The Bishop of Hereford Anthony Priddis announced his resignation this week. He has cited, in part, the refusal of the Church of England to accept women bishops in his making this decision. On the surface he appears to be painting himself as a liberal minded Christian and has received sympathy and respect in standing up against the Church establishment.
But Mr Priddis seems to think we have short memories. Back in 2007 he was voted Bigot of the Year by Stonewall. This was after he was found guilty of ‘discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation’ following his refusal to employ an openly gay youth worker. During a so-called job interview Priddis subjected the applicant to a series of humiliating questions about his past relationships. Clearly his ‘liberal’ views don’t extend to gay people.
But it comes as no surprise that a religious leader is a hypocrite. Just look at the Catholic church. You could laugh at this sex-obsessed fear-mongering religion if it wasn’t for the pain and suffering caused by those in power. Christian leaders don’t have the the monopoly on hypocrisy. Both Jewish and Islamic leaders will preach love and tolerance while suppressing the rights of women in the name of religion.
We are in no way claiming that all religious people are closet bigots like Priddis. On the contrary, the vast majority of people who subscribe to organised religions are probably lovely tolerant people. But they are lovely and tolerant in spite of their religion, not because of it. And it’s because of them that people like Priddis or Keith O’Brian, or even Abu Hamza and Rabbi Noson Leiter can continue to chat their shit.
We look forward to the day when people realise they can be decent human beings without needing the crutch of religion to prop up their morals. But until that day people like Priddis deserve to be shown for the charlatans they are.