Canada and the U.K. are typically seen as a half step ahead of the United States regarding culture’s slide into the moral and spiritual abyss. That being said, two stories of late should be of great concern to American parents who seek to raise their children according to historic Judeo-Christian values.
First, from Canada:
A judge in British Columbia ruled that a 14-year-old girl can proceed with hormone injections to help transition from a female to a male body against the objections of her father. Further, the judge ruled that the father must refer to his daughter as a boy and by her chosen male name—and that the girl must be allowed to change her legal name. Again, without the father’s consent.
It gets worse.
If the father makes any attempt to persuade his daughter to abandon the treatment, or references his daughter by her given female name or even uses female pronouns, it “shall be considered to be family violence” under Canada’s Family Law Act.
Now, a story from the U.K.:
In Birmingham, parents are protesting about forced “relationships education” for primary-age children; specifically, mainstream LGBT lessons. Many are now pulling their children out of the schools and choosing to homeschool their children.
At least, while they can.
The reaction has been swift and sure: the parents are being accused of taking their children “off the grid” and leaving them “open to extreme views” as well as “safeguarding issues.” One headteacher, calling for more support from the government, said the parents pulling their children out to homeschool threatens “the fabric of British society.”
Sounds like homeschooling in the U.K. may be going the way of parenting in Canada. You can parent as long as you parent the way the government has deemed appropriate, and that must include indoctrinating them in the dominant mores of society. If you parent your child counter-culturally, even concerning issues such as sexuality or faith, you are a threat to society.
Sociologist Neil Postman once wrote of the “disappearance of childhood.” His thesis was that children are being robbed of their innocence, their naiveté, their ability to even be a child. He contended that in our world, we ask children to embrace mature issues and themes, experiences and issues, long before they are ready.
His concern was that the very idea of childhood is that there is a time when a young person is sheltered from certain ideas, experiences, practices, expectations and knowledge. They are sheltered from adult secrets, particularly sexual ones. Certain facets of life – its mysteries, contradictions, tragedies, violence – are not considered suitable for children to know. Only as a child grows into adulthood should these facets be revealed in ways that the child can assimilate psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.
As prescient as he was, I doubt Postman would have ever envisioned the dissolution of the role of the parent in protecting that child from society’s descent into “growing older younger.”
I would not consider myself an alarmist, but I hope I am also not naïve about what is happening in our day—and the speed by which it is happening.
On countless fronts and on a host of issues, the cultural dominos are falling from acceptance to affirmation to the penalization and criminalization of anyone and anything that lies in disagreement. The last bastion has been the role of a parent and the nurturing, protective nature of the home.
Now it is precisely the parent and the home that is deemed the enemy of culture—that is, if it stands prophetically against the descent of culture.
Parents, particularly those of Christian sensibilities, must wake up and realize that a cultural war has been declared on parenting and the home. It is coming for us all, and we must use every ounce of political and cultural persuasion we can muster to stand against it.
And we must do it while there is still time.
I am reminded of the confession of Martin Niemoller, a pastor in Germany who initially sent a telegram congratulating Hitler on his rise to power. Later, when he came to see the truth, he reflected on his political naiveté with these words:
“In Germany, they came first for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up became I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.” *
James Emery White
Douglas Quan, “Transgender Teen Can Proceed with Hormone Treatment Despite Father’s Objections, B.C. Court Rules,” National Post, February 28, 2019, read online.
Neil Johnston, “LGBT Protests: Pupils Pulled Out of Schools Over Gay Relationship Classes,” The Times of London, September 20, 2019, read online.
*Martin Niemoller’s confession was actually a poem and has been represented in various ways with minor variations. This is the version that Niemoller himself said he preferred, when asked by Richard John Neuhaus in 1971, as relayed in the November 2001 issue of First Things.
About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunct professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World, is available on Amazon. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.