Piers Morgan, Ann Widdecombe criticise 'nonsense' debate over whether God is male or female

Good Morning Britain hosted a lively debate on the gender of God on Wednesday morning, days after a bishop suggested the Church of England should embrace more female language.

Host Piers Morgan expressed his frustration that the gender of God was even a subject for debate and said that society was being 'coerced' into thinking that a male God was 'offensive'.

'Why are we even having to have this conversation?' he said. 'Who is so angry about this that we have to re-write thousands of years of working on the presumption that God is male?'

Broadcaster Rae Duke responded to Morgan's question by claiming that it was 'important that we correct that injustice' of God traditionally being described in male terms.

She referred to parts of the Bible where God's nature is likened to that of a mother and suggested that references to God the Father had been misinterpreted to mean that God was male instead of genderless.

'God is a genderless concept,' she said. 'God is above and beyond any gender...it's impossible for human language to ever encapsulate what God is.'

Former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe, who is a Catholic, said she did not think it was offensive to speak of God in male terms.

'I don't think it's remotely offensive. In fact I've never heard such nonsense,' she said.

'Throughout the entire New Testament, Christ is a "he" and He refers to God the Father and a father, even in this day and age, is a "he". But what really worries me is the sheer superficiality of this, because the whole objection to calling God "he" is apparently that it puts people off Christianity.

'If you're not going to be won over by the message of redemption and forgiveness, if you're not going to be won over by that, you're not going to be won over by someone saying God's a "she".'

When Morgan asked Rae if God was 'gender fluid', she said 'that would be ridiculous' but that she believed 'we cannot use our fragile human language to try and say what God is'.

'So you don't know what God is but He can't be a man?' asked Morgan, to which Rae replied: 'God can be neither female nor male.'

Widdecombe added that while it was impossible to know exactly what God is in this life, 'what we do know is that He is consistently throughout all the teaching of Christianity, throughout 2,000 years, has been a "he".'

The debate follows the recent suggestion by the Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Reverend Rachel Treweek, that the Church of England embrace more female language in speaking about God. 

'I don't want young girls or young boys to hear us constantly refer to God as he,' she told The Telegraph

'For me particularly in a bigger context, in all things, whether it's that you go to a website and you see pictures of all white people, or whether you go to a website and see the use of "he" when we could use "god", all of those things are giving subconscious messages to people, so I am very hot about saying can we always look at what we are communicating.'

Earlier this month, a YouGov survey found that only one per cent of British Christians think of God as female. 

Four in 10 women (41 per cent) said God was male, far more than the number of Christian men regarding God as male (30 per cent).

By contrast, 39 per cent of women said God had no gender at all, compared to 42 per cent of men.