My name is Caroline Tum; unusual surname I know. I have an 8-year-old son called Sean Tum. I took Sean to a birthday party the other day. Sean was full of joy and anticipation about the party. It was in honour of his little girl friend Lena – girl friend, not girlfriend you understand? They are just children. At the party was another of Sean’s friends, a boy called Thornton but everyone calls him Thorn.
During the party, the children played a game of tag. In this game, one of the children is ‘It’ and the It-child attempts to pass the It-status to another child by touching (‘tagging’) the other child, usually on the shoulder or upper arm. If the tag is successful, the new It-child must then pass the tag to yet another child, and so the process continues with much running around and shrill shouts of success or failure until finally someone calls time and the children all retire for Marmite sandwiches and lashings of ginger beer all round. The game was played outside and was a huge success resulting in Sean passing the tag to Lena who then passed the tag to someone else, not Thorn, who then … But, at no time did Thorn get tagged nor did he have to tag anyone else. He was tagless but he didn’t seem to mind. Little did we know, however.
Two days later it was Thorn’s turn to hold a birthday party. Sean, my little boy, and Lena, his friend, were among the party guests and because of the earlier success of tag at Lena’s party, Thorn’s mother, a lovely lady with coiffured hair and immaculate makeup, decided that another game of tag was in order. She designated my son Sean to be the first tag. But there were tears.
Sean decided that because he had tagged Lena at Lena’s party, he was not able to tag either Thorn or any of the other boys because, he said, he was tainted. ‘I have touched a girl albeit in an innocent way,’ he said. (My words. Sean is too young to know that there are other ways of touching a girl that would not be considered innocent. They’re small children after all.) This inability to tag Thorn resulted in Lena becoming the next tag but every time she went to tag Thorn, he ran away. Thorn could only be tagged by boys who had not tagged Lena or any of the other girls at the party and Sean was not able to tag any other boys because of his so-called taint.
It was a stalemate and the result was a disaster of a party. Lena cried because she could not pass the tag to Thorn, whom she quite likes. Thorn was criticised by all the other mums and dads for appearing to be a misogynist. Sean was accused of cowardliness and hypocrisy. And I was accused of not bringing up my son correctly.
But, it was just child’s play aggravated by the silly notions of immature children and, eventually, the storm blew over and all the boys and girls became friends again and played happily in the playground during breaks. But they never played tag any more.
Now read this story about Archbishop Sentamu, Bishop-elect Lane (first female bishop) and Bishop-elect North and marvel at the machinations of the senior clergy of the Church of England. It beggars belief that so-called educated people can behave in this way.
Footnote. Apparently some readers are not following through on the two links above to discover the background to my fable and are therefore bemused and even confused as to why I wrote it. Here, in summary, is what is happening. The story is evolving even as I type.
Bishop-elect Lane (Lena) was today (26th January, 2015) ordained as the first female bishop into the Church of England. She has just become the Bishop of Stockport. The ordination ceremony was conducted by Archbishop Sentamu (Sean Tum), the Archbishop of York. Part of the ordination ceremony requires a minimum of three bishops to ‘lay on hands’, meaning to place one’s hands on the head of the ordinand in order to invoke the Holy Spirit to bless the consecration. Tradition demands that the more senior members of the clergy perform the laying on of hands. In the case of Bishop Lane, Archbishop Sentamu was the most senior bishop present and thus laid it on.
But, another bishop-elect is due to be ordained shortly, Bishop-elect North (Thorn) on the 2 February 2015 as the Bishop of Burnley, also in the region administered by Archbishop Sentamu. However, it has been stated that no bishop who has laid hands on a woman i.e. Bishop Lane, will lay hands on the newly-ordained Bishop North because, it is claimed, such bishops have been tainted by their contact with a woman. As a result, Archbishop Sentamu will not be laying his hands on Bishop North even though he (Sentamu) will be conducting the ordination ceremony. Bishop Sentamu will delegate his laying on of hands function to another bishop.
Such is the way of fully-grown and presumably intelligent adults whose actions are ruled by the dogmas of a religion based on a mythical supernatural being whose existence has never been proved.