Thursday, 15 October 2009

Equal Pay Day

The Fawcett Society promotes 30 October as Equal Pay Day.

Ekklesia has published an article Women’s dignity and the church’s tainted love by Fran Porter which discusses the relationship between this and the Church of England, including, but not limited to, the issue of women as bishops.

…For those who argue that opposing women bishops is not about the secular discourse of equality but about the theological discourse of faith, the two issues of the gender pay gap and women’s potential inclusion to the episcopate do not speak to each other. Indeed, it may be possible to support the former while opposing the latter.

The Church of England has excluded its own governance and practice from equality legislation by claiming the Section 19 exemption for organised religions in the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act, which already means women clergy (deacons and priests) are not covered by the legal employment protections of that Act.

In particular, a Parochial Parish Council (PCC) can advertise for male clergy only to apply for vacancies of incumbent, curate or non-stipendiary minister and may also ban a woman priest from celebrating the Eucharist within parish boundaries. [3]

More generally, the language of equality is not a first language for theology or more specifically theological anthropology; Christian understanding of human beings and how they relate to one another is expressed in language of human personhood created in the image of God more than it is through modern sensibilities of equality. Equality is not irrelevant, but it has a derivative value.

Hence, for Christians, the equality that human beings have with each other comes from their commonality in being creatures of the one Creator. The dignity of each human person comes from our being made in the image of God. Similarly, the inalienable rights that human beings possess without distinction, for Christians, are rooted in the understanding of God as Creator who bestows innate worth on humanity.

Yet this framework of personhood that enables those opposed to women bishops (and women priests) to argue that their position is one of theology and faith (Jesus ordained and gave authority only to men) and not one of secular equality or justice [4], is the same framework in which those who support women’s ordination live and breath…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 15 October 2009 at 12:38pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation
Comments

The Great Loud Religious Voice, proclaiming that we are all innately valuable as humans created by the same, gracious Creator - is keenly contradicted by that other Great Loud Religious Voice which has long proclaimed that whites get to order people of color around, men get to lord it over any and all women of any and all ages, and straights get to vote about what sort of life (if any) queer folks get to imagine, let alone actually live out.

Push is coming to shove. One side erases, blanks out, and contradicts the other side. All of the alleged traditional reasons for the inferiority of people of color, women, queer folks - compared to the supers - have been ringing empty and mean-spirited for quite a while now.

Tinkling bells, ringing empty.

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 18 October 2009 at 7:41pm BST

"Hence, for Christians, the equality that human beings have with each other comes from their commonality in being creatures of the one Creator. The dignity of each human person comes from our being made in the image of God. Similarly, the inalienable rights that human beings possess without distinction, for Christians, are rooted in the understanding of God as Creator who bestows innate worth on humanity." - Fran Porter, article in Ekklesia -

What a good explanation of the commonality of our humanity in Christ. I really do believe that this is what Paul was enunciating (maybe even without fully understanding it's far-eaching implication at the time) when he wrote "In Christ, there is neither male nor female, Greek nor Jew, slave nor master.."

The Early Church still had difficulties with this prohetic utterance, maintaining, as it did, the distinct categories of male headship, early Jewish supremacy, and a continuing culture of slave and master. However, in succeeding eras of the Church; national boundaries were crossed, slaves were emancipated, and now the place of women in the Church is being recognised. In this latter culture of continued discrimination, it has been the Church which has had to learn from society how to emancipate the women in our ranks.
Let us not now miss this opportunity to affirm a situation that has already been recognised by the world at large.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 20 October 2009 at 3:20am BST
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