This weeks column in Christian Today –
Why words are so important when it comes to talking about gender
In the working-class housing estates of the UK, in the inner-city poor areas of the US, and in the Western suburbs of Sydney, there is little evidence of, or support for, the woke ideology which seems to have gripped much of the leadership of Western society in the 21st Century.
It was recently reported that 27% of Harvard students identified as LGBTQI+. And it was a private school in England where a baroness addressing the students resulted in the bullying and hounding out of a girl who dared to suggest that biological sex might matter!
One day someone will write a PhD on why it is that the elites have become so inebriated on this extremist ideology. When they do so, they should examine the historical documents surrounding the hysteria in Whitehall and the central echelons of the Civil Service in the UK. In an astonishing report in The Telegraph, whistleblowers have revealed just how ingrained this ideology has become. One can only imagine the fun that the writers of Yes Minister would have had with this – ‘Sir Humphrey and the 100- genders of Whitehall’ would make quite an episode.
The only problem is that this is reality, not satire. According to The Telegraph investigation, Civil Service bosses have told their staff that there are more than 100 recognised genders – including transgender, transsexual, non-binary, gender fluid, genderqueer, gender variant, cross-dresser, genderless, third gender or bigender, intersex, omnigender, pangender, two spirit, gender outlaw, demigender, gendervoid and graygender.
What does this matter? Is it not just words? Not according to one civil servant who said that he was only promoted after wearing a ‘non-binary’ lanyard. Another was told that they were expected to spend 20% of their ‘corporate objective’ time working within ‘corporate identity networks’ aimed at building an ‘inclusive’ civil service. The problem of course is that ‘inclusive’ does not include people who are Christian (or indeed other religions) or any who dare to disagree with progressive dogmas.
While civil servants tell of being ordered to celebrate the Transgender Day of Remembrance and Bisexuality Visibility Day, I am fairly certain that no such days of remembrance have been held for the tens of thousands of Christians martyred every year.
In September, Department of Health and Social Care employees were informed about an event celebrating ‘World Afro Day’ where the panel apparently “top officials from across the Government, including an individual from the security services and mandarins from Ofsted, BEIS, MoJ, DfE and others”. You would suspect that they might be able to make better use of their time and our money.
One Treasury official testified that at his appraisal he was asked what pronouns should be used for him. Civil Service HR guidelines even suggest that people can change their identity (and pronouns) any time they want.
It reminds me of the story I heard of a man who identified as a woman on Wednesdays so that he could become the Labour parties’ women’s representative – he did. Apparently, this is now the rule in Whitehall.
The Telegraph report further claims that in July 2020, officials were instructed not to use gendered language such as ‘mother’, ‘father’, ‘his’ and ‘ladies and gentlemen’. I would say that all of this is crazy, but apparently that too is a word that the Whitehall mandarins want to ban.
The result of all this is that language is destroyed – and this from people whose work is all about language – and that an atmosphere of fear and intimidation is introduced into the workplace. You can be sure that this insanity will permeate to the corporations, universities, schools and other public bodies.
It is doubtful that the Church will escape this virus. The Church of Scotland, for example, is supporting the Scottish Government’s Gender Recognition Act. The PCUSA (Presbyterian Church USA) has announced a new project called ‘Queering the Bible’ which is a 16-part study (rewriting?) of the Gospel of Mark for Queer folk.
Why does it matter? Because we are beings made in the image of the God who communicates through words. How we use words, as those who follow the Word, is important. When language was confused at the tower of Babel, it led to destruction and scattering. Our world is becoming a deeply confused world, a dangerous world where words have no meaning and life becomes meaningless.
The book of Ecclesiastes is a great description of, and antidote for, today’s wokery. In chapter 12, Solomon tells us, “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12: 12-14).
Instead of fearing using the wrong pronouns in front or our boss, might it not be better for us all to go back to fearing the Lord – which is the beginning of wisdom. Perhaps if our civil servants sought wisdom rather than wokery we might be governed better?
David Robertson runs The ASK Project in Sydney, Australia. He blogs at the Wee Flea.