The most tragic thing for the Church of England after it voted against allowing women to become bishops is that the result didn’t really lead to much of a reaction from the population at large. There were no outraged protests, few condemning editorials, and little genuine interest on social media.

And if the vote had gone the other way, it is my feeling that again the reaction would have been somewhat muted. Put simply, the Church of England has little relevance in the lives of more than 98% of the population.

The fact that the majority of Synod members voted to allow women to become bishops speaks volumes of the conservatism at the heart of the institution – it doesn’t even represent the views of its members. When broken down, the results make for some interesting reading. The Houses of Bishops and Clergy voted overwhelmingly for the motion. However it was the House of Laity, at 132 votes for and 74 against who spoiled the party. At 64%, just six more ‘yes’ votes were  needed to pass the motion. So it was a close run thing.

…the teachings of inclusivity, love, and equality…

I do feel sorry for the CoE. They have been taken hostage by a group of radicals; fundamentalists out of touch not only with modern society, but also apparently with the teachings of inclusivity, love, and equality that their own religion professes to espouse.

In many respects, the church faces a similar issue with gay marriage. And yet I can appreciate, -if not agree- with conservatives being opposed to gay marriage, only for the reason that the wider institutions of our society are ashamedly not yet at the stage when gay people are given total equality.

…the Church of England is alone as ‘major’ institution…

But I thought we had passed the stage were there was a genuine, institutional problem with the role that women play in society.  Sexism undoubtedly continues and the press often report on the lack of female participate in executive roles in the major FTSE 100 companies. And yet the Church of England is alone as ‘major’ institution in passing legislation that prevents female participation. And all this happens in the context of the biggest irony of them all — Queen Elizabeth II, a woman by all accounts- is the official Supreme Governor of the Church of England.This being the case, the Church of England is therefore also the official church in England and the official representation of the people of England. How depressing.

The vote has been a shot in the head for the CoE, it is the nail in the coffin. Indeed clichés are the only way of doing justice to the situation. Now let us take this as a watershed moment, a point when as a nation, the UK can move beyond an adherence to the archaic demands of out dated sects.

…this should be a private affair…

People have faith in many different forms, and they should be allowed to practise these in the ways they wish.  And yet this should be a private affair. Organised religion is not longer fit for a role in the affairs of state, be they ceremonial or otherwise.

It has long been outrageous that of the 44 diocesan archbishops and bishops in the Church of England, 26 are permitted to sit in the House of Lords. Last weeks vote was proof that members of the CoE, despite their own private views, are not fit to represent the views of the people of Britain in the House of Lords. If any good has come out of the vote, let it be realisation that our democracy is being challenged by the views of a minority who are wielding far too much power. Change is in order.

About The Author

History undergraduate at King's College London. Main interests in diplomacy and international relations but also enjoy writing about home affairs.

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