Anglican Samizdat

August 17, 2009

George Pitcher: pitching pot shots

Filed under: Anglican — David @ 12:30 pm
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Recently, a British MP “stormed out” of a Muslim wedding because the men and women were segregated; unsurprisingly, his action has resulted in heated debate on both sides of the issue. One of the more parochial opinions has come from a liberal Anglican priest:

First, would he have walked out of a Christian wedding, in a catholic or evangelical church that subscribes to scriptural injunctions regarding the inferiority of women? Before we get too smug about Muslim gender segregation, let’s remember that St Paul was no slouch when it came to apparent misogyny. Take a look at Ephesians 5:23 (”The man is the head of the woman”) or 1 Corinthians 14 (”Let the women keep silent in churches…For it is a disgrace for a woman to speak in church.”).

Paul was of course a Jew in a very patriarchal society and his social attitudes must be seen in that context. Some biblical scholars claim that the women of his age were not educated and couldn’t understand the Greek in which church services were conducted, so they sat together and chatted. Paul wanted them to keep quiet. So it wasn’t so much an issue of religious discrimination as lack of education. Or “education, education, education” as Mr Fitzpatrick’s Government would have it.

George Pitcher is an Anglican priest in the CofE and evidently has a very narrow, illiberal view of conservatives Christians. The bible does indeed prescribe different roles for men and women, but no Christian denomination, conservative or otherwise, thinks that the exhortation is a result of women’s “inferiority”.

Pitcher surely knows this but seems to be determined to use any opportunity to take poorly aimed pot-shots at Christians who believe what he is paid to believe, but apparently doesn’t.

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