Monday, 7 March 2011

The Johns, Equality and Diversity

Two new goddesses have been dominating the pantheon of public ideology in the last decade. Rather as Paul's discourse in Athens led the philosophers there to hear him further on 'Jesus ' and 'Anastasis' ('Resurrection') so 'Equality' and 'Diversity' are the latest divinities to entrance the public imagination.

Unlike the message Paul proclaimed, though, which, however it might have been initially misunderstood, could have done nothing but good to the intellectually curious but spiritually confused Athenians, this current pair are themselves a couple of faded old harridans who are doing nothing but harm.

Take 'Equality' for example. She used to be a beauty. Every man or woman stood equal before God. Arising out of this, every man or woman stood equal before the law. The person created in God's image was precious and was not to be maltreated. She proclaimed and protected, by law where necessary, the principle of strict justice in the treatment of individuals.

Time has not treated this old girl well. Her back is bent - principial scoliosis perhaps? She no longer stands erect to defend persons. She has been twisted to apply to ideologies. Not individuals, but beliefs, moral standards and values are all declared 'equal'. Not a person's right to hold them, but the ideas themselves. Poor old Equality. She was a handmaid to a higher principle and a maidservant of the true God, but now she has been tarted up and made into a goddess in her own right. She has been prostituted, in fact, to the service of a tyrant, the great god Relativism. She is not herself; she cannot be. For people are equal before God and before the law. Ideas are not. Some are wrong, even if in a free society we may defend a person's right to hold them; some ideas are right. But Relativism holds no ideas to be wrong other than, of course, the idea that something may be wrong. In Relativism's realm, only the statement that some statements are False is false; only the myth, so clear it is painted across the sky in letters of Scotch mist, that there are no Absolutes, is absolute.

And to this god Relativism, Equality, once so fair a maid, is a slave, a poor downtrodden thing, a shadow of her former self, so that people who once delighted in her feel ashamed to mention her or be acquainted with her. Because after all, she is not in truth the lady she once was. She is exploited to perpetrate the lie that all ideas are the same, instead of preserving the truth that all people are equal before God and the law.

Or take Diversity. She and Equality would be seen walking arm in arm, Diversity a delightful complement to her elder sister, preserving the truth that because all are equal, differences will be tolerated and even rejoiced in. Equality and Diversity therefore represented two sides of the same coin, and both could hold their heads high in a society that professed Christian values.

As Equality faded, however, inevitably Diversity was tarnished too. She now means in practice that 'whatever you believe or however you live will be tolerated'. Funnily enough, though, that is what the jaded version of Equality means too. As a Lady, Diversity complemented Equality; now she merely echoes her. As the servants of a higher God have become the slaves of a lesser god, they have become more and more alike. Sin does that. The two principles have become so alike that they have come to mean the same thing: anything goes.

Except of course, when someone comes along and says 'not everything is the same' and 'not everything goes'. Such as, for example, consistent Christians, like Mr and Mrs Johns who will not tell children who might be fostered to them that homosexuality is OK. They are quite right not to agree to say that, because it would truly be an offence to their conscience and against the law of God. Now the masks of Equality and Diversity slip and the ugly face of the real god behind them both, Relativism, is seen in his full horror. As Ladies, Equality and Diversity protected the weak; now these raddled old harpies devour human flesh.

The sheer irrationality of evil is also seen, for of course not everything does go. Not only does the view of the Johns 'not go' but the social workers and courts who have deprived the Johns of the right to foster children will of course not insist on foster parents telling children that paedophilia or bestiality are OK. At least, not this decade. But who makes up the rules? It is a sliding scale, a majority vote morality.

So we have the nonsense that perfectly good and wholesome homes like that of the Johns will be denied to many children who need love and stability and who need to know the meaning of absolutes and of Equality and Diversity in their unsullied youth, and the same poor children may instead be placed quite possibly with homosexual or lesbian couples who also worship at the altar of the god Relativism and the great qualifying factor is that they will 'affirm' children in any sexual choices they care to make. This, it appears, is the definition of 'supportive' in the kingdom of Relativism. To such doctrinaire nonsense are we reduced when we lose our grip on moral absolutes.

For whom should we weep? It is sad for people like the Johns of Derby. But it is a tragedy for society, for our nation. The salt of the earth is being confined to the salt cellar of private opinion; the light of the world is being extinguished in our land as Christians are pushed to the sidelines. Children are being sacrificed to the Molech of Relativism. The nation is cutting off the branch on which it sits as God's Word is ridiculed and rejected. It is for the nation we should pray, and ask God to raise up a generation of preachers whose voices he will cause to be heard.


  1. The adoption of relativism means that this generation has no moral basis for objecting to paedophilia. How long will it take before the (almost) universal revulsion which this presently attracts is turned into disapproval, and then rejection, of those who continue to regard it as evil?

  2. I disagree that the discourses equality and diversity are “a couple of faded old harridans who are doing nothing but harm”. Inequality is a real issue, and we should not pretend prejudices such as sexism and racism do not exist simply because confronting them requires, on occasion, that we admit there are no easy answers. These ideas are neither “two new goddesses” nor “a couple of old faded harridans”; they are the basic principles of a free and democratic society. Yes, you point out that all men and women were created equal before God, and yet it is equally important to note that this fact is not practiced in society. Women are not found in leadership roles, they earn considerably less than their male counterparts, and had to fight for the right to vote. The case of minority and ethnic groups is similar. Whilst our democratic ideals may be high, our reality falls short, and the discourses you discuss are important instruments in addressing such problems.

    I would argue that equality and diversity are secular theories, being found across all religions and none. They may be found within Christianity but they were never owned by it. Furthermore, and I do not want to cause offence in return, I must point out your use of some very sexist turns of phrases. It certainly does not help your discussion of the issues of equality and diversity to describe such terms as old naggy women (harridans) or, for that matter, denounce them by likening them to any person type. To describe them as one-time “Maidservants” to God, which have since been “tarted up”, and “prostituted”, (and have become “ugly”, “old harridans” too while they were at it), is really to do your cause no favours. It is no longer acceptable to type-cast women as servants, tarts and nags. The prominence of such stereotyping in your column, however, is evidence in itself that the battle for equality, diversity and tolerance is far from being won.

  3. Finally, I simply disagree that in modern society all ideas are taken to be equal (of course you are entitled to your opinion, but I think it’s wrong!). On the large, people just accept that whilst everyone’s ideas are not equally right, all people have an equal right to express their ideas. The decision against the Johns is undoubtedly sad, and highlights the problems which arise with contradictory human rights conflict, but that does not mean the moral basis behind the decision was unfounded. These issues are difficult and it is simply unfair to dismiss all those who hold a view different to yours as sacrificing children to the “Molech of relativism”. I’m sure you would admit that this is quite a daring slur.

    People who base their morality on their common humanity, and the empathy they have for others, understand harming another human being to be wrong point-plank. There are few adjustments needed for relativism. All I am asking here is that you are self-critical, and exhibit the same empathy. Look at your arguments from another’s standpoint. The Christian faith cannot escape scrutiny and you cannot judge others so harshly without expecting a return. On the issue of child-sacrifice, for instance, the bible is rather relativist. It says;

    “Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 18: 21)

    I am not saying, of course, that modern-day Christians sacrifice children but since you claim that “children are being sacrificed to the Molech of relativism” I feel I have the right to address this point. Child-sacrifice is not really a grey area for most of us. It is wrong no matter what God you happen to be killing your children for. In the bible however, Abraham is praised for his faith exemplified in his willingness to kill his only son Isaac. Of course, this story may be read as an arresting, and yet beautiful, prophetic image of Christ’s death on the cross as recorded in the New Testament, yet, it was also a close-shave for a child almost stabbed to death by his father. If Abraham had killed Isaac would this have been right? (And if he had, and lived today, do you think he should be allowed to foster?).

    The decision made is sad for the Johns, and I am confident they would have provided a loving and stable home for children in their care, but that is not to say their case did not present a serious ethical issue. Whilst in the pursuit of equality and diversity challenges will be encountered this does not legitimise the dismissal of such ideas as tired old hags. .