Don’t cheer for Rachel Treweek as she takes up her unelected, theocratic position in the House of Lords. Chase her – and all of her fellow Lords Spiritual – out of Parliament and back to the pulpits where they belong
So let’s get this straight: Scottish National Party MPs are scolded and warned by the Speaker when they spontaneously applaud what they believe to be a good speech in the Commons chamber, because clapping is wrong and unbecoming. But today, peers give a standing ovation to the first female bishop to take her seat in the House of Lords, and that is A-OK?
The appointment of Rachel Treweek, Lord Bishop of Gloucester, to the red benches is nothing to celebrate. Don’t misunderstand – it’s great that the Church of England now allows women bishops, and some of the first female candidates appear to be excellent theologians and pastoral leaders.
But in every other respect, the enoblement of Rachel Treweek is just another case of the British theocracy doing what it always does – appointing clerics of the favoured national church to unelected positions of power and influence in the heart of our political system. Don’t expect us to cheer on this occasion just because the Lord Bishop in question is a woman. Our belief in equal rights and opportunities for women should not be so glib and superficial.