David Jenkins has been one of Britain’s most controversial figures for some time. From 1984 to 1994 he served as Bishop of Durham — a post that gave him quite a platform for his radical theology. In more recent years, he has been known as an ardent defender of civil partnerships for homosexuals and he defied Anglican policy by “blessing” a homosexual union betwen two men.

He once incited an infamous controversy over the nature of Christ’s resurrection and has repeatedly outraged the faithful. Still, he kept his post at Durham until retirement and has been an active preacher ever since. Until recently, that is.

As The Times [London] reports, Bishop Jenkins has finally crossed a line. He has been banned from preaching in two Durham-area churches. Why? For swearing. As the paper reports:

Despite his retirement as a frontline bishop Jenkins has retained his reputation for fiery sermons. But he concedes that, during an address in the parish of Romaldkirk and Laithkirk in Co Durham, he became carried away when railing against splits in the Anglican communion over homosexual priests.

Jenkins last week admitted using the words in a sermon given just before Easter but said: “The main reason for people not believing in God is the behaviour of people who do believe in God. I am fed up with the disgraceful quarrelling among Anglicans when they should be addressing major world questions.

“I suppose there was a bit of anger and swearing but I get worked up in the pulpit and I get quite lively. Dogmatism is destroying the reasonableness and realism of religion.”

So there you have it — orthodox Anglicans have caused the retired bishop to curse. And it’s the conservatives who, he insists, are “destroying the reasonableness and realism of religion.”

Oh, and the rector of one of the churches defended Bishop Jenkins, saying: “David is a passionate person and used passionate language. . . . It’s easy to upset people by using immoderate language in church. It wasn’t a deep theological thing.”

The “immoderate language” description is nicely Anglican. I wonder what this pastor would consider to be “a deep theological thing?”