Freedom? Not in Britain if you want to be a bishop

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This week I might dye my hair pink. I might get a tattoo or another piercing.

And I might decide that the next person I marry is a woman.

In fairness, I won’t do any of those things, mainly because I like being brunette, I don’t want a tattoo, I wear enough jewellery and, er, I like boys.

But the point here is that if I wanted to do all those things, I could.

Unlike Dana Bakdounis.

She is a 21-year-old Saudi Arabian woman whose picture has been around the world, because she dared to bare her hair in support of the Syrian uprising.

Dana was brought up in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, where to walk around without her hair covered would be unthinkable.

In fact, so strict are society’s rules on what she should wear that her mother has received death threats over the issue.

But why should we care? Surely that’s what happens to those who live far away and whose society and religion is a little different to ours?

Well, no. Because in this country, right now, women are being treated differently because of their sex.

For us it’s not about how we live, or what we look like.

No. Instead we’re forbidden – absolutely prohibited – from becoming bishops, because the Church of England said so. They had a vote on it and everything.

Now I don’t want to be a bishop. But, like I don’t want to dye my hair pink, I’d like to live in a country – nay, a world – where I could if I wanted.

Locally, our church leaders were pretty much in favour of female bishops, with Chichester the exception.

Those against it quote the Bible, where Paul says: ‘I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man’.

Well that’s fine. I don’t want to boss blokes about, but I’d like to be treated as their equal.

They also say it goes against 2,000 years of Christian tradition to allow women to be elevated to such ranks.

Would that be the Christian tradition that syphilitic, womanising Henry VIII upheld so rigorously when he formed the Church of England, just so he could get a divorce?

Time for a religious re-think, I feel.


I suppose I should start with an introduction...and an apology.

They say you should never talk about religion or politics around the dining table. Well if The News is my dining table, then this column just broke that cardinal rule.

And in my first column for the paper, too.

But don’t worry. As a semi-keen runner, a very keen wine drinker and a single girl-about-town, I’m sure there’ll be a lot of different things for me to talk about.

I’m also the business editor for The News and, as I’m Pompey born-and-bred, I have the tough task of being a fan of our local football club.

So that’s me, and if you want to find out more, keep reading every Monday, write to me at The News, e-mail me at or find me on Twitter using @pn_emma_judd


A week ago The News reported that fake Mumford & Sons tickets were being sold ahead of the band’s gig at the Guildhall.

But despite the warnings, around 100 people were stopped from going to the gig as they had fake tickets.

Now they bought those tickets online, from what they thought was a reputable agent.

But when you stump up £200 for a ticket with a face-value of £23.50, alarm bells should really be ringing.

I do feel for these people, because it can’t have been fun to be thrown out on your ear.

But I say always buy through a band’s website. And if it’s not worth you spending a frantic 30 minutes trying to get Ticketmaster to work, like when I wanted to get Stone Roses tickets, then you don’t really want to go.