Monday, 16 November 2009

Job vacancy No.197: Religious Leader – Men Only

All of a sudden my wife considers herself to be a seasoned blogger. I gather that her post on Saturday achieved double my average 'hit rate'. As a result she has now concluded that she might have found her new ‘calling’.

I cannot begin to describe the fuss she made on Saturday morning when I begged her to stand in for me. I was a little indisposed after a reunion dinner at my old Cambridge College. And I genuinely thought it might entertain Lady Ivana to do something other than tend her flowers for once. She grudgingly accepted and rattled off an article that in no way adequately addressed the concerns that I’d hoped to raise about ‘broken Britain’. She practically exonerated the wretched Messrs. Cowell and Hirst for their degenerate output and fell back on that old chestnut of ‘human nature’.

Anyway, I thought that this was the end of it. But no, come this morning, she wanted to do another post. I probed her sudden enthusiasm for blogging, and she told me that it was to do with the revelation in the Sunday newspapers of the identity of some strumpet who goes by the name of ‘Belle du Jour’. Lady Trencherman has decided that this might be a good time to start blogging about her own past, and she would like to focus primarily on the years that she spent in Hollywood, California. She thinks that she might capitalize on this Belle girl’s publicity and use the blog to depict some of the matinee idols and film producers with whom she became intimate during her years there. Quite what this has got to do with anything at all in the world of blogging, I am really rather uncertain. It is all terribly, terribly perplexing as I had no idea whatsoever that she’d hung out with ‘film people’, or that she had anything remotely interesting to reveal about her past.

Anyway, in the end I put my foot down and told her that I had plans of my own today. Her revelations would have to wait. I had far weightier issues to consider.

You see, there is a question that I have wanted to pose for quite some time - and one that few people appear terribly bothered about right now. That is: Why is it that religious organizations – be they Catholic, CofE, Jewish or Muslim - in this egalitarian nation of ours are exempt from the 1975 sex discrimination act? Why, after all these years, after all the debates about sexual discrimination over the past decades, are they still allowed to bar women from becoming religious leaders: priests, pastors, ministers, rabbis… or God forbid, Bishops?

I will not dwell on this point for too long as I am told by the people who run this website that nothing is more likely to turn readers off than a post on religion and religious practice. But I will ask this: Why is it, when the Church of England has voluntarily walked away from this exemption is it deemed appropriate for other religious groups to carry on this discrimination?

And equally important, given that we have a Labour government that includes supposed egalitarian firebrands such as the delightful and fragrant Harriet Harperson, why are not more women MPs up in arms, literally shouting from the rooftops of Westminster about this last bastion of discriminatory practices? Why isn’t this great, progressive Labour party of ours currently considering legislation to ensure that everyone, man and woman, has access to every available job in any given organization, commercial, public sector, charity or faith orientated?

My wife, Lady Ivana, who claims to be the grand-daughter of a suffragette no less, may wish to carry on about her baffling experiences in LA-LA land or whatever it is she calls it. But I feel that it is incumbent upon me to consider the questions that are of real import to women here and anywhere else where hypocrisy and humbug do prevail. I hope that this will spark some debate. And if the owners of this blog site truly find that their ‘site stats’ have gone down as a result of my very brief and not irrelevant question, then I do indeed apologize. Maybe they can then ask Lady Ivana to return to the helm in order to get ‘em up again. (The site stats, that is.)
By guest blogger Lord Trencherman of Furmity