Giles Fraser, writing in today’s Guardian, has said what I had been tempted to say but for strategic reasons, suppressed. Giles puts it much better, and reaches the conclusion that no-one will now listen, nor accept, the arguments that conservative evangelicals will continue to advance against gay marriage.
Here’s an excerpt from Giles’s article:
“What happened at the General Synod is that a dogmatic minority of biblical literalists and an even smaller minority of Roman Catholic wannabes – both of whom, for entirely different reasons, reject women as church leaders – have been appeased in the name of some twisted version of inclusion.
“We have been encouraged, not least by Rowan Williams, to feel their pain. For without any sense of irony, they have laughably claimed it is they who are the subject of discrimination. This is simply pathetic.
“The suicidal stupidity of voting against female bishops has further discredited an organisation that has been haemorrhaging credibility for years.
“With the failure of this compromise, there is little prospect of liberals playing ball again. They won’t say this out loud. But the truth is: next time it is all or nothing. Women must be bishops on exactly the same terms as men or not at all. Forget all that stuff about this not being a zero-sum game. Now it is.
“On the positive side – and I am working hard to find a silver lining to all of this – it is unlikely that the Church of England will be able to wield as much clout against the idea of gay marriage. With its moral credibility so badly shot, why should anyone now listen?”
As I’ve read reports and listened to today’s news, the pressure on the Church of England has continued to increase dramatically. Equality for women is now being linked to full equality for LGB&T people and there is a determined majority in Parliament and congregations that will pursue both goals. This is what those who voted no on Tuesday have achieved – the total opposite of what they expected. Funny how God works when the Spirit is unleashed by the unexpected.