There now follows an extract from a recent Radio 4 programme by Mr Andrew Marr. * **
This unbroadcast segment from a Start the Week interview was with Gordon and Muriel Wellbeloved, members of the House of Laity within the Church of England.
Marr Well, good morning both and I’ll get right to the point – the House of Laity appears to have scotched the Archbishop elect’s plans to have women bishops.
Gordon [for it is he] I think Muriel should answer that.
Muriel Lovely scones.
Marr Thank you
Muriel I like a good scone.
Marr But you don’t like the idea of women bishops?
Muriel No I certainly don’t, do I, Gordon?
Gordon No you don’t, Muriel.
Muriel I mean, its not natural is it? God’s a man.
Marr Well, I don’t know how you can know that frankly, but the head of the Anglican Church, Her Majesty the Queen, is a woman, is she not?
Muriel Well, yes, but I’m not THAT keen on having a woman king, quite honestly.
Marr So you’re opposed to women holding high office of any sort?
Muriel Yes. Women are the home-makers, the carers of children, the creators of good scones … and these really are very good.
Marr Well thank you again, but …
Muriel Who made them?
Muriel Yes. I bet it was a woman.
Marr I’m at a loss what to say …
Gordon [for it is he] That makes a change. Fnaar.
Marr I mean, the Anglican Church has for years striven to achieve sexual equality in its clerical structure and now …
Muriel Oooh, I don’t care for that word at all, do I, Gordon?
Gordon No you don’t, Muriel.
Muriel And I’ll tell you another thing: I’m not keen on women vicars either. Just a load of man-ladies if you ask me. I mean, just look at their haircuts – all short back and sides, parading about the place reciting the holy words like God the Father, see? The Father! Its not God the Mother is it?
Marr So you see women in an entirely subservient role?
Muriel I never said that!
Gordon No, she didn’t
Muriel Quiet, Gordon! But no, I do not. Men like to be top dog. They like to be boss. Gordon likes to be boss, don’t you, Gordon? Gordon’s a Mason and wears silly praphernalia, don’t you, Gordon?
Gordon Yes I do, Muriel.
Muriel And I allow him to demonstrate to the outside world that he IS the boss. He is allowed to choose which hat to wear and which route we take to church. Aren’t you, Gordon?
Gordon Yes, Muriel.
Muriel So it follows that bossy roles in our church should be fulfilled by men, thoughtfully assisted by women who can organise cake sales and collections for the needy of the parish.
Marr So it might be imagined that your vision of a perfect Anglican church is closer to Rome with its male head and male clergy?
Muriel To the papists? Never! Can’t be doing with all that Latin mumbo-jumbo and all their miracles. You just don’t know where you are with them with their Virgin Birth nonsense. No, but I just know in my bones that a man should be boss, don’t I, Gordon?
Gordon Yes you do, mine own, so that you can help us be the sort of boss you think a boss should be.
Muriel Careful, Gordon
Marr Well sadly, we’re out of time, and I notice, scones.
* As heard by Bill Stott
** Mr Marr denies everything