“Children are a gift from God”

I was very saddened to read an article in the Guardian news website recently that was headlined: “Want to save your marriage? Don’t have kids.”  How tragic that we have now reached the stage where we are blaming our offspring for the break-up of relationships!?

Children are, yes, hard work, but so much fun (I speak as a husband, and a parent of one with hopefully more to follow). Of course, sleep-deficient nights and less one-to-one time with my other half are challenging, but my little 18-month-old girl is just amazing: bubbly, playful and brilliant.

Moreover, the article completely ignores what would happen later in life without children and, thereafter, grandchildren. There is a real likelihood of those who are out celebrating their ‘freedom’ today, feeling incredibly lonely in the 80s and 90s with no-one to brighten-up their old age.

I also am encouraged by the fact that my children will be shaping this planet’s future. You could even go as far to say there is a moral imperative to have children. Who do today’s happy-go-lucky singletons think will pay for their pensions and care for them in retirement?

The way this research has been dissected and presented creates a dangerous myth that scares people away from having children, which would be the worst possible outcome in our world. Just think of the bleak, dystopian future in “Children of Men” where there are no pregnancies and no-one under 30. Is that the kind of society Matthew D. Johnson (or the headline writer) wants?

Truly, “children are a gift from God” (Ps. 127:3).  We need to treasure and guard them, not denigrate and scapegoat them.

An appeal to my fellow UK-voters

Yet again we face a referendum on our relationship with the world, in this case the European Union.  To be honest, after already voting in three polling days in as many years and another (Local Council election) ballot lined-up for 2017, I’m a bit fed-up with direct democracy and fervently hope our politicians will just get on with governing and making our nation better.

However, this will be impossible if, for at least the next 10 years, ministers and civil servants are desperately re-negotiating a whole raft of international treaties, administering emergency CPR on an economy deprived of its largest single export market and coping with numerous threats to security as our enemies exploit the sudden souring of relations with 27 formerly-staunch allies.

Brexit is madness.  They assert that EU bureaucracy is poised to tax our toasters and swamp us with immigrants from new member states, conveniently forgetting that we have a veto on most matters and, if push came to shove and their dire predictions turn out to be true, we could leave at a later date of our own choosing.  They vilify the free movement of labour, ignoring all the analyses that demonstrate how much this boasts our own economy and allows us the opportunity to travel and work across numerous countries, from Portugal to Poland.  They tell us that EU membership costs Britain £55 million per day, neglecting to mention the existence of our rebate and the many other direct grants, whether for agriculture or science, that flow our way and mean the actual figure is more like £23 million (fullfacts.org).  If they can’t even tell the truth on this fact, why on earth should we trust Farage & co. on any assertion they make?

Consider the tone of their protestations.  Shouting down all those who point out the gaping holes in their arguments; accusing everyone who disagrees of being part of some monstrous conspiracy; comparing the European Union with Hitler… does this really appeal to you?  Finally, remember that “Brexit” would be final – there is no going back to the hard-won terms of membership and protections we currently enjoy.  Is this a risk we can afford?

Please vote to settle this issue and stay with a partnership that, though needing reform like every democracy, actually accomplishes much good.  Whether that’s stopping national rivalries becoming full-blown conflicts, promoting environmental responsibility across the continent, increasing our living standards by boasting trade or just giving more people the opportunity to freely travel and work in many fascinating countries, the EU is not a scapegoat for our every woe, but a means to improving all our lives.

Finally – clarity on “trans” issues

The following is copied from Norman Wells:

“Pandering to the transgender agenda is pandering to a delusion”

Which toilet facilities should I use – the ladies or the gents? It hardly sounds like the sort of question calculated to spark national controversy or to merit engaging the minds of education administrators and government legislatures. Yet on both sides of the Atlantic, it is fast becoming a pressing issue.

In the United States, the Justice Department and the Department of Education are insisting that: ‘A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity…’ The discomfort that this approach may cause to others is considered insufficient to justify a policy that disadvantages transgender pupils. Meanwhile, in the UK, student unions at three British universities are campaigning for sanitary towel bins in male toilets ‘for men who menstruate’.

Toilets aside, the transgender agenda has made massive strides over recent months. There have been ‘transgender days’ in primary schools to raise issues surrounding gender identity, and a CBBC documentary about a girl who now identifies as a 13-year-old boy was judged the best children’s programme at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards for 2016.

A short-lived online survey for 13-18 year-olds released by the Children’s Commissioner for England, asked teenagers, ‘How do you define your gender?’ and offered 23 options, including ‘gender fluid’, ‘genderqueer’, ‘tri-gender’, ‘all genders’ and ‘intersex’. In case no single option adequately expressed how the young people felt about themselves, respondents were invited to ‘Choose as many as you want.’

Not to be left out, the politicians are also jumping on the transgender bandwagon. In January, the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee report onTransgender Equality recommended that ‘Trans issues (and gender issues generally) should be taught as part of Personal, Social and Health Education’ in schools. It further recommended that ‘provision should be made to allow 16- and 17-year-olds, with appropriate support, to apply for gender recognition, on the basis of self-declaration’.

In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has advocated ‘enabling young people to make informed choices about their gender and sexual identity’ and called for ‘greater recognition and greater protection’ for people who do not identify as a man or a woman to be a priority for the current parliament.

Has the world gone mad?

In the not-so-distant past a man who claimed to be a woman, or a woman who professed to be a man, would have been regarded as seriously deluded at best, and treated as an object of pity.

It is a simple fact of human experience that women menstruate and men do not – no matter what the men and women concerned may feel about themselves. A person’s sex is an objective fact. For someone to claim that he or she is something other than his or her biological sex is a sign of confused thinking and should be treated as such.

Yet now, in the name of ‘trans inclusion’, we are expected to take such claims with the utmost seriousness. And it’s not just a question of ‘playing along with it’ either. We are instructed to align our own thinking to the delusions of a tiny minority of people who are persuaded that their gender differs from the sex they were ‘assigned at birth’.

Not only that, but schools, universities, hospitals and other public institutions are expected to adopt policies and introduce procedures and practices on the basis of a delusion.

One of the most disturbing things about gender ideology is the effect that it has on our perception of reality. Imagine that I, as a middle-aged, white British man, tell you that I am a young, black African woman. If you were to address and treat me as such, you would be acting contrary to the clear evidence staring you in the face. Quite literally you would be calling black white, and white black. You would be placing my subjective feelings above the objective facts.

And your ‘enlightened’, ‘progressive’ attitude would not be doing me any good. If I were genuinely confused about my identity, you would merely be reinforcing me in my confusion and delusion.

Last year over 1,400 children who identified as transgender were referred to the Tavistock Clinic Gender Identity Development Service, twice the number referred in 2014. The number of under-18s receiving gender treatment from the NHS Gender Identity Disorder Service similarly saw a massive increase from 97 in 2009/10 to 1,013 between April and December 2015. If gender ideology continues to take root, the confusion will only increase and those numbers will rise.

A truly compassionate approach towards those struggling with feelings at variance with their biological sex would honestly, gently and patiently seek to help them to recognise and accept what they are, and not pretend that they are what they are not.

… What a healthy dose of common sense!  May our Lord Jesus Christ lead more people to the truth and help them to see the dangers and delusions of “trans” ideology.