|'Emotion dolls' used in a gender-neutral Swedish preschool|
Just when one might fervently hope we had arrived at peak idiocy in the so-called ‘social justice’ culture wars, I read this morning in a major news outlet that several Swedish primary schools have banned the use of the words ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ in an effort to abolish gender stereotypes from an early age. (http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/28/health/sweden-gender-neutral-preschool/index.html) One might as well ban the words penis and vagina whilst one is at it. This effort of culture cleansing is making the gigantic assumption that all culturally-ingrained sexual stereotypes are wrong and should be excised. They are also making the assumption that banning words is a significant way to go about doing this. They are making a further assumption that because a tiny percentage of the population is gender-confused, that the best way to deal with that is to make their confusion the new norm and to declare the vast majority of human beings to be abnormal in their experience and use of language. The crazy thing is, these people are succeeding in redefining both language and the morality behind that language.
Sweden is an interesting choice for such a cultural experiment because genuine Christian morality was replaced long ago by a moral posture that has abolished absolutes and instead has thrown the anchor of morality overboard into the abyss of a bottomless sea of subjectivity and the power of human reason and human society to decide what is best for everybody but never hitting bottom, giving the appearance of moral certitude but driven across the sea by the contrary stormy winds of moral fashion and whim. We have seen this happen before in every totalitarian society that has to create a new morality to sustain it’s ideology. Like so many first century Roman galleys, it’s not a matter of if but when these out of control forces drive the ship into the rocks.
Ironically, these self-proclaimed cultural elites decry the imposition of absolute Christian values on the basis that no such absolutes exist, only to replace them with their own set of values that turn out to be even more absolutist and totalitarian than those they are replacing. This complete hypocrisy goes unnoticed by most in the press and government because they are, after all, playing the same game.
I have made the observation before and must make it again. We are no longer in a majority Christian culture, and Christian values are no longer defining our society. We are reverting to a point in the Church’s history where the dominant values, culture and language was pagan and where the politics and resulting society was controlled top-down and was essentially totalitarian. Given that Christians, when we did control governments and cultures, made such an utter hash of things by our incompetence and corruption, I am not persuaded that the cultural revolt against Christian morality we are witnessing today is an altogether bad thing. In too many instances we Christians have ended up hurting others and not helping others. We are getting what we deserved for our terrible stewardship. Whilst in a minority status in the Roman world, Christians were able to focus on those things that distinguished themselves from everybody around them - their love of God, their love of neighbor and their willingness to live and die for what they believed. Their neighbors took notice, and some of them were drawn to the faith as a result. Does anybody stand up and take notice of Christians today except for the unfriendly press that is constantly on the prowl to catch out Christians in their hypocrisy (which is all too easy to do, evidently)? The reason is likely that Christians, who are supposed to be God’s counter-culture in this world have instead embodied the world by their lifestyle and their values, a lifestyle and values that too often give the lie to the faith that they profess.
So these Swedish educators undoubtedly feel noble, that they are on the cutting edge of where society is going and thus doing a good thing. We Christians may feel that they are instead placidly paddling towards the Niagra Falls of cultural degradation. But we need to ask ourselves, how have we contributed to all the negative stereotypes of men and women that are used to abuse both individuals and entire genders? When have we not stepped up to stop the terrible treatment of women as made equally with men in the image of God? When have we not defended the beauty, the reality and the necessity of gender differences as essential in God’s created paradise, whilst separating from them the ways these differences have been used to deny women equal rights and privileges in both law and culture from the richness these differences and diversities give us? We Christians have enabled the further bad treatment of women (and minorities) by passively ignoring that bad treatment or actively participating in the prejudices of the surrounding culture.
But now we are adrift in an ocean of moral madness. We’re already battered by the waves of so-called sexual freedom and the pornogrified culture it has been shaping for a generation. The murder of unborn infants is now passe, as is state-sanctioned euthanasia in too many states and countries. Christian morality has been curtly dismissed from the discussion and our own hypocrisy has sent us packing from the table. So now yet another wave pushes us further into open water. Swedish schools are saying goodbye to ‘boys’ and ‘girls’. This is crazy. This is chilling. But as with so much going on in our world (see below) I’m sad to say it’s not surprising.