Books Education Ethics Scotland

Letter from Australia 76  – Brenda is a Sheep.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings from an Australia which continues to battle against Covid and so far, seems to be doing rather well (only four community cases in the whole country today – all of them linked to known clusters – only 40 people in hospital in the whole country and none in ICU).   But the leaders are rightly remaining cautious.   Nonetheless I cannot help but feel we are well protected and privileged.  I hope we will use that well.  I write Covid prayer notes every week for Australian Christian media – which contain World and Australian figures – you can get the latest one here – https://christiansunited.online/2021/weekly-prayer-guide-10th-january-2021/

This virus is not the only one plaguing the world.  There seems to be a bizarre collective madness which has gripped the elite sections of Western society – that is the desire to confuse humanity by divorcing gender and sex from biology.  The transgender fad is spreading virus like and those who promote it have a particular desire to instil their unscientific and dangerous ideology in children – in what can only be described as a form of child abuse.

Back in my beloved Scotland, that madness has a particular grip amongst the civic elites. I was sent this video this week.

‘Brenda is a Sheep’ is a book which of course has been shortlisted for the Bookbug Picture Book Prize and more alarmingly is being given to all primary one pupils in Scotland.  That is to five-year-olds.

It is a grossly irresponsible and grotesque piece of propaganda which has a harmful message.   The story begins well enough – Brenda is a wolf who dresses up in sheep’s clothing and dreams of eating the sheep with mint sauce.   At that point, aka Little Red Riding Hood, this could be a cautionary safeguarding tale about the dangers of predators – which our children sadly do need to be warned about.   But this is 2021 and so Brenda can be whoever she wants to be.  When she is presented with grass in mint sauce, Brenda decides not to eat the sheep because, amazingly overnight she has become a sheep.   In fact, as a wolf in sheep’s clothing she is even better than the real sheep.

What a wonderful message to give to children!  Be nice to predators and they won’t harm you!  It’s also a lie – wolves are meat eaters – they don’t change when you dress them up in sheep’s clothing and offer them a hug!  Wings Over Scotland – https://wingsoverscotland.com/brenda-isnt-a-sheep/ has an excellent comment – “As it is, the book ends, but nobody’s living happily ever after. Later that evening, or the next day or the day after, Brenda’s carnivorous wolf stomach is going to be grumbling and churning, because grass just won’t quell Brenda’s craving, and someone’s going to have a grisly job picking up the bloody wreckage of what happens next.Don’t say you weren’t warned. Don’t say nobody told you.”

In the video in the Wings article, the man reading the story is a ‘safeguarding lead’ at a primary school!

The Scottish government is promoting a book which tells children that wolves can become sheep – just as men can become women.   After all we are all fundamentally good – and can be whatever we want to be.

It reminds me of an exchange I had in a bookstore in Cambridge once.  A young atheist man told me that he had actually enjoyed the talk I had given and that I wasn’t as evil as he had been told, but he was puzzled by one thing.  “You seem to have a very low opinion of human beings…you don’t think that humans are basically good”.  

I replied,  “I have a very high opinion of human beings – they are made in the image of God.  But I also know that we are no longer good – there is evil in every one of us.”

That’s a very negative view – I believe that human beings are fundamentally good”….

”Do you have any evidence for that belief?”

No – but I have to believe it – do you have any evidence the other way?”.

“Yes – we are in a bookshop – wander over to the history section and bring me any book and I will prove to you that we are flawed and fallen creatures!  Your faith, without evidence, that human beings are good, is a delusional and dangerous belief”.

How can it be dangerous to believe people are good?”

“Imagine my 7-year-old daughter coming home to me and saying , ‘Dad, I met a man in the park who was so nice.  He gave me sweets and lollies and he asked if I would like to go to his house and play games with him – can I go?  He was such a nice man!’.   If I believe that human beings are fundamentally good and act on that belief by letting my daughter go – how dangerous and stupid is that?”.  He got the point.

But now children in Scotland are being taught that all you need to do is be nice to those who want to eat you, and all will be well!

Of course the wolves in sheep’s clothing is a scriptural image – Jesus warns us about that.  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15

But don’t worry – apparently all wolves are really sheep!  (Unless perhaps they are right wing ones…perhaps if I write a children’s book about a sheep called Boris and entitle it ‘Boris is a wolf’ I could win the next prize and all children in Scotland could be given it to warn them that Tories will eat you!?)….

The Scottish government has other things to worry about just now – with Nicola Sturgeon being accused of lying to the Scottish Parliament by Alex Salmond.  If that is true, then I cannot see how she could remain – but in a world where wolves can be sheep – I guess proven liars can be First Minister.

Oh Scotland, my Scotland!  You have moved from being the land of the people of the Book, where children were taught ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ to a land where children are taught to trust wolves in sheeps clothing! We can barely teach children to read (see The De-Enlightenment of Scotland – Thoughts on a Brilliant Article )but we can teach them that you can be whatever you want to be.

When will parents, teachers and the churches wake up to this dangerous indoctrination that is being spoon fed our children?   I will teach my grandchildren that there are sheep, and there are wolves, and that there is only One Good Shepherd who can, and will protect them…

See you next week,

David

Brenda is a Sheep – The Scottish Government Responds.

Letter from Australia 75 – The End of (Spiritual) Drought?

 

 

 

 

29 comments

  1. Sickening. 🙁

    Scotland seems to be so much further down this path than even Australia but I dread we will follow you there. I am also afraid of what will happen when the pendulum inevitably swings back hard the other way. 🙁

    Anyway, I have a question for you that is really bothering me, Pastor. It is off-topic and I am not really even sure what I am asking so I will probably ramble a bit but it relates to politics and history, so it should be right up your alley. 🙂

    I’ve noticed a lot of theology books these days talk about empire as one of the ultimate forms of evil in this world. You see this with nutty extreme liberal types like Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan but also with somemore orthodox Christian thinkers. They talk about this in terms of Jesus offering a kind of passive resistance to the Roman Empire and the pronouncement that “Jesus is Lord” as being an implicit political sratement that Caesar is not Lord and that the Pax Romana was a false idol.

    They also talk about the evils of Empire in relation to Revelation 13 and the beast with many heads. I am curious to know when this kind of reading arose and how much merit do you think it has? It seems to me “empire” is a much more ambiguous, two-edged sword than modern theologians are making out. To take the British Empire as an example, many fine Christians in the 19th Century were also patriotic and loyal to the British Empire and saw it as a vehicle for reachkng unevangelised people. How would they have understood Revelation then? How would they have looked back on the Roman Empire, remembering it became Christianised too?

    That is not to say the British Empire is without blemish – we know it committed horrific crimes in India and South Africa, to give just two examples, including the construction of the first concentration camps, massacres, mass displacement of peoples and so on. We also know some people make an idol of their nation or Empire or may put their trust in a “might makes right” doctrine like Pax Romana, Pax Britannica or indeed, Pax Americana, instead of in the Prince of Peace. However for so many British Christians, in an age far more teligious than ours, to be relatively uncritical of Empire, they clearly saw its benegits too and presumably felt tjis putweighed its shortcomings. Therefore, how did they see Jesus’ relationship to Empire and the multi-headed beast of Revelation and when did the shift in thinking to unequivocal condemnation of Empire as an embodiment of evil occur? Is it something that arose in aftermath of WW1 for instance or trend started by modern progressives/liberals that orthodox Christians have picked up upon?

    Thanks in advance for your help. God bless.

    1. Thanks – its an interesting question. I don’t think that the Bible says that de facto Empires are wrong. However I do think that the Bibles teaching about sin would suggest that human government should be limited to national states at most. Empires tend to give sinful people too much power. Empire however can be used for good so I don’t think that it is necessarily evil.

      1. Thanks, Pastor. That is a really helpful viewpoint. Yes, human sin definitely needs to be limited, so sovereign states are a good boundary. Whilst appealing on the surface for calling for human unity, utopian Marxist and Fabian ideas of a one world government frighten me too for that reason, since it would inevitably become corrupted with that much power, even if it was feasible to implement and humanity would be putting all of its eggs in one basket.

        I think God can use empire, just like he uses other sinful institutions and individuals, for his own gkory, such as how he used the Romand and British Empires to further the spread of yhe Gospel. 19th Century missionaries, though they have a bad reputation now for their mindset and “cultural imperialism”, seemed to recognise God was working in this way and took advantage of the Empire’s trade routes and expanding frontiers to evangelise previously-unreached people.

        Yes, the Bible doesn’t seem to explicitly say Empire is wrong in the way that liberal and progressive Christians today argue. Jesus eas resolutely non-political and accepted both zealots and collaborators as apostles and refused to be a revolutionary military leader, despite the brutality He must have witnessed at times by the Romans and ultimately experienced for Himself on the cross.

        By rejecting the miraculous and literal in the Bible, it seems like Progressive Christians like Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan can only express their beliefs through a political prism and radical action as they no longer believe in spiritualoty, an afterlife or that Jesus is God incarnate or that He physically resurrected. Therefore, they focus on the here and now instead since they only believe in a future or spirituality in a very vague, wishy-washy sense. (Left-wing) politics and high church ritual are the only concrete things these progressives have to cling onto.

        Thanks again so much for tsking the time to reply, Pastor. God bless. Have a great day and stay safe in these uncertain times.

        David

    2. That is a great question! I hope Pastor David takes the time to answer you in detail.

      Meanwhile, this is a good basic resource on evangelical attitudes to the British Empire:

      https://www.britishempire.co.uk/article/evangelicalempire.htm

      As you suspected, attitudes were much more nuanced back then than they are today with our modern leftist theologians’ knee-jerk reaction that all aspects of empire are, by necessity, utterly evil.

      1. Thank you. That is a good overview. Yes, empire is always going to have some very negative aspects since it involves, by definition, some people dominating others but I suspected the interpretation of the Gospels and Revelation that focuses very much on empire as an epitome of evil, whilst containing a kernel of truth, is very much a modrn innovation and that empirewas not necessarily looked upon by Christians in purely negative terms in the past.

      2. I should also add that it is interesting that linked article also points out how, “More directly, missionary work also stimulated imperialism”, so the two sometimes fed off each other like the example they give of the annexation of Fiji and the fact that missionaries knew conditions on the ground. It is also good that it points out how spreading Christian influence not only led to more peolle being evangelised but also helped abolish the slave trade and establish hospitals and schools in the colonised lands.

        Whilst being more positive about missionary influence than is currently fashionable, it is also good that the artcle also points out some of the worst negatives of imperialism like the false god of jingoism and the glorification of soldiery we find in that period.

      3. Also, rightly or wrongly, early on there was a view that an expanding empire would provide a protective buffer for the Protestant UK against Catholic states like Spain, France and Ireland:

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zgh9ycw/revision/2

        I am not sure how Christian a view this is since we should surely put our faith in Christ alone rather than in guns and economic/land expansion…

        Continuing backwards through the pages on the site, the idea of national identity had emerged earlier, out of the Hundred Years’ War:

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zgh9ycw/revision/1

        I hope this all helps! Cheers.

      4. I should add some more to follow up on my comments from this morning:

        Yes, so this proves that the woke political/Progressive Christian idea that Empire is wholly bad is a modern innovation. Older thought was much kire nuanced. There is no doubt some absolutely atrocious things were done in the name of Empire but there were also many good things.

        Progressive Christians were probably influenced by Foucault’s ideas on power relationships, along with their rejection of the supernatural and fear of an authoritarian God when they started reading the Gospels (and Jesus’ actions therein) and Revelation as purely political diarribes that undermine the evil of the Foman Empire. As said above, Progressives only have a very vague, nebulous faith in the hereafter, do put their energies into building God’s (woke!) Kingdom on Earth…

        I’ve read Borg and I’ve encoubtered his sycophantic followers in the Progressive Christianity movement. Amazing how their conckusions always match the poliyically coorecct cutrents of the cultyre of the day with their liberal politics and New Age panentheist views. The Jesus Seminar wwere a bunch of hacks with preconceived ideas so I wouldn’t take any noyice of that crowd. Most mainstream theolohians have asserted Biblical orthodoxy so it is extremely disapppointing this fringe, intent on kodern reinterpretations of everythkng, gained so much ocygen from the media.

        In short, Empire is a two-edged seord and Jesus was not primaroly voncerned with the politics of this world. Guve to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. Even when Empire is bad, God can use bad things to further His (spiritual) kingdom. Cheers.

      5. By the way, this is a good discussion on post-Brexit Britain’s future published last September. It explores why a re-birth of the Empire is not a viable option, the problems with turning the Commonwealth into a trading bloc and the possibility of “CANZUK” as an Anglo-sphere equivalent to the EU:

        https://medium.com/datadriveninvestor/britain-brexit-and-the-legacy-of-empire-468bc2eb91ea

        It is interesting when you see these are articles wiyh their pipe-dreams of a re-born Empire that religion never factors in. As we have seen in the articles above, it was one of the major motivators for the creation of the Empire in the first place. Now with Britain in steep decline into secularism it is people from the former colonies who are coming as missionaries to evangelise the former mother country. What a complete role-reversal to Britain’s huge shame but what a wonderful testimony to the people of the former colonies that they are repaying the favour. A revived Empire woukd be driven by liberal secular humanism and would, no doubt, seek to impose this woke, spiritually lifeless culture throughout its sphere of influence. No thanks! America’s exportation of its own culture wars is enough let alone Britain doing the same with high priests like Richard Dawkkns espousing their scientism to the third world.

        Also, “Catholic” France and Ireland are clearly no longer a geo-political and military threat to Britain and Spain and the UK only have the occassional heated argument over Gibraltar. Thus, many key motivating factors for having an Empire are gone. Those that remain for the pipedreamers are important but soulless ones, like trade and economics and nostalgia for past glories and power and a failure to accept Britain’s reduced influence and prestige on the world stage.

        Hence, religion, the need for a protective bbulwark for vulnerable Protestant countries and enthusiasm for missionary endeavours are now absent in Britain as major drivers for a hypothetical resurgent Empire’s expansion and consolidation. The only motivating factors left are money and power and I would dread to live as a colonial subject driven by those ideals alone. It would be the makings of hell on earth.

      6. I should add to clarify my last point that an Empire motivated solely by money and power, creating a “hell on earth” is probably how the current crop of Leftists and Progressive “Christians” DO see the Empire when they look back through the distorting prism of their ideological worldviews, since they reject the spiritual and disdain the positive aspects of Empire such as the ability it gave missionaries to work towards more essily fulfiling the Great Commission, since the woke crowd now deride this as suppressing local cultures. Protecting Protestantism means nothing to the atheists or the Progressive Christians either, whom I’ve noticed lean towards a very liberal form of Anglo-Catholic ritualism for the most part. If anything, both groups would be very much openly hostile towards this stated aim of Empire. They would like nothing more than to see Protestantism/Biblical Christianity die.

      7. Finally, even with the restraint of Christianity as the dominant ideology of the Empire, we know many, many horrific atrocities and what we would now call war crimes were committed by people who wrre evidently Christian in ame only. How much worse would it be now with that restraint lifted? We already know from the recent Australian military revelations what kind of atrocities our current secular “enlightened” West is capable of. A modern Empire with an flaky ideological underpinning of secular humanism/moral relativism would no doubt see such disgusting and horrific, war crimes multiplied a hundredfold. 🙁

      8. One final thing: a lot of the war crimes and atrocities were undpubtedly caused by English arrogance fuelled by the Social Darwinist ideology that conflicted with Christianity as the Empire’s moral core. After all, this led to jingoism, xenophobia and a belief that the English were ravially superior to their brown and black subjects, dehumanising them and making such crimes easier to commit. Interesting that an atheist ideology led to this, just as Social Darwinism was one factor (akongst others) thst influenced the development of Nazism and its own crimes. If Christian morality had not been there as a restraint, perhaps the Empire would have committed far worse crimes than even the Nazis.

      9. That is incredibly helpful information, Roj_Blake. The links are a good intro to the relationship between Christianity and the British Empire and your analysis and thoughts on the issue are extremely helpful. Good work! 🙂

      10. On Breitbart (of all places) today there is an article rebuking a professor for saying the British Empire was worse than Nazi Germany:

        https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2021/02/13/churchill-college-hosts-anti-churchill-academics-perfect-embodiment-white-supremacy-british-empire-far-worse-nazis

        I really don’t know where I stand on this. The British Empire undoubtedly murdered millions and invented concentration camps. In many ways, the Nazis were just copying the Brits. In fact, one Nazi propaganda film, “Ohm Kruger” (Uncle Kruger) about the Boer War makes the case explicitly: the film mire or less says, “The British are so evil with their murderous underhand ways and concentration camps, us poor Nazis are foing to have to use their methods and fight fire with fire if we are to defeat them!”

        Of course, Churchill decried the Nazis’ use of concentration camps and then utilised them himself in Kenya in the 1950s… 🙁

        However, the British Empire also brought missionaries and developed infrastructure for the locals. Some countries like Rhodesia/Zimbabwe were not ready to rule themselves and dramatically fell apart when the British left. The British Empire’s ideology was Christianity (mixed with social Darwinism), though it often failed to live up to it whereas Nazi Germany had a nihilistic political cult, drawing on elements of paganism and also utilised social Darwinist ideas. Ultimayely, they were both expansionist, militaristic empires with a good deal of racial pseudo-science being used to legitimise their causes. The British Empire was primarily focused on trade and a civilising mission whereas the Nazis focused on lebensraum, semi-autarky and the annhilation of lesser races and a fanatical quest to destroy communism and “international jewry”.

        I guess I feel the British Empire was a very mixed bag – where it was good, it was very good indeed but where it wss bad, it was indeed worse than Nazi Germany.

      11. I should also add that both sides targeted civilians in WW2. While the Nazis had the Blitz, the British firebombed ciyies like Dresden, Hamburg and Königsberg. I hooe the innocent civilian “collateral damage” on both sides had time to turn to God and be saved before they died. 🙁 🙁 🙁

        Then there are “incidents” like the attack on Mers-el-Kébir. It all just shows there are no winners in war.

        Of course, my own country, Australia, would not exist without the British Empire and States like Tasmania were economically much better off when they were separate British colonies, before Federation, and it has all been downhill for Tassie since then.

        From my own family history point of view, the British Empire was entirely beneficial to us. An Indian or Welshman whose family was explouted and suffered might have an entirely different point of view, though.

        God bless,

        Jean

      12. Ultimately I think there are too many different experiences at too many different times to compare: an Aryan German in 1934 is going to have a very different experience than a Pole (even a non-Jew) under Nazi rule in 1940 and a conscripted German kid forced onto the Eastern Front in 1944.

        Likewise, someone suffering in an East End slum might gain no benefit from the British Empire, whereas someone being evangelised and hearing the Gospel for the first time from a missionary would receive enormous benefit.

        A Tasmanian colonial in 1880s Hobart would have a very different experience from an Indian being oppressed by Clive or a Dutch farmer caught up in a British attack in the Boer War. The timescales are too vast and the experiences too different from place to place and different ethnic groups, to really evaluate meaningfully. Overall, Nazi Germany brought about far more bad than good obviously and the jury is probably still outon the British Empire.

      13. I am alo just looking at Churchill’s role in the Bengal famine of 1943 and whether his policies were directly responsible for the crisis. Many websites argue this is indeed the case. If he is responsible for deliberately starving the Bengalis, that would make him the moral equivalent of Stalin (who caused the Holmodor).

        This Churchill apologist site offers a defence of the British prime minister though:

        https://winstonchurchill.hillsdale.edu/did-churchill-cause-the-bengal-famine/

        By the way, just to be clear about what I said in my previous post, of course the Holocaust is unprecedented in scale and motivation. I was thinking kote in terms of policies coming from the top. It seems fewer British Imperial crimes were ordered directly from Westminster. It seems like many were conducted by the army acting on their own initiative “on the ground” and peolle like Cecil Rhodes, while London turned a blind eye. As far as I am aware, the British never conducted a systematic genocide (and yes, claims of them implementing a deliberate genocide of the Tasmanian Aborigines is a debunked myth.) Those facts set them apart from the Nazis, though both empires committed many, many atrocitues and crimes against innocent civilians.

    3. Thinking about it some more, the key difference was the fact that the Nazis from the top-down were ordering genocide.

      The British leaders, be it Queen Vic, Gladstone, Disraeli or even Churchill, had no such plan in mind. The Holocaust *has* to be the key difference. I haven’t looked at it in quite that way before.

      Clearly the Brits committed many atrocities in Africa, Asia, Ireland, etc, but a lot of that was remote army officers acting on their own initiative. The Boer War, firebombings in WW2 and Kenya were British orders for war crimes from the very top and tgey were absolytely horrific but they don’t equate to planned genocide so, yeah, the Nazis have to be worse, so far as we limited, flaeed humans have the capacity to judge.

  2. Great article as usual David. It breaks my heart to see our once respected and admired nation slowly going down the ungodly liberal path. As a woman considered an ‘oldie’, I fondly remember starting the school morning with prayer – primary and secondary – learning some of the Shorter Catechism as part of our homework – learning psalms, which never left me. Today if the Shorter Catechism were mentioned in conversation, would anyone know what it was? Our once envied education system is now at an all time low. Spelling appears to be completely neglected. I note with horror that the word ‘of’ has been replaced for the word ‘have’ i.e, “I should of read that book” Grrr. Don’t get me started!!

  3. By the way, I’m just an Aussie but I used to read Wings Over Scotland quite frequently in the lead up to your Indy Ref because I took a strong interest in the debate. I just clicked on the link in the body of your article above – I cannot believe the change. The comments section on every article was full of fanatucal, one-eyed supporters of the SNP – now, judging from that article, Nicola’s “wokeness” has completely alienated them all, especially when I see comments like this:

    “Brenda is a sheep! No she isn’t.

    Nicola is a nationalist! No she isn’t.”

    “Sturgeon’s SNP is simply a Trojan Horse, built to obtain enough votes on the back of support for Indy to enable her Wokerati carpetbaggers to get their gender woo-woo and hate speech nonsense through the front door unnoticed.”

    “It’s like wack a mole they never give up and always operate in secret I wonder why, the same perverted mindset is behind this WOKE infiltration into the SNP again all in Secret because once people find out they are out …”

    Once again WHY are the other parties NOT HIGHLIGHTING Brenda the wolf and ALL the other PISH that is being foisted on our young children in schools, eg flow job and his abominable tweets, are THEY ALSO unconcerned or in agreement with this LUNACY
    THEY are also HR parliamentarians tasked with PROTECTING and EDUCATING our children, are THEY happy that this abomination is being forced on our children , are non of them parents or grandparents who are willing to stand up to this brainwashing or are they all CAPTURED and believers in the WOKE MANTRA

    Do we have to sack every one of them and elect sane rational caring people who have the balls to stand up against this science denying hogwash and to confront these deviants…”

    “You can say what you like about Scottish Labour – but it took them an awful lot longer to go doon the pan than it took the SNP.”

    The good news is that these kind of comments – on a very pro-Indy blog , no less – confirm to me you are right about how awful Scotland has bexome under the SNP and that even many hardcore Scots Nats are awake to them as well. If they have managed to alienate their core support base like this so quickly with their woke-ness, presumably they won’t be in power much longer.

    The bad news is this means I guess you can kiss any hope of Scottish independence away for the foreseeable future. Nicola and friends have squandered their chances by upsetting everyone so much that even the Wings crowd can no longer stand ’em.

  4. I suppose you could be deliberately naive and interpret the book in a way the author did not intend – as a Christian fable. By showing kindness to their enemy the wolf, the sheep win her over as a friend and new convert to their flock. That would be in accordance with Christ’s teachings.

    Of course, we all know what the author really intended… 🙁

  5. Hello David,
    Evil will always CONTINUE. It’s in the Bible …
    We have been given the knowledge that Satan is in the air and roams around to devour God’s creation.
    We are seeing the separation more clearly now between Believers and non believers .
    In Children’s Books to biology and sex ….as David mentioned.
    Jesus died for the World knowing .
    So we know what to do ………but are we ?

  6. “in a world where wolves can be sheep – I guess proven liars can be First Minister.” …. Yep — Canada.

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