‘Bible was ‘ahead of its time in its progressive attitude to women,’ says church warden

Photo by Sarah Noltner on Unsplash

THIS preposterous statement comes from Carol Carruthers, warden at St Fimbarrus Parish Church in Fowey, Cornwall, after the church got branded as “sexist” for refusing to to allow a woman to be its next vicar.

St Fimbarrus has not had a vicar for four years and is now casting around to find one.

In the face of a kerfuffle that erupted after the Fowey Parochial Church Council (PCC) made the decision to appoint a male for the role—a decision some locals say is correct on a ”theological basis”—Carruthers issued a statement:

As an evangelical church we look to the Bible for all matters of faith. The Bible is very clear on equality—all are equal. 

The Bible, much written 2,000 years ago was ahead of its time in its progressive attitude to women. 

But …

There is, however, debate over the roles women play within the church.  The church council has agreed a compromise position where we will both welcome women priests to teach the bible faithfully each Sunday and lead communion, but seek an overall male priest in charge.  

We appreciate this can be difficult to understand looking from the outside into the church, but would robustly defend that this position is not sexist.

The church council, and those who defend it decision, should acquaint themselves with the vast amount of material that indicates that the Bible is, in fact, a repulsive wellspring of misogyny.

Image courtesy The Daily Atheist. Stanton was was an American writer and activist and a leader of the women’s rights movement in the US during the mid- to late-19th century.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation, for example, has published a “nontract” entitled “Why Women Need Freedom From Religion” that begins with the words:

Organized religion always has been and remains the greatest enemy of women’s rights.

In pointing out that there are more than 200 biblical verses that specifically belittle and demean women, the FFRF said:

The Bible is a handbook for the subjugation of women. The Bible establishes woman’s inferior status, her ‘uncleanliness,’ her transgressions, and God-ordained master/servant relationship to man.

Biblical women are possessions: fathers own them, sell them into bondage, even sacrifice them. The Bible sanctions rape during wartime and in other contexts.

Wives are subject to Mosaic-law sanctioned “bedchecks” as brides, and male jealousy fits and no-notice divorce as wives. The most typical biblical labels of women are “harlot” and “whore.” They are described as having evil, even satanic powers of allurement.

Contempt for women’s bodies and reproductive capacity is a bedrock of the Bible. The few role models offered are stereotyped, conventional and inadequate, with Bible heroines admired for obedience and battle spirit. Jesus scorns his own mother, refusing to bless her, and issues dire warnings about the fate of pregnant and nursing women.

Image via YouTube

The Christian Post, along with many other outlets, points out that Fowey was once home to actress and comedian Dawn French, above, who starred in the BBC series The Vicar of Dibley.

It said that the church’s decision stands in sharp contrast to the appointment of Rev Shona Hoad, who is now the vicar of the neighboring communities of Tywardreath and Golant.

A local business owner, Sinead Hanks, was quoted as saying that Hoad is an excellent example of what a vicar should be.

Her appointment has made the situation in Fowey more frustrating, as many people there would also like a female vicar to revitalize their community, Hanks added, calling the decision nonsensical and untenable.

Other locals joined the fray. One used social media to write:

Just turn it into something that will benefit the whole community rather than a handful of superstitious sexists.

Another person added that the vote:

Makes the church look less relevant and more weird.

The decision comes after a small group of locals apparently said they would quit the church unless it was run by a male.

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7 responses to “‘Bible was ‘ahead of its time in its progressive attitude to women,’ says church warden”

  1. “a small group of locals apparently said they would quit the church unless it was run by a male.” This scarcely indicates a strong faith if they quit so easily over a decision they don’t like.

    Which bible are they reading? How do they come to conclusions so adverse to what their bible actually says.? The bible is a morass of confusion, contradictions and impossible requirements that are there to be read. Instead so many bible readers discover meanings that don’t exist. The reason, I suppose, is that they dare not accept the reality of what is there in the words.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. And then along came the Quran to further the rights of females.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You wag!!

      Like

      1. Stephen
        One doesn’t need to be a wag to ridicule religion, they do it for you..
        Taking the piss out of religion is as easy as performing the eucharist miracle of transforming bread and wine into the Mexican’s body and blood.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Well that made me Lol, in a very cynical tone. The CofE is falling off a cliff edge year on year. When it announced the ordination of women circa 1992, it may have been to acknowledge that modern society demanded equal opportunities for the 50% of us who possess a vagina. But it was also the need to recruit enough ordinands, numbers of them were dropping even back then. The CofE has around 40% of female clergy, so they really are needed to keep the show on the road. Ask any of them, my Canon-daughter included, about misogyny and they’ll all have a tale to tell. Like when was roughly shoved out of the way by a male cleric as she stood in line to process up the aisle at some function. When accepted to train at the UK’s most misogynistic seminary which had just allowed women in – again to keep up its intake – she refused and had to fight to go to another college. She said she couldn’t face 3yrs of having to constantly argue the rights of women everywhere to be equal to men!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carol Carruthers might have been thinking of women such as Jael (Judges, 4 and 5) or Judith (Apocrypha: Judith, 8 to 13) who showed biblical women could be just as obnoxious as biblical men in an obnoxious book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha Vanity Unfair, that is an unfair comment, the biblical men have a much superior degree of obnoxiousness!
      And then came the world-leading loathsome book of lies – the quran, where females didn’t even get started in the obnoxiousness stakes.

      Liked by 1 person

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