Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, here we go again. As though there aren’t more important matters in the world to be concerned about, The Episcopal church (ie Church of England for those not in the know) in America is kicking up a veritable storm at the proposed ordination of a woman bishop – worse still, heavens to Betsy, a lesbian! Can you believe that? A lesbian of all things! I wonder if there are any short lists in heaven for lesbians. The archbishop of Canterbury has warned it will create an even deeper fission in the church if it goes ahead but I wouldn’t take too much notice of his opinion. Isn’t he the one who said the UK should have Sharia law? But in a way he is right. Look what has happened down the ages when schisms have been created in the Christian church. Come to think of it, Islam has its own problems with Sunni versus Shia. Religion and the religious are truly a dire pain in the poepal. Look what happened to those sensible Albigenses. The Albigenses taught that there is no virtue of which we can wholly approve and no vice which we can wholly condemn. The Troubadours attacked in song the fundamental beliefs of Christians (for Christian read Roman Catholic doctrine) and waged bitter war against the clergy, not without considerable justification, many of whom they felt were violating the principles of their own religion. The result? Anathema from a thousand pulpits and the recruiting of a large army under Simon de Montfort and the papal Legate. The Albigenses, whose religious beliefs were sincerely held, put their castles, giving shelter to vassals and retainers, into a state of defence and waited. The crusaders were merciless. They besieged towns and castles and slaughtered the inhabitants or burnt them at the stake. Province was laid waste, and in the desolate land there was no one left to listen to the singing of the troubadours about the pleasures of love. In the latter part of the thirteenth century, one Guiraut Riquier, the last of the troubadours, found protection in Spain (before the inquisition took its turn and its toll obviously) and sadly he sang ‘Song should express joy, but sorrow oppresses me and I have come into the world too late.’
The election of Mary Glasspool – a jolly looking fella judging by her photograph - who has been with her partner Becki for 22 years - represents a snub by the liberal Episcopal Church to Anglicans elsewhere. The Communion has never recovered from the crisis prompted by the election in New Hampshire of Gene Robinson as its first openly gay bishop in November 2003. The Episcopal Church at first agreed to suspend the creation of gay bishops but reversed that decision last July so good luck to you Mary dear. Life is not a bed of roses and you have to watch out for the pricks of which there are far too many.
PS: Evidently there are already 85 secret Sharia courts in the Uk. All illegal of course but no doubt they will be left alone to go their merry way. Mustn’t upset the ultra sensitive Muslim community. Christians on the other hand don’t matter so much any more – Christmas is cancelled, no more school nativity plays in case it upsets the Muslims but you will notice no Muslim or Jewish festival is cancelled in case it upsets the Christians. Like I said, religion is a right pain the arse.