by Rob | Permalink

Reporting the Vote on Women Bishops in the Church of England

A very brief note on the reporting of the recent vote on whether women should be allowed to become bishops in the Church of England.

Understandably, there has been a considerable amount of angst about the vote’s failure to pass. However, I was slightly surprised by the reporting of the issue, which has focused almost exclusively on the supporters of the motion rather than those opposed. The BBC headlines have described how Archbishop Sentamu believes there will be “women bishops in my lifetime”, how the new Archbishop of Canterbury regards it as a “grim day”, and the “tears and anger” provoked by the vote.

The result is of course controversial, and to be frank, is not one I’m personally very happy about. The vote may well have been stopped by a minority of votes*, but I’m still keen to hear more from the other side.

* For the motion to have passed, two thirds needed to vote in favour. I realise I am simplifying a bit here.

Update 22/11/12: See Thomas’s comment for a more informed view of things!

1 comment

  1. I think the balance of reporting has been reasonably in proportion to the balance of opinions within the Church: it being the Church of England there are probably a lot of people who are rather indifferent, but out of those that have strong opinions it seems that the split is overwhelmingly in favour.

    Broadly speaking there are two factions in the C of E that are opposed to women in leadership: these are the most conservative evangelicals, and the Anglo-Catholics. However even among these groups, the idea that there should be no female bishops at all is still a fairly minority view: the issue is about how female bishops can be introduced (as Synod has already resolved to do), whilst respecting those whose theology wouldn’t allow them to accept female bishops’ authority. What happened in Synod this week was not so much the Synod’s rejection of female bishops but a minority blocking a motion because they weren’t happy about some of the specifics.

    I think the reporting reflects the balance of opinions pretty well: the vast majority are disappointed that the motion didn’t pass (and by the way in which it failed); there has been some mention of the opposing viewpoint, but as it’s such a minority view, it would probably distort the reporting to give it much more prominence.

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