Twenty years ago today, the UK suffered a calamitous timeslip centred almost entirely around the mind of Reverend Anthony Kennedy, a 62 year old Anglican vicar. Infused by the spirit of the seventeenth century and the religious insanity that laid waste to the nation, Kennedy loudly decried the imminent ordination of women priests, and said that if he had his way, they would be burned at the stake.
You may be surprised to learn that I'm not making any of this up.
In only four days time, the first women would be ordained as priests in the Church of England. Previously, women had held a multiplicity of lesser positions, which the Rev. Kennedy had no issue with. As far as he was concerned, they could be deacons, prophets or healers and it was no skin off his nose. But to make them priests? God's blood, that was going too far!
He just couldn't see how a woman could represent Jesus at the altar, because he was absolutely certain that Jesus was a man. And of course Jesus didn't choose a single woman among the twelve apostles, and there was no one else present among his followers, right?
(unless they were called Mary, of course. But they don't count)
Because only a man can represent another man!
(unless the venue was a court of law, or parliament, or a theatre, or, well, basically anywhere)
But religion was different! Religion was special! And a penis was therefore absolutely essential!
(despite the fact that using a penis during a church service would probably be illegal...)
But to hell with that! If anyone without a penis wanted to officiate at the altar, Rev. Kennedy would happily shoot them. He did not, however, elaborate on whether this was to happen before or after the burning.
The C of E's director of communications said that the church had voted in favour of women priests, and if the Rev. Kennedy didn't like it, he could always take advantage of the generous financial provisions for those who wanted to leave. History does not record whether or not he was fingering the controls of a trap door at this point.
Of course, the Rev. Kennedy claimed he was speaking largely in jest, and that his parishioners found his insane, mysogynistic, violent and hatemongering outbursts amusing. A local woman who was looking forward to being ordained agreed that he might indeed be joking, and sent the troublesome priest a box of matches. As if to say: "Come and have a go if you think you're
hard enough blindly insane enough."
In these enlightened days, of course, everyone has long since realised that religion is a pointless waste of time and simply laughs at such silly things, which could never happen in our happy, modern world.
...Oh, wait. Bollocks.