Monday, 3 January 2011

Commodity child

So Elton John is the'father' and David Furnish (largely unknown except for being the partner of Elton John) is the 'mother'. It is possible that Sir Elton was the biological father, apparently. A surrogate mother in California was paid a reputed £100,000, though it may have cost the happy couple up to £1m in fees and payments (but what is that to Sir Elton?) The child will be called Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John. Sounds like a firm of accountants.

The papers talk cooingly about the love in the home and how much the couple will care for the little chap who will be the most important person in the world to them. Well, any new purchase, especially at Christmas, is exciting for a time.

Apparently in 2009 the John-Furnish partnership tried to adopt a Ukrainian orphan called Lev. The Ukrainian authorities had the sense to say 'no'. Lev had a lucky escape.

Is no-one made to feel exceedingly sick by this latest transaction? Thankfully yes - a 'gay' journalist on the 'Daily Mail' called Andrew Pierce cries 'Why I'm repelled by their grotesque selfishness'. I couldn't have said it better myself, but being an evangelical Christian my utterance would be called a homophobic rant so I want to hide behind an echo of what Mr Pierce has said.

Pierce rightly asks why, in a case when because of his age (63) he would be very unlikely to be allowed to adopt a child, Elton is allowed by law to buy one. His suspicion is that Elton has simply acquired a son to satifiy his latest fixation.

Two rules apply to the birth of children, says Mr Pierce: Rule One is that by and large a child needs a loving mother and father (though he has no objection in principle to the right gay couple adopting - which is where he and I would part company). Rule Two is that a child needs to know where he comes from. "Just what is Elton going to say to him when he's a troubled 16 year old and asks 'Daddy, where did I come from?'"

How often too, will Elton 'be there' for his son - he is about to embark on a 26 concert tour of the U.S. and Europe?

Perhaps there is something extra annoying about the fact that this is Elton - a talented but 'petulant, spoilt and selfish' man according to Mr Pierce. It seems as if some very loose legislation and a lot of money can get you almost anything now - including a child. But do not our authorities always trumpet that the 'child's best interests' are what matters in any family law issue? Why are the principles that would apply in adoption not apparently applied in surrogacy? Or am I missing something?

But of course that would not deal with the matter of these 'parents' being homosexual - that, sadly, is not even an issue today.

Sir Elton and David Furnish are made in the image of God. They are showing that they feel a need to nurture - at least, looking on it charitably; it might be that they simply want to possess, though that would not make them different from many average, sinful, hererosexual couples. But the nurturing instinct is not to be exercised outside a heterosexual marriage - at least, not in normal circumstances. It is certainly not to be engineered outside the marital framework.

We have lost our way on the meaning of marriage; the meaning of gender; and the fact that children are a gift to be responsibly nurtured, not a commodity to be produced at will for anyone who can pay for one.

But let us pray for Zachary, and for his 'parents'. Maybe they will be brought to see something of the wonder of God's creativity. And their own lostness. Children are remarkably resilient. He may do wonderfully well in this dysfunctional home. Let us fervently hope so.

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