Scintillatingly Rev and non-female Philip North, Bishop of Burnley and not Bishop of Sheffield

The murder of Sarah Everard is all the more shocking because of the abuse of trust and power. As a divinely appointed representative of a church that has never abused its trust or its power, I can tell you that the Invisible Magic Friend is very, very angry about this. He’s so angry that he’s sent me to you to tell you how angry he is.

8 thoughts on “Scintillatingly Rev and non-female Philip North, Bishop of Burnley and not Bishop of Sheffield

  1. “Whatever lessons that can be learned from the awful case of a poor young lady’s rape and murder by a serving police officer are already contained in the bible.

    So any enquiries or investigations can save themselves a lot of bother by just referring to the extraordinarily profound and insightful bible story of King David and how he made my IMF angry, so my IMF sent one of his messengers to tell King David what a bad man he was, so bad that the IMF cast a fatal illness on his completely innocent child, which of course parallels the terrible circumstances of Sarah Everard’s murder perfectly”.


      1. As North says, “Maybe this appalling tragedy will be a time when all who hold positions of trust can stop to reflect on how they use the power they have been given”. Perhaps those in positions of trust who still rely on ancient out of date texts to define their moralities need to be the ones reflecting, especially the ones who use old religious texts to deny women equal rights in all areas of society.


  2. Well, if the Bishop is going to tug at that particular thread, I’m happy to go on pulling.

    Philip North was (is) a staunch member of the movement against women’s ordination. Those opposed drew the core of their argument from their BBOMS – no women amongst Jesus’ disciples etc etc. Similar groups who have stood in the way of women expressing themselves; having the vote; holding office; accessing basic education; attending university; entering the ‘professions’; owning property and just about anything except having babies, have largely been underpinned by North’s BBOMS and the mores and laws derived from its precepts. Heavy reliance, of course, always lay with St Paul, and his apologist Augustine; both haters of women; but much of what your man Jesus said was just as damning.

    Should we be surprised then, that (a) women have for centuries been considered weak, unintelligent, fit only to serve the needs of men; and to be property, baby machines, and objects of lust and targets of non-consensual sex, and (b) that it has taken so long for this attitude to change, and usually in the face of fierce opposition from religious groups including North’s C of E.

    North’s church managed to reach the 1920s before it suggested that ‘to obey’ might be an optional vow (on the woman’s part) in the marriage service; it ordained its first women priests in 1992. The English Prayer Book still carries a ceremony for ‘the purification of women after childbirth’ (called ‘Churching’) based on the OT declaration that menstruating women and those who have given birth are ‘unclean.’

    The recent murder, and the betrayal of trust that North highlights, is a particularly horrific one. But the additional, sickening fact that the perpetrator was a Police Officer ought not to obscure the fact that, even now, women cannot walk the streets confident of being unmolested, and much of the reason behind that fact is the historic religious devaluation of women in society.


  3. Well said Liverpudlian.

    Philip North’s IMF wasn’t that bothered about killing innocent people when it ordered the Israelites to exterminate the Hittites, or the Amalekites, or the people of Jericho. Once or twice the women were lucky enough to be taken as concubines, but mostly they were ordered to be put to death, along with their husbands, children and livestock.

    The IMF of the ‘Hebrew Scriptures’ and of Philip North was pretty keen on interfering in the world when it wanted to. So where was it when Sarah Everard was abducted and murdered? Sitting and watching, as usual. The one thing that all crimes and atrocities have in common is that the IMF never, ever, lifts a finger to stop them. Pretending that it’s going to get very angry afterwards is no excuse.

    The bottom line is that the IMF doesn’t exist; and and the only way to achieve trust, justice and the other things that North was flannelling on about is to take responsibility for them ourselves.


  4. Whether North talks about the displeasure of his impotent IMF or something cherry-picked from his BBoMS or abuse of authority (as per Rev Dr Peter above, careful when opening that can of worms, Bish), he’s not convincing anyone that he or the CofE can help prevent repetition of the dreadful crimes against Sarah Everard.


  5. As usual. a brilliant rebuttal in the above comments of the idea that the C of E, or any other religious organisation, has any hope of providing moral guidance relating to any women’s issues in a modern society. In an old fashioned or theocratic country then maybe, but not in the modern United Kingdom, or given these arguments should that be Queendom?.
    We don’t like to get too personal in these comments, preferring to stick to what is said rather than who said it, but when you read this article – you do have to question how old fashioned and utterly ludicrous are North’s views.
    He is quoted as saying “Extending the historic threefold order to women constitutes a major doctrinal change and thus, whilst it may be the way the Spirit is calling the Church, it is an action that the Church of England does not have the unilateral authority to undertake. Thus it is one that undermines the unity of the Church.” Who would want to be involved with such an anti-female organisation?


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