek word from St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (16:13). The King James Version translates it as ‘quit ye like men’ while the New American Standard Version renders it as ‘act like men’. The whole verse reads: ‘Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.’
These virtues are not the characteristics of a Welby. They are rarely found among other Welby-like species that are also known as bishops.
‘Why can’t a Welby be more like a man?’ Simply because it is a Welby. Please have pity on a Welby. The next time you meet a Welby, forgive it, for it knows not what it does or what it says.