<i>IoS</i> letters, emails & texts, 20 July 2008

Click to follow
The Independent Online

I agree entirely with Janet Street-Porter ("Equal in the eyes of God?...", 13 July) about the appalling views of conservative Anglicans on the role of women and gays in the Church of England. But the C of E is at least grappling with these issues, in spite of powerful regressive forces in the wider Anglican Communion. It would be nice if the press examined as critically the attitudes of other denominations and religions which haven't the least intention of ever accepting women or openly gay men into the ranks of their clergy.

The saintly Basil Hume, in a démarche of breathtaking cynicism, accepted numbers of married Anglican clergy into a Catholic church that had for generations expelled home-grown priests wanting to get married. A second tranche of Anglican priests may be about to go over to Rome (with or without wives, and some of them secretly gay), precisely because the C of E has, after much agonising, finally taken a principled decision in favour of women bishops. How about a little praise for that, Janet?

Gavin Turner

Gunton, Norfolk

The Anglican Church is about to split into two factions, the one happy to ordain gay and women bishops and the other not prepared to take these changes on board. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, says we must move with the times and that men were chosen by God to lead the early Christian church only because they lived in a strongly patriarchal society. However, while it is true that the world around the Mediterranean had many patriarchal societies, the vast majority of pagans believed in matriarchal deities, the "Mother Earth" of modern times.

Bishops openly advertising their sexual behaviour outside marriage send out mixed messages about the value of Christian marriage vows and whether sex outside marriage is a sin. Many have sacrificed their lives over the past 2,000 years to follow Jesus and it is vainglorious of modern church leaders to put their personal predilections ahead of church unity, especially on the grounds that it is the "modern" thing to do.

David Owen

Gwernymynydd, Flintshire

Dominic Lawson in his interview with Sir Terry Leahy does not question the supermarkets' core defence against accusations that they have forced down the incomes of farmers and workers globally – the defence that it is consumers, not supermarkets, who are to blame (The Interview, 13 July).

Sir Terry knows that most British consumers cannot make the connection between the low prices they pay and the poor pay of workers thousands of miles away. Supermarket policies create a situation where British consumers, rich and very rich by global standards, are subsidised by workers on grinding poverty wages. British consumers accept these prices because they are offered them. They are not responsible for the way supermarket directors and shareholders manipulate the supply chain in order to generate their profits. The directors and owners must accept responsibility for the problems governments and researchers attribute to them, and not hide behind consumers.

Maurice Vassie

Deighton, York

Sales of rose-tinted glasses must be enjoying an unprecedented boom at the UN ("We've seen the future... ", 13 July). If the burgeoning world population is seen as a future problem, how does it balance against the rise of "life expectancy" and the fall of "infant mortality rates"? The annual rise in GDP per capita should surely be analysed alongside the accelerating difference between the world's rich and poor. Even the rise in literacy levels raises questions about the decline of those who vote – shouldn't literacy be a high road to democracy? As for the growing numbers linking to the internet: the web can be very destructive of human communities.

The loss side of the equation points to a frightening future... the rise of CO2 emissions and related global warming, the rise in global unemployment, political corruption booming, terrorism on the rise.... Things are moving faster than any one of us can comprehend, certainly far too fast for our lumbering political and economic systems to grapple with.

Tony Hill

Seaton, Devon

In 1020 Duke Richard of Normandy divided Guernsey into two fiefs ("Mark Thatcher's got bags of 'wonga' but few options", 13 July). This means there would be room for both Sir Mark and Simon Mann to have a residence on the island.

Ivor Morgan


Isn't it grand to have Marco Pierre White showing us such common sense ("'Trying to ban £1.99 chicken is just snobbery'", 13 July)? Let's not get too "religious" about food production until there is an affordable dish on everybody's table every day.

Patrick Collins


A N Wilson's defence of Germany was welcome ("Don't let's be beastly to the Germans...", 13 July). As a university teacher of German for more than 25 years, I found that most educated Germans speak better English, and certainly behave better, than many English natives.

David Heald


You use the terms "geriatric rocker", "twilight years" and – ouch – "old enough for a free bus pass" about the 61-year-old musician and painter Ronnie Wood ("Even by Ronnie's standards, this is one hell of a bender", 13 July). Journalists may have learnt to avoid sexist and homophobic purple prose, but clearly such sensitivity does not extend to the over-60s.

Trevor Pateman


You observe, "This is not the first time Wood has taken an interest in a much younger woman; in his heyday in 1964 he began a relationship with his first wife, Krissy, when she was still a 16-year-old schoolgirl". Ronnie Wood was 17 at the time.

Paul Winter

South Shields, Tyne and Wear