After seeing off the prospect of Women Bishops in the Church of England, news has come in that Bristol University has joined the fray as it’s Christian Union (BUCU) banned women from preaching or teaching at its events.
According to the Huffington Post, the BUCU President, Matt Oliver has written to all CU members saying that they have “decided that women would not teach on their own at our weekly CU meetings, as the main speaker on our Bristol CU weekend away, or as our main speaker for mission weeks.”Conservatives have expressed delight at this forthright stand on Biblical principles in excluding those not worthy of teaching in the church. One such traditionalist said, “Now at last we are getting somewhere. For years we have been on the run but now Biblical teaching is making a come-back. Banning women speakers is the first step back to a well ordered Christian society where women know their place. The Bible says that women will be ‘saved by child-bearing’(1 Timothy 2:15) and it’s about time they got back to this central role. I, for one, would be happy to help!”
But there has been disquiet among some who are still worried that BUCU is going wooly. There have been suggestions that a woman may speak if she is accompanied by her husband and they teach together – a dangerous compromise according to some.Others are less impressed – and have described this decision as obscene, hugely discriminatory, deeply offensive, and sexist. There have been suggestions that that if the Christian Union wants to be so forthright in their stand against women, they should change their name from the ‘Bristol University Christian Union (BUCU) to the ‘Forthright University Christian Union.’ (FUCU).
Rumours that conservatives responded to this by saying ‘Amen’ have been strongly denied.But elsewhere in Bristol this week, a very different message has been agreed. Bristol Diocesan Synod has passed a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the General Synod’s ability to enact ‘the clear will of the church’ on Women Bishops, pointing out that 42 of the 44 Dioceses of the Church of England voted clearly in favour of women’s leadership.
Perhaps the tide has not fully turned…