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CHURCH PLAYING GOD WITH SEXES.

Byline: FionaPhillips

IN the immortal words - well, sort of - of Alastair Campbell, I don't do God.

I believe in good Christian values, but I'd rather call them the best human values - humility, compassion, etc.

I have great respect for the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, whom I've met a couple of times. I admire his compassion, his sense of justice and his striving for equality, but I think it was probably his upbringing that made him like that, not a calling from God.

As a child my mum dragged me to church. I went to Sunday school and I was confirmed in a white crimplene dress handmade by mum, but I never did tell her that I was only in it for a sip of wine from the Holy Communion chalice and those rice-paper discs, masquerading as bread.

sg Mum was God-fearing and if she'd been a Catholic she'd have had Catholic guilt. And there you have the foundations of religion - fear and guilt.

And it's fear that's at the root of the scary Church of England vote to perpetuate institutional sexism by denying women the right to become bishops.

Why do the blokes in frocks fear women in frocks so much? Because, in common with many other institutionalised religions, the Church of England sees women as second class citizens, while knowing that they're not.

Apart, perhaps, from David Cameron's inner-circle, the Church of England is one of the very few men-only clubs left in the UK. If it wants to find credibility it needs to get in touch with the world down here, as well as the imaginary one in the sky.

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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion, Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 24, 2012
Words:279
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