Log In

Reset Password
BERMUDA | RSS PODCAST

Motivated by compassion

August 8, 2011

Dear Sir,

A friend of mine recently chastised me for “making life difficult for gay people” with my recent Letters to the Editor. I respectfully disagree. My letters put gay rights on the table for public debate and attracted intelligent responses by two passionate advocates for changes to the Human Rights Act. Such public discourse is commensurate with the ideals of a democratic society. If it should bring about a change in the law, then so be it. Having this dialogue was surely better than not having it at all. With hindsight, however, I do wish that I had posted my letters anonymously. By signing my name, I wanted my gay friends to know that I respect and cherish them as individuals and am willing to be held to account. For that bit of hubris, others have subjected me to vicious personal attacks and even threatened to expel me from my favourite social club. Friendships have been tested and I have been declared an enemy online by people that have never met me. Internet activist attacks have forced me to shut down my blog. Under some duress, I state that this will be my final letter.

It is ironic that 'Resident' and 'Equal' speak of human rights. The great atheist philosopher Frederick Nietzsche attributed to the Judeo-Christian worldview the twin ideas that all people are created equal and that human life is precious. Our lives have moral worth because we are created in the Image of God. Nietzsche's warning was that human rights are mere illusions unless the God of Biblical Christianity exists.

The ontological equality of human beings was the driving force behind the evangelical Christian, William Wilberforce's campaign to end slavery, the movement for democracy and self-government, and an international doctrine of human rights. However, as my previous letters argue, the West is now renouncing Christianity. In doing so, I submit that The West is losing the idea of equal moral worth that Christianity gifted to the world.

Cultures throughout history have rejected the idea of human equality because there are obviously so many physical and mental differences between us. The Christian view of human equality is that it is a moral equality. The lives of the prince and the pauper have equal value in the eyes of God. In both his letters, Resident's exegetically naive interpretation of John 8 demonstrates that he misunderstands what it means to be equal in the eyes of God. He has imposed an ideologically-loaded definition of the word 'discrimination' onto the text, with no attempt to understand the verses in their theocratic and historical context.

Moral equality does not mean that all human behaviours are morally equal, or automatically warrant protection by the State. The nature and character of the Christian God provides the necessary grounding for the existence of objective moral values and duties. Moral rules include prohibitions against certain actions and expressions of behaviour. Moral equality means simply that God loves each of us equally and desires us to come into relationship with Him through the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the great equaliser of humanity, who would make masters of us all by making servants of us all: the one whom it is a source of just pride to obey.

The universalism of the 1948 United Nations declaration on human rights was based on the Christian premise that all human lives have worth and that all lives count equally. In the last couple of decades, however, the UN Council has created new human rights that both undermine this premise and are overtly hostile to the Biblical worldview. Nietzsche warned that Western values are “shadows of gods”, that would vanish if the Christian foundation were removed.

We are now witnessing the decline that Nietzsche predicted, including the demolition of the nuclear family, the restoration of infanticide and a dramatic increase in the practice of euthanasia. The UN may still insist that human beings have dignity, value and worth but in practice, secular 'human rights' law does not reflect the Christian idea of a spiritual equality of souls. The BBC refers to England as a 'post-Christian culture', whose courts have declared that children need to be protected from becoming “infected” with Christian moral values. There and all across Canada and Europe, the courts have made it clear that secular liberalism will always trump the Christian's right to speak and act according to his conscience. I suggest that if Bermuda's Christian culture dies, so too will those cherished values that secularists have usurped in order to bring about its demise.

I was a solitary voice in a small community so it was not difficult to find ways to silence me. My thanks to 'Resident' and 'Equal' for demonstrating that moral discourse does not have to be a shouting match. I have never attempted to justify the wilful mistreatment of anyone, because that is not the Christian way. However, I accept with regret that some friends will never see my stance as anything other than blind prejudice. I could be wrong about everything, but I am motivated by compassion for those that I believe are held captive by destructive ideas. I hope that someone, similarly motivated by the love of Christ, will continue this dialogue before others make it illegal to do so. For heaven's sake though, take my advice: write under a pseudonym.

STEPHEN NOTMAN

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published August 09, 2011 at 11:00 am (Updated August 09, 2011 at 11:31 am)

Motivated by compassion

What you
Need to
Know
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon