Janet Street Porter gives it to us straight re: the latest church argy-bargy over women bishops.
"Should we care what contorted antics pass for modern debate in a church most of us only occasionally make use of?...After all, if any other organisation in Britain did not give women full equality of opportunity, they would be taken to an industrial tribunal. Yet this mob use the name of God to perpetrate a clear injustice - who said that religion causes more divisions than anything else?"
As a committed atheist, I generally couldn't care less what concessions a cult responsible for justifiying ill-treatment of women and gays, encouraging population explosions and the spread of AIDS, masking child sexual abuse by its own members, and turning a blind eye to the various violent crusades made in its name, are making or failing to make to women. I have no respect for religion and don't see that I am obliged to pretend otherwise. I accept I have no right to oppress, abuse or discriminate against religious people (shame many of them do not feel the same about women, gays or whichever other group they've got a bee in their bonnet about this week). However, I utterly reject that religion should be the basis or justification for anyone else's whim to discriminate against a group they may have a beef with, and so I'm glad Ms Street-Porter is willing to go up against the PC brigade and say so. If you hate women or gays, just say it and don't hide behind a millennia-old book to justify it - I'll still think you're a vile idiot, but may have a smidge more respect for your honesty. I respect the validity of using religion as a basis for discrimination about as much as I respect the logic of a schizophrenic who stabs someone because the voices in their head told them to do it. So, sock it to them Janet.
"How can we talk about treating all religions with respect, if a large group of clerics in our own Church of England want to treat women and gays as second-class citizens?"
And wasn't it good old' JC himself who said 'you are neither slave nor free, Greek nor Hebrew, man nor woman, for you are all one in Christ?'. And never preached against homosexuality, or the equal status of women? Leave all the bile to the original hater, St Paul - he had a recurring need to put down those gays. Or maybe he was just a closet case. Would explain why he wasn't so sprung on the ladies either...
In other news, The Indy - which seems to be getting worryingly trashy with its excitable and detailed reporting of Max Mosley and Ronnie Wood's respective extra-marital shame - also ran an item on the increasing demand for male cosmetic surgery. According to the article, a Harley street clinic has reported a 51 per cent increase over the past year of men undergoing tummy tucks, 44 per cent increase in chin lifts, a 17 per cent increase in facelifts, and a 57 per cent increase in Botox treatments. Work pressures and having younger wives (?!) are cited in the article as the source of men's fears.
If I was one of those unfortunate ladies who jumped on the feminist bandwagon just to have an legitimate outlet for all my grievances against men, I might enjoy this article, find a sort of twisted justice in it. But I'm not in the sisterhood to bash men. It doesn't please me to hear that, instead of both sexes standing up and rejecting the bullshit that insists we mutilate our bodies and inject poison into our faces (because that's what Botox is, ladies and gents - a poison), the sex that was previously untouched by it, is falling under the axe too. Now men are becoming just as self-destructive as women in the quest for the body beautiful, should women see this as a victory? Couples discount at the Harley Medical Clinic - breast enlargement for her, penis augmentation for him, lobotomy for both? I don't think so. If my dad came home and announced he wanted Botox, after peeling my jaw off the floor (my dad is the type who will wear socks with sandals and be blissfully oblivious to any embarrassment he has caused to himself and those around him), I'd beg him to reconsider because, apart from it being medically dangerous and a huge waste of time and money, I'm not sure I could respect him. Enough damage has been wreaked on the psyches of women by the pointless expectations placed on their appearances - dragging men down to the same desperate level is only going to make us an even more wretched society than we're already becoming.
As in the words of those wonderful activists who slap stickers on adverts for cosmetic surgery that assault you as you're sweating your way up the escalators on the London Underground,
"YOU ARE NORMAL. THIS IS NOT."