Until very recently nobody took the ordination of women seriously and even in that most progressive of institutions, the Church of England, the principle of equality of the sexes had to be dragged out. Finally, in 2014, women could be made Bishops.
And while homosexuality is no longer officially a mortal sin, marriage is still only permitted between a man and a woman. The Church of England official website claims that “the law” prevent ministers of the Church of England from carrying out same-sex marriage. Which is only true if you close your eyes, cross your fingers and wish really hard, because the Church of England demanded the legislative ban, not the other way around.
Sex matters a great deal to the church, it seems. Until suddenly, it doesn’t.
Despite being crystal clear that they will not allow same sex marriage even for their own ministers, and openly discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation which is unlawful in any other setting. Despite fighting tooth and nail to prevent the ordination of women, the Church of England has embraced Gender Identity Ideology without so much as a murmur.
As long ago as 2018, in response to Teresa May’s Gender Recognition Act consultation, the Church of England said: "Trans people with gender recognition are already able to marry in our churches." In essence, the law of the land overrides the law of God as long as you have a GRC.
Even the daughter of the late Desmond Tutu was prevented from leading her godfather’s funeral by the Church of England because she is married to a woman. Presumably she would have been permitted to conduct the service if one of them had changed their “legal sex”.
The contradictory ideas demanded are likely a piece of cake for those who can embrace the five guiding principles that accompanied the ordination of female Bishops. These principles demand that all orders are unequivocally open to all “without reference to gender”, whilst at the same time enabling those do not support the ordination of women “to flourish”. Doublespeak to make Orwell proud.
The Anglican Rector Rachel Mann has certainly flourished within this new progressive version of the church – even being elected to the Church Synod. As a Theologian he focusses on feminist/queer liturgical theology, naturally.
Nor does Bingo Allison, the Church of England’s first nonbinary “genderqueer” vicar, appear to have suffered any career setbacks in the 7 years since he announced his new identity.
It’s tempting to write these off as outliers. Vicars have often been colourful characters in the past, and many will, of course, reflect societal fashions. That some clerics have the same foibles as the rest of society comes as no great surprise. They can still be good at their jobs. But there’s more to it than that because the Church has embraced this ideology with a religious fervour.
Last year things became overtly religious as some churches started to run Transgender Day of Remembrance services. The “marginalisation and oppression” of people who claim a transgender identity is itself an article of faith, because the idea that they are being murdered for being transgender is fantasy. Not a single trans identified person has been killed in the UK since 2015, and the analysis repeatedly shows that those who identify as transgender are one of the safest demogra
And it’s not just Transgender Day of Remembrance either. The teachings and iconography of Queer Theory have been enthusiastically embraced by some parish priests.
Even my local church in rural Somerset flew the progress flag from the church tower during Pride Month.
Of course, this has been imported from the United States where The Church has travelled further down this path than in the UK, and has already reached the point that “trans lives are sacred”.
Many of these men discover their “inner woman” only after having a family. But while the Anglican Church is supporting – even elevating – men with special identities, it shows no curiosity at all about the impact “transition” has on their wives and families.
Imagine how traumatising it must be to find out that the woman your husband leaves you for is himself. And on top of that, if your Church recognises his new “legal sex” but does not recognise same sex marriage then, by definition, your marriage is no longer valid in its eyes.
That must be devastating even for woman who are not particularly devout.
So, for more than 2,000 years the church knew exactly which sex could not be ordained. But now that women are being treated equally (in principle, at least), the church is fully accepting of “male women” to the point of sanctifying them.