A bit of channel hopping last night landed me Channel 4's documentary about the Hampshire WI and their resolution on legalisation of brothels. Not, perhaps, what you imagine your vicar watching on Sunday evening - but not quite what you think of with the WI either. It was an intriguing programme to watch as the nice 'ladies' of the WI began to discover the difference between talk and resolutions - which are easy - and action, which is tough and costly. Without Channel 4's involvement I guess the whole thing would have been rather different, but as a result a lot of awareness raising has been achieved.
The thing that struck me most was what happened when they arrived back at a WI meeting with their "WI mobile brothel" and people got very upset at seeing their logo on the side of a "brothel." Outrage followed - in so far as nice Hampshire ladies become outraged, it was all very dignified (at least on camera) and people threatened to resign from the WI if this continued. Determined to keep the peace, the two protagonists rapidly amended the signage to "WI resolution of brothels" and took it to town to gauge public opinion.
I was waiting for "angry Christian" to appear denouncing the campaign but she/he did not; instead was a very ordinary vicar in clerical collar who spoke calmly and rationally about the need for the campaign - which is about safety not the rights and wrongs of the trade.
What struck me more than anything was the general principle of 'nice respectable people' passing resolutions from the comfort of a conference hall which don't actually 'cost' them anything weighed against the costly decision to do something about it. It gave me "pause for thought" at the number of campaigns and resolutions I've supported over the years simply by raising a voting card or signing a petition, and wondering how I'd have felt if someone had put a church logo on the side of the 'mobile brothel.' To speak of justice is so easy, to ally oneself with actually doing it, is not.
This is not the place to discuss the ethics of the prostitution, but I seem to recall a brothel keeper in the OT who was commended for her actions in sheltering Israelite spies and whose name is in the Matthean genealogy of Jesus. As I ponder the actions of the WI, I wonder what Jesus might have had to say...
PS due to the words in this post and it's likelihood of attracting undesirable spam comments, I am not enabling 'comments' so if you want to share your thoughts you'll need to do so via one of my other posts.