The Church of England recently decided that ladies should not be able to become bishops because they would turn the Church into a period-stained Cosmopolitan-swilling episode of Sex and the City, or something.
Now, Bristol University's Christian Union has decided that women shouldn't have the right to speak at their weekly meetings. (Update: the ban isn't new. See below. However, they will be allowed to speak occasionally at other times, or if accompanied by a husband. Yay?
A tipster sent us an email that Christian Union president Matt Oliver sent regarding the Lady Epidemic that has been taking over the world. It declares:
The decision made was that, because the CU is not a church and because we unite around the core truths of the gospel, it is ok for women to teach in any CU setting...However, we understand that this is a difficult issue for some and so decided that women would not teach on their own at our weekly CU:Equip meetings,as the main speaker on our Bristol CU weekend away, or as our main speaker for mission weeks, but a husband and wife can teach together in these.
International secretary James Howlett was so dissatisfied with this conclusion — he wanted the CU to bar women from teaching Bible study in any CU setting, which they did not, because they are such kind and giving people who accept that sometimes women exist and want to do things — that he decided to step down from his role on the board. According to the email, "James feels he cannot support this decision on women teaching in CU and therefore feels that he can no longer be on the exec, in a position of responsibility for it, and so has decided it best to step down. He is still completely committed to the CU, its vision and partnering with us as we continue to hold out the gospel to our campus, and will continue heading up our international work."
We send our deepest sympathies to all of the women involved in James's life, including those who are forced to engage in even the most minor of interactions with him, because what if a woman accidentally dared to whisper "hello" or "Your coffee will be £2.50, please" in his presence? He might spontaneously combust.
Grace, a 3rd year bio-chemist and practicing Christian, reminded The Tab Bristol student newspaper that the Bible teaches that all people are equal before God and that Jesus treated women as equals, too. Wait, Grace, did you say something? We can't hear your ladyvoice.
It was even worse than I thought:
"The article is embarrassing because its really inaccurate/WRONG! Firstly it states that the CU has just recently banned women speakers where as actually this has been the status quo for at least the last 7 years! What the exec of the CU have actually done is make the decision to ALLOW women speakers at CU in certain settings here is a quote from there society email:
"The decision made was that, because the CU is not a church and because we
unite around the core truths of the gospel, it is ok for women to teach in
any CU setting. However, we understand that this is a difficult issue for
some and so decided that women would not teach on their own at our weekly
CU:Equip meetings, as the main speaker on our Bristol CU weekend away or as
our main speaker for mission weeks, but a husband and wife can teach
together in these. This means that women are able to teach (including on
their own) in any other CU setting."
Considering that no women speakers were allowed before this I think this decision represents a step forward by the CU not a step back! Also an exec member stepped down because they felt they couldn't be responsible for this decision, bearing in mind that the status quo was no women speakers at all, this resignation supports the no women camp rather than the majority which supported the decision for women speakers."
From the Bristol Tab's Catherine Evans:
I wrote an article for the Bristol Tab about this issue which I think has been used as the basis for several others. I wrote my article following a discussion with a member of the CU executive committee, and reading an email circulated by the president. I unintentionally misrepresented the actions of the CU by assuming that this was a new ban, where as apparently it women have been banned from speaking at all CU events for the last seven years, and they are now allowed to speak at some.
Image via pjhpix/Shutterstock.