Once upon a time there were three wise midwives. Their names were Shiphrah, Puah and Sarah. The biblical Book of Exodus tells us the story of Shiphrah and Puah and how they saved the people of Israel from genocide. The Times tells us the story of Sarah and how she was nominated as Bishop of London.
Shiphrah and Puah lived in Egypt and worked for Raamses Health Service (RHS). Sarah lived in England and worked for the National Health Service (NHS). Shiprah and Puah were called to take risks and so did not reveal their full names. Sarah was called to create safe spaces and ensure safeguarding and so she told everyone her full name – Sarah Elisabeth Mullally.
One day, the King of Egypt, Pharaoh Terminator III, decided to launch his RHS-sponsored pro-choice Planned Parenthood programme. Terminator III had an elderly relative named Auntie Cemite, who hated the Hebrews living in their land. Pharaoh said, ‘It’s my land. My people. I’m pro-choice. I choose who lives and who dies. I will plan the parenthood of the Hebrews.’
Pharaoh and his wife Ms Andry were Third Wave feminists. They wanted only female children to live. So they called the Hebrew midwives and told them, ‘Slaughter the sons, spare the daughters.’
Pharaoh did not know that once the girls were four or five years old, they could become boys by self-identifying as boys, especially if they went to Church of England schools. Pharaoh had not heard of Weaselword Welby, the Archbishop of Circumlocution, who lived in England.
Wizard Welby, who possessed great spiritual powers, had recently waved his magic wand over five thousand schools and taught the children an astonishing trick never before performed in human history. Children as young as five could magically transition to a different gender when boys wore tutus or tiaras and girls wore firemen’s helmets.
None of Pharaoh’s mighty magicians could imitate Welby’s mighty magic. When confronting Moses, they could turn their staffs into snakes or the Nile to blood. But despite all their ancient secret arts, they could not turn boys into girls or girls into boys. (Of course, Welby was as mad as an Egyptian flea with an incurable itch when priests Jonathan Pryke, Gavin Ashenden and Andy Lines turned into bishops. Boys could identify as girls but priests could not identify as bishops without his permission, said Wizard Welby.)
But like lost sheep, we are beginning to stray from the story. We must pick up the plot of the three wise midwives before Goldilocks returns and finds her porridge has gone cold.
The Hebrew midwives feared God and did not do as Pharaoh commanded them. Pharaoh said to them, ‘Why have you done this, and let the male children live?’ The midwives replied, ‘Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.’
Meanwhile, in faraway England, the NHS decided to follow in the footsteps of the famous Pharaoh. Being broadminded, non-discriminatory, and believing in equal opportunity for all, they decided to allow women to kill not just Hebrew male children after they were born, but children of all races and both sexes before they were born. Since 1967, NHS-sponsored abortion killed almost nine million unborn children.
In 2014, Catholic midwives Mary Doogan and Concepta Wood defied Pharaoh’s orders. They believed that ‘all human life is sacred from the moment of conception and that termination of pregnancy is a grave offence against human life’. The midwives lost their case in the UK Supreme Court. That year government guidelines said that nurses and midwives could take the ‘main role’ in performing abortions. In 2017, the Royal College of Midwives was accused of pushing for ‘an abortion free-for-all’.
Midwife Sarah Mullally had served as the UK’s Chief Nursing Officer. She was appointed a Dame for her contribution to nursing and midwifery. So, like the two Hebrew midwives of old, how did she address the biggest ethical question of her day? Sarah said NOTHING. Shiphrah and Puah dared to defy the mighty Pharaoh. Sarah silently acquiesced to the murderous morality of modern-day abortion.
But Sarah is not just a former midwife. Like Welby, she is a magician skilled in many dark arts. Her most outstanding trick is logolubricus – she can make words as slippery as eels. The BBC broadcast her first magic show the day after the Church of England announced her nomination as Bishop of London.
‘How would you vote when Synod debates blessings for same-sex relationships?’ Mishal Husain asked Bishop Sarah on Radio 4. Sarah softly muttered her magic spell ‘Obfuscari!’ and said out loud: ‘Well, at that point I won’t be in Synod, so I won’t have a vote. But what we have to remember is . . .’ Husain interrupted: ‘How would you vote?’ ‘Er, um, er, um, all you need is love . . . diversity . . . reflection . . . mumbo jumbo . . . abracadabra . . . Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be, the future’s not ours to see! Obfuscari!’ replied Slippery Sarah.
Magician Mullally then performed a second trick. This English trick is the opposite of the Indian rope trick. In the Indian rope trick the magician stiffens the rope so his assistant can climb up the rope. In the English version, the magician slackens the human spine so it goes as wobbly as jelly and as limp as a mollusc.
Magician Mullally’s biggest potential opponent was William Taylor, High Priest of St Helen’s Church, Bishopsgate. Taylor had threatened to split from the C of E if the new Bishop did not ‘condemn homosexual relationships as sinful’. His words were ominous. ‘My first question to him or her will be: “Are you prepared openly to declare as sin what God calls sin and to summon all people to repentance and to do so publicly?” If the answer is “no” then there is an “unavoidable avoidance” for us all,’ he had publicly declared.
Mullally’s deadliest spell was reserved for evangelicals such as Taylor. Her English rope trick could turn evangelicals into evanjellyfish. ‘Invertebrati!’ she whispered, pointing her magic crosier at Taylor. The High Priest of St Helen’s was no match for the new High Priestess of London. Taylor’s spine shrivelled, shrank and collapsed like custard.
‘We offer Bishop Sarah our congratulations and assure her of our prayers as she takes up the significant role as Bishop of London. The Church of England is committed to “mutual flourishing”. We look forward to Bishop Sarah working for this within the diocese of London,’ tweeted St Helen’s.
Here endeth our tale of three wise midwives. Midwife Mullally is now Bishop Mullally. She came, she saw, she obfuscated. But Wizard Welby is worried. What does the future hold for him? He asks his mirror: ‘Magic mirror in my hand, who is the archbishop in the land?’ The mirror never lies. ‘Wizard Welby, you are the archbishop now so true. But Mullally is waiting in the queue. One day you’ll be gone and then she will succeed you.’