Question: When is a debate not a debate? Answer: When there is no debate. Last week all the Scottish parliamentary party leaders spoke at such a 'debate'. It was organised by various LGBT groups ahead of the coming Scottish elections. Every single leader fell over themselves to applaud every part of the LGBT movement and tried to outdo each other in promising new 'rights'. There was no dissent, no questioning, no debate.
Kezia Dugdale, the Labour leader who came out as gay the following day, wanted LGBT issues to be taught in every subject in school. Patrick Harvie, bisexual, the Green leader, wanted faith schools to be forced to teach the LGBT agenda. Liberal Leader Willie Rennie wanted to get rid of "the archaic system we have now" (having male and female is just so 20th Century!) and Ruth Davidson (also gay), the Tory leader, was equally on message. But as usual it was SNP leader and first minister Nicola Sturgeon who stole the headlines.
She proposed that the issue now for 'equality' is transgender. The new doctrine was expressed by the first minister: "Enabling young people to make informed choices about their gender and sexual identity is about supporting them to be themselves so that they might fulfil their potential," she said. Think about this extraordinary statement. It is the ultimate application of Disney theology to the mainstream 'you can be whatever you want to be'. But gender is not something we choose or that is 'assigned' for us by our parents or doctors. Like skin colour and height it is something that we born with. Even the impeccably liberal Times pointed out that "Stephen Pinker's The Blank Slate... comprehensively demolishes the notion that a human life is self-authored. We are all biological creatures too and one of the characteristics we inherit is gender."
This week I became a grandad. My granddaughter was not 'assigned' gender at birth, as though she were being given a name. She IS a girl. She is not one of several genders that she can get to pick and choose as she pleases later on, according to some societal construct or government edict. To teach that girl when she is five years old that she has the ability to choose whether she will be a boy or girl or one of the other 26 genders on Facebook, is to create a world of confusion, distortion and insanity.
The Conservative British government is proposing that people will find it easier to change gender. Not wanting to be overtaken in the 'progressive' race to the bottom, the Nationalist Scottish government is going to go further. People will now be able to change their gender, without need for psychological or medical consultation. The Scottish government will join Denmark, Australia and Malta in creating a third gender (why not a fourth, fifth or millioneth?)
And all this is to begin very young. Schools will be compelled to be trans-friendly and teachers will be sent for re-education to ensure they know what they are supposed to do. It is a policy I fear will bring untold disaster and harm upon Scotland's children. This is nothing less than state-sponsored indoctrination of the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society. To tell children that they can choose their own gender is a recipe for misuse and abuse. In fact, I would go as far to say that teaching children they can choose their own gender is itself arguably a form of child abuse.
And there are other implications as well. For example, it destroys the gender quota proposals of the Scottish government. What happens if someone feels that their political career is being hampered because they are the wrong gender? If all one has to do is fill out a form and announce that they are another gender, then what is to stop someone deciding to do so if they think it will enable them to further their career and job prospects? This is why Germaine Greer and others in the feminist movement are appalled at the gender fluid movement – it will destroy feminism. It will also destroy women's sport. Have you seen the pictures of the Iranian women's football team – eight of whom are said to be men awaiting sex change operations? (Somewhat surprisingly, Iran is one of the main countries in the world for this operation).
How have we ended up in this mess? It is certainly not because of popular demand, or pressure from the bottom up. The vast majority of ordinary people have never pushed for the notion of gender fluidity to be recognised. But we are not in a society where ordinary people run anything. We have government by the 1 per cent for the 1 per cent. We have government by lobby and special interest groups. We have an increasingly intrusive and authoritarian state determining what people should eat, wear, drink and think. We have a political class with such hubris that they think they can re-make humanity according to their dictate. In terms of sexual ethics we have moved from 'God made me that way' to 'pick 'n' mix sexuality'. We have moved from same-sex marriage to transgender. Now we are moving from transgender to gender fluidity. I have a suspicion as to where we will go next in this never ending path to Nirvana/destruction. And it is the poor, as always, who will suffer the most.
No one dares challenge the narrative of the LGBT activists. This is hardly surprising given the political and media power wielded by the LGBT agenda. Activists have boasted about how the Scottish parliament is the 'gayest' in the world. Four of the six party leaders and the Scottish secretary are gay. When 75 per cent of your main political leaders belong to the 1 per cent of the population who are gay, it is a little difficult to claim the mantle of the persecuted minority, although that narrative is still used to justify more government money being spent on LGBT issues.
Most politicians, journalists and educators who disagree dare not speak out or do not think it is worth the hate mob that follows anyone who challenges the new absolutist morality. And the Church has been divided and weak. We have given up the prophetic role of the proclaimer of God's Word. Where the elites lead, we meekly follow – usually about 10 years later. Church leaders are remarkably good at speaking out about world issues, pontificating about peace in other countries and making grandiose statements about issues which they can do very little about and which cost us nothing. Our problem is precisely the same as that of the general culture – we have turned away from God and his Word.
Romans 1 teaches us that the worst thing God can do to us, is grant us our desire for autonomy and leave us to get on with running his world, our way. The chaos and confusion that follows is what the Bible calls Babylon. But God is not the author of confusion. He is the God of order, not disorder. Jesus is the Truth. And the fruit of the Spirit is life, light, love and peace. The Christian is not someone who seeks autonomy, to be master of their own universe. We do not find our identity in our sexuality, politics, wealth or status. We find our identity in Christ. We are part of his body and we live for him. In Christ alone our hope is found. There is nothing more radical, liberating and wonderful than that. That is the faith that preserves what is good in society and shows up what is evil and corrupt. That is the faith that turns the world upside down.
May God grant us all such a faith. We need it. Our country needs it. The world needs it. In the words of the 20th Century prophet, Bob Dylan, we'd better start changing, or we'll sink like stone, cos the times they are a changing!
David Robertson is the moderator of the Free Church of Scotland and director of Solas CPC, Dundee.