Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's Buffy's fault

The Telegraph reports that according to a new academic study: The old-fashioned attitudes and hierarchies of churches are causing a steep decline in the number of female worshippers.
The report claims more than 50,000 women a year have deserted their congregations over the past two decades because they feel the church is not relevant to their lives.

It says that instead young women are becoming attracted to the pagan religion Wicca, where females play a central role, which has grown in popularity after being featured positively in films, TV shows and books.

The study comes amid ongoing controversy over the role of women in all Christian denominations. Last month its governing body voted to allow women to become bishops for the first time, having admitted them to the priesthood in 1994, but traditionalist bishops have warned that hundreds of clergy and parishes will leave if the move goes ahead as planned.

The report's author, Dr Kristin Aune, a sociologist at the University of Derby, said: "In short, women are abandoning the church.

"Because of its focus on female empowerment, young women are attracted by Wicca, popularised by the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

"Young women tend to express egalitarian values and dislike the traditionalism and hierarchies they imagine are integral to the church.

"Women's ordination, as priests and now bishops, has dominated debate and headlines – but while looking at women in the pulpit we have taken our eyes off the pews, where a shift with more consequences for the church's survival is underway."

Her research, published in a new book called Women and Religion in the West, cites an English Church Census which found more than a million women worshippers have left churches since 1989.

Over the past decade, it claims, women have been leaving churches at twice the rate of men.

In addition, the census is said to show that teenage boys now outnumber girls in the pews for the first time.

Gee - you think -- young women are tired of the sexist rhetoric of church?

Talk among yourselves until I return in two weeks --- Ann


Anonymous said...

Geeze, this would be me.... I don't know anything about this vampire slayer stuff, considering that I'm nearly 60 years old, but the on-going denigration of women in the MCP organizations, especially in the Dio Fort Wrath, makes one move on down the road... hmmm, let's see, the UCC doesn't hate women, Buddha doesn't hate women, Jesus doesn't hate women... so who's got the problem? I don't think I do.

JCF said...

More properly "Blame Willow"*

* The living embodiment of Pat Robertson's "practice witchcraft and become lesbians" fear! ;-p

[JCF, BTVS fan]

the census is said to show that teenage boys now outnumber girls in the pews for the first time.

Not surprised about this in the CofE [having recently seen a spiky-high Anglo-Catholic site---of course, one could argue that these "boys in the pews" (choir) are sort of, well, "girls" (I'm family, and can say that *g*)].

I think the picture is very different in the U.S., however. Religion (organized religious participation) here, is still an overwhelmingly female affair, in just about every sector.

Paul M said...

My impression of the CofE is that they have evolved into a refuge for the conservatives, and that many of the liberals have left by now. It seems an overwhelmingly conservative institution now, and that has consequences. The uproar over women bishops makes me wonder what planet these people are on. I suspect that a similar survey in the US would show different results.

frDann said...

"The report's author, Dr Kristin Aune, a sociologist at the University of Derby, said: "In short, women are abandoning the church."
Interesting that the real point of the article is just the opposite. The church has abandoned women.

Anonymous said...

That's the thing about relationships, FrDann. Once either partner abandons the other, the second partner tends to return the favor.

Of course, that's often when the argument over who abandoned whom first starts up. Granted, it's a pointless argument that never accomplishes anything (certainly not saving the relationship). But we as humans seem to like those arguments the best at times.

Geez, I've been way too cynical the last couple days.

textjunkie said...

Buffy the Vampire Slayer???! Can we say "out of date"?? That show went off the air 5 years ago...

But that said--'bout time women realize they too can leave when they are not respected or nourished.

Anonymous said...

So does this mean that this bumper sticker has made it to the UK, then? ;)

JCF said...

That bumpersticker, seithman, IS a direct response to Pat Robertson (predating Buffy---or at least Willow's Coming OUT!---IIRC)