Saturday, 26 March 2011

A kind of madness

'It is one of those times when I feel estranged from the country and not comprehending of what we are doing and why everyone is so gung-ho for it all'.

I was so glad to read those words of Rod Liddle in 'The Spectator' today. It is just what I have been feeling since the UN went to war in Libya. I could not understand it, yet no-one seemed to be shocked by it. Even opposition politicians were docile. Apparently only 13 MPs voted against it. 'The Spectator' notes that the moon was very close to the earth last weekend. Perhaps it is all a kind of lunacy.

I understand that Gaddafi is a nasty piece of work and probably a kind of lunatic himself. But then he has been for 40 years. I can understand too that he is cruelly treating the rebels. But - so are the Syrians and the Yemenis. When are French, British and American warplanes going to bomb their armouries? And what of Robert Mugabe who has been brutal not to rebels but to peaceful citizens of Zimbabwe for years?

Why are the UN and Nato and Britain and America so selective in their application of high flown principles?

What hypocritical bilge is William Hague spewing forth as he (who cannot get even a couple of planes off the ground to remove British citizens before the fighting started) talks of this moment as more significant than anything else in recent history, or some such hogwash?

Why do they pretend it is not about 'regime change' when they also speak openly about getting rid of Gaddafi? Why do they have no idea about what they are actually aiming at; or what to do if Gaddafi goes; or if he stays and fights; or if the Arab League decides that after all western planes bombing Arab cities is not such a pretty sight and withdraw their already luke-warm support?

Why does a new Prime Minister, after the debacle of Iraq, decide that in his first year he too must take some supposedly moral high ground and engage in yet another foreign adventure?

If there were not oil at stake, would it be different? Perhaps that is Zimbabwe's problem; it does not mean enough to western economic interests.

Gaddafi is after all an authority ordained by God and though I am enough of a Calvinist to believe in the right of revolution against tyrants, I seriously question the right of other nations to move against a ruler in support of rebels. Say the 250,000 plus in London today turned nasty and made a serious attempt on the seat of government or 10, Downing Street (though I expect Mr Cameron was well away from there) - how long would it be before our government too turned guns on its own people? What do governments do, after all? How will the western powers decide when and when not to support a rebellion? And what succour their action will give to potential rebels in other countries. Perhaps, even their own. Then, indeed, the gung-ho approach in north Africa will come back to haunt them.

'Estranged' is a good word for how I feel about this latest military escapade, whatever sympathy I may have for the subjects of Gaddafi. But then, maybe there are more like me, apart from Rod Liddle.

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.