(TCW’s Rebel Priest writes on how feminism has affected the Church in the first of our series of articles to ‘celebrate’ International Women’s Day on Wednesday.)
Hell hath no fury like a feminist scorned. The Itchy and Scratchy Show featured in The Simpsons is being replayed by the feministasi of the Church of England. Only this time it is being recast as The Itchy, Scratchy, and Touchy Victims Show.
The itchy, scratchy and touchy victims are priestesses in the Diocese of Sheffield. The vampire and villain is the wicked ogre Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, who has been nominated to the See of Sheffield. Bishop Philip is a traditionalist, you see, who does not believe in “wimmin’s” ordination. When the C of E permitted women to be bishopettes, it assured men like Philip that they would be safe in a “mixed economy” of feminists and traditionalists and that in the new world of Anglicanism there would be a heaven of “mutual flourishing”—note the jellied-eel jargon of modern Anglicanism!
In the last two weeks, an Inferno from hell has erupted in this heaven, and a sign from Dante’s Divine Comedy is being erected for this season of Lent: “All hope abandon, ye who enter here.” Egged on by Martyn Percy, Dean of Christchurch, Oxford, the priestesses have gathered around the cauldron and are muttering spells warning Bishop Philip to undergo a theological lobotomy before he ascends the bishop’s throne in Sheffield. According to Dean Percy, Bishop Philip’s appointment would ‘represent the toleration of gender-based sectarianism.’
Percy’s wife, Emma, who chairs a Harriet Harwoman’s club called Women and the Church (WATCH) speaks of the ‘sadness felt by many in Sheffield that they will now have a diocesan bishop who will not ordain women.’ Emma has said that she wants to combat sexism in the C of E by calling God “She” and “Mother God.” Never mind the police turning a blind eye to perpetrators of Female Genital Mutilation in the UK—blinkered Emma is cloistered within the dreaming spires of Oxford and lives in the fantasia world of Jane Austen where the most evil form of sexism exists in the church!
In the run-up to International Women’s Day (rechristened International Moaning Day by our own editors at TCW) this Wednesday, the moaning is turning into a high-pitched Lenten lamentation in sackcloth n’ ashes—as snowflake priestesses in the sacred “sistahood” speak of an ‘iceberg of personal pain’ only the ‘tip’ of which has been so far expressed. ‘I have real concern about—that in 2017 the C of E is giving out a message which could appear to be saying that women are second-class citizens,’ sobs the Rev Sue Hamersley on a website (Sheffield Action on Ministry Equality—SAME) that has been specially set-up to oppose Bishop Philip’s appointment.
For once, the feministasi are right. How can you have a wishy-washy postmodern relativism when it comes to the ordination of women? If his church validates the orders of a priestess, how can Bishop Philip treat them as invalid and still be a bishop to his female clergy? After all, he still has to license them as vicars and curates! If he believes their orders are invalid, is he licensing laywomen to celebrate an invalid Eucharist in their parishes? Or is he so postmodern that he can accept the relativism of ‘it may be valid for you, but it is not valid for me’?
Oh! What a tangled web we weave, when we turn to a ‘different gospel’ of gender politics. The proclamation of this false gospel begins in the Garden of Eden with the slimy serpent seducing Eve by goading her on to suspect the Word of God. ‘Did God actually say, “You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?”’ Since the sixties, the serpent has grown into a gargantuan python that has entered the church and persuaded its Eves that they will not find personal fulfilment unless they devour the entire forbidden tree.
In her book The Feminist Mystique Mistake, Mary Kassian, professor at Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, traces the chronology of the Babylonian captivity of the church to feminism: ‘Feminism began with the deconstruction of a Judeo-Christian view of womanhood (the right to name self); progressed to the deconstruction of manhood, gender relationships, family/societal structures, and a Judeo-Christian worldview (the right to name the world); and concluded with the concept of metaphysical pluralism, self-deification, and the rejection of the Judeo-Christian deity (the right to name God).’
The primary source for the Christian gospel is the Bible. The primary sources for the feminist gospel are the writings of Sartre’s mistress Simone de Beauvoir The Second Sex with her utopian promise of a ‘world where men and women would be equal’ as ‘the Soviet Revolution promised.’ The human problem, according to the Christian gospel, is sin and fallenness. The human problem, according to the feminist gospel, is patriarchy.
The solution, according to the Christian gospel, is from God alone—we cannot save ourselves—we are saved by grace through faith in Christ. The solution, according to the feminist gospel, is from woman alone—women are not sinners, but sinned against—women must save themselves by revolting against ‘the rules of the game to restructure professions, marriage, the family, the home,’ as Betty Friedan wrote in The Feminist Mystique.
The solution cannot be the Judeo-Christian God because the portrayal of this God is male/father and must be rejected because ‘since God is male, the male is God,’ as Mary Daly, the matriarch of the oxymoronic Christian feminism, writes in her book The Church and the Second Sex drawing heavily on de Beauvoir’s book The Second Sex.
The Christian gospel portrays Jesus as the Victim who died for our sins and paid the penalty for sin on the cross. The feminist gospel portrays Women as the Victims who are crucified at the hands of Men and pay the penalty for being born with a womb that can bring new life into this world.
The Christian gospel portrays men and women as ontologically equal in creation and functionally different but equal in the different roles God gives to us. Both women and men are created in the image and likeness of God. The feminist gospel confuses ontologically equality with functional distinctiveness. The Christian gospel teaches Christians to trust the Bible as the Word of God. The feminist gospel urges us to adopt a ‘hermeneutic of suspicion’ and to mistrust the Bible for its patriarchal and androcentric bias.
For four thousand years the Bible assigned roles to men as priests and pastors in the Tabernacle, Temple, Synagogue and Church. Priestesses were found only in pagan religions. The false gospel of feminism must be named for what it is—a pagan gospel to which the apostle Paul would respond with his well-known words: ‘Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.’
(Image: Norman Maynard)