Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Danger times for C of E

From the Daily Mail:

Church of England leaders warned yesterday that calling God "He" encourages men to beat their wives.

They told churchgoers they must think twice before they refer to God as "He" or "Lord" because of the dangers it will lead to domestic abuse.

In new guidelines for bishops and priests on such abuse, they blamed "uncritical use of masculine imagery" for encouraging men to behave violently toward women.

What's perhaps saddest about this story is that the recommendations have been "fully endorsed by Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams".

Conservatives within the Church of England really do have their work cut out for them. The leadership of their church has accepted feminist dogma linking both men and masculinity to domestic violence.

There have been criticisms of the policy from within the church. Simon Calvert from a grouping called the Christian Institute said:

They appear to suggest seriously that we should ditch many centuries of Judaeo-Christian teaching because of some half-baked feminist theory.

I hope these conservatives speak loudly now, because there is a danger that the church will lose some of its credibility in the eyes of its own rank and file and amongst the general public (just click the "read all letters" link following the article if you want to gauge the public response).

How can a church take aim at "masculinity" and still hope to keep large numbers of men within its ranks. Won't men simply drift away, as they have done from other left-wing institutions which have similarly adopted a feminist ideology hostile to men?

The C of E desperately needs to go exactly the other way. It needs to promote itself as a male-friendly place. It needs to place itself on especially good terms with those men, who having married and had children are concerned (out of a masculine sense of 'stewardship') that their families be positively influenced by the moral and spiritual teachings of a church.

Such men aren't looking for feminist rants against men and masculinity. Nor are they looking for a kind of intellectual atmosphere which might just as easily be found within the arts department of a modern university (in fact, within the women's studies department of a modern university).

The church needs to be seen as a different kind of institution, one not based on the secular ideologies of the day, but on something more than this; it needs to be seen as the defender of what is held to be truly important across the ages.


  1. Hmmm...

    I think perhaps you go too far, in that surely part of what the C of E is trying to do is move past the idea of male 'stewardship' of the family. This would reflect the reality in many families, and possibly bring more to the fold, if it were done without alienating males or playing silly semantics around the (linguistic) gender of God.

    Their misguided attempts to do exactly the above are what's at issue here, but it would be a great shame to abandon the objective, given the majority of the report in question is a genuine effort to (in most cases sensibly and even-handedly) get clergy to start dealing with the issue of domestic violence.

    What do you think of the goal, if not the attempt thereat?

  2. Have you read the actual pdf of the report, by the way, or just the hysterical cherry-picking reaction in the Daily Mail?

  3. fdb, I've read the pdf of the actual report. As the Daily Mail reported, it does include an attempt to inject feminist patriarchy theory into C of E theology.

    I disagree with your basic point. Men are stewards of their families; it's their primary responsibility.

    If anything, I'd like to see men hold to this role in a more fully developed and self-conscious way than many do today.

  4. Exactly.

    It "includes" references to such things, buried in an appendix. You are cherry-(or perhaps turd-)picking.

    I repeat, what do you think of the report generally? The motives therein?