Last-minute changes have complicated the Church of England’s slow progress towards allowing women to be bishops, says Savi Hensman. Attempts to placate opponents are unhelpfully stalling the process further.
Key aspects of Christian (and notably Christendom) tradition have been used to cement or justify women's oppression. But dismissing Christianity simply as something to be thankfully consigned to history means consigning all the achievements of women who have identified themselves as Christian alongside it, says Alison Jasper. From this perspective, all Christian women are victims if not collaborators. A rounder picture is needed.
When governments are displaced they can persist within contemporary states as ‘religions’ that maintain their patriarchal origins and character, says Professor Naomi Goldenberg. Since women’s challenges to male domination have only met with some success in recent times within fairly contemporary forms of statecraft, if earlier states known as ‘religions’ are allowed too much authority over domains such as ‘the family’ or ‘the home,’ women will be the losers, she argues.
Almost ten years ago, one of the survivors of a horrific massacre set about trying to win justice for her murdered husband and scores of others, writes Savi Hensman. This brought her up against some of the most powerful – and ruthless – people in the state of Gujarat in India. But she persisted.
The Church of England’s decisions about women bishops are likely to have a major impact on its mission as well as its ministry, says Savi Hensman. If the church appears to be reluctant to accept and fully use women’s gifts, attempts to attract and involve more people across a wide age-range may be undermined.