The slow death of a religious sect.

News came out on Tuesday that the Church of England (CofE, what Americans would call the Episcopal Church) have decided to go ahead and ordain women bishops. To a secular person, that doesn’t seem like a big deal – gender discrimination is, after all, illegal in Great Britain – but to many in the Church, this seems to be a herald of doom. Some high-ranking “traditionalists” are even threatening to convert to Catholicism:

Bishop Broadhurst, who is the chairman of the Forward in Faith organisation, declined to say whether he would leave the Church of England, because he said he needed time to talk to the priests under his pastoral care.

“My organisation has 1,000 priests and about 8,000 lay people in it. None of those priests are happy,” he said.

“Now people have to decide whether they will knuckle under – if they do, that is not a very happy situation for them or the Church – or whether they’ll go, or whether they’ll just defy it, and I can see that happening with many people.”

Part of me finds it hard to suppress a little soupçon of glee over this; as an atheist it confirms some of my opinions of religion in general so very nicely – particularly that some people simply use religion as a cloak for bigotry and that their bigotry is far more important to them than any faith they might profess. Most of me, however, finds it deeply sad that the laws of my country still permit exemptions from anti-discrimination legislation on religious grounds, effectively allowing organisations like the CofE to remain decades behind the rest of society in their attitudes towards equality and fairness.

Background story from the BBC.
Main story from the BBC.

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