Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

My letter published in the Guardian on Celibate civilly partnered gay bishops.

Posted in Letter in Guardian on civilly partnered bishops being celibate by sheelanagigcomedienne on January 10, 2013

Here is my letter dated 8th January 2015 (which was published without having to sign it Keith Flett!) on the crazy statement by the Rev Fraser that civilly partnered gay bishops be celibate and that they should LIE about it.  I had referred to him as the ‘loose canon’ and Guardian spokesperson for the Cof E . I have little time for the ‘street friendly’ sloganed t-shirt wearing  vicar who is a self confessed ex-atheist who saw the light when the Jesus man came a visiting.

Inevitably, I find him smug and contradictory as an apologist for the C of E. I greatly resented that he had been given a regular column in the Guardian for a few years as an exponent and commentator for the established church whilst humanists and atheists are not given this opportunity.  In  his column on Saturday 23rd June he admitted that used his dog collar as a pass ‘access all areas’ in hospitals. Obviously, I was riled by his gloating about his C of E privilege and shocked that he could turn up unannounced at someone’s hospital beside AND in his own words ‘not unlike a visit from the grim reaper’. He was vicar of St. Mary’s Putney and organised an event commemorating The Putney Debates that I attended sporting his preferred blokey gear of jeans and T- shirt – on that occasion it was was one proclaiming himself an Obama supporter.

I was disappointed that Giles Fraser  didn’t explain the thinking behind the latest pronouncement. As an atheist indoctrinated in Catholicism about sex and the varieties of sin – venal, mortal and original – I am not familiar with Protestant doctrine on sex, except for the preference for the missionary position for heterosexual couplings. As marriage/civil partnerships are legal contracts to allow for sexual relationships, this latest statement from the Church of England is an oxymoron. Fraser’s solution seems to be a typical C of E botch, just lie – in the same way some parents do when trying to get their child into a C of E school. I wonder what the supreme governor of the church thinks about this latest own goal in her church’s effort to alienate women, who are barred from becoming bishops because they are inferior, and gay people, whose sexual activity is regarded as wrong/dirty. Surely this is bringing us nearer to disestablishment?
Jeanne Rathbone


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