Due to my very personal sort of analysis and contemplation in my previous two posts, I figured it was about time I did a research post. So like a good academic writer, I Googled “Religion in London 2012” to see what pops up. That may be meant satirically, regardless, I lucked out, and came across an interesting article from The Guardian, a well-known newspaper in London.
I had stumbled upon an article from July 9th, 2012 that addressed the movement within the Anglican church to allow for women to become bishops, and the legislation and it’s amendments that were aimed at that purpose.
Insert synopsis here.
Essentially, for many years, the Anglican Church has been trying to reform itself to allow for more rights for women within it. In the early 90s, they opened up priesthood to women. Now, they are responding to a very significant internal push to allow women to become Bishops. In the beginning the movement for the legislation passed 42 of 44 in agreement with it. However, following this vote, amendments were added that have caused significant uproar, leaving the Church in a dilemma. The amendments, though what they really say is still muddy to me, seem to have created some very controversial and discriminatory not so fine print. As I have interpreted the interpretations, it seems that female bishops, and following bishops anointed by female bishops are essentially second rate, due to the fact that some believe having a female bishop at all is a ‘theological impossibility’.
As a result, it’s a doubled-edged sword. Those who are supportive of allowing women to hold the honor of Bishop are now hesitant to support the bill because of its not discrimination, but if they vote it down, it may be many more years before it is even revisited. It has been often acknowledged of the painfully slow process that it is to make changes within the church such as these.
Insert analysis of significance.
The significance of this is that even in this day and age, it cannot be agreed upon about the continuity of equal rights regardless of gender and religion. In a city like London especially, where is seems like they really want to practice tolerance, its tough to understand this. As an American, where we so heavily stress a separation of church and state, since here the church is so intricately tied into the state it’s a confusing divide. Women can be queens and run this country but they can’t be bishops? Bringing up the question…what can religion, with old traditions, be used to justify?
If traditions set precedents at what point must they be adjusted to fit the times? Will religion be lost as a result? Can organized religion adapt and still be traditional?
These questions plague many other contemporary topics. Gay marriage. Divorce. Women’s rights. Dietary restrictions. Etc. Will there ever be a point when religion is well enough adapted to society, or must it always be changing? How big is the room for change in such an organized institution? These questions can be hypothesized but never answered, by their very nature they are impossible to answer.
As it stands now, the vote will hopefully happen in November, and if the Anglican Church does allow women to become bishops then it must get passed in both houses of Parliament. If not though, it seems as if it will be many years before another vote could be cast considering this motion began in February 2009. It also seems that the division that this is causing the church on this subject matter of revision over tradition standards is creating what some are saying will (and maybe even should) be a permanent divide within the religion. We’ll see.
For more awesome information, check out my sources: