A bit of a shock quite how extreme some people on the “traditionalist” wing of the CofE can actually be. You might assume that the most rabid English traditionalists had upped and left the CofE for the Catholic church (thinking of the likes of Anne Widdicombe, and ignoring the horrors of the wider anglican communion) ) and that the CofE was at least now a safe haven for standard liberal anglicans.
However, the BBC reported today that a female priest – who has already been forced to stop doing her job by a campaign of serious intimidation – has now found a death threat hidden in her Bible.
(Quick aside for the comedic value “hiding” a death threat in a church bible. It’s a church. I imagine the stupid bastard responsible for this threat sitting and waiting with malicious anticipation for the reading to be Mark 7 – or whatever- and getting really frustrated as the vicar plodded endlessly though Leviticus week after week.)
The intimidation against her began when she began leading services after the retirement of the previous parish priest………
Last year she was sent a series of hate letters and a burning candle was forced through the open window of her car.
Another candle was left burning in the porch of her house, causing logs stored there to ignite.
Rev Hobson decided to take break from her duties and the Rev Tim Heaney was appointed to the church in June. (from the BBC)
Hmm, that sounds like rewarding the lunatic who threatened her, although i can see that, faced with a death threat, she might not have had much choice.
The BBC webpage about this story has links to a few articles about similar incidents. In 2000, a University of Bristol study suggested that dealing with extreme opposition was a common experience for female priests.
Some have received hate mail, some been branded witches and some threatened with rape since the ordination of women priests started six years ago.
(I was distracted by the “branded witches” phrase. I assume that this is using the word “branding” in a metaphorical way, I haven’t yet seen an Anglican churchwoman with a giant “WITCH” word burned into her forehead. Although, I must admit that I very rarely see any clergy, so it may be a common sight.)
Allowing for hyberbole and the possibility that the University of Bristol study has inferred a more general opposition to females in the Anglican priesthood from a few anecdotes, it still seems as if there are a fair number of English anglicans whose views on women would let them fit right in with the Taliban.
Blimey, doesn’t religion bring out the best in people?