In his 1943 book, The Abolition of Man, Christian apologist C S Lewis describes the dehumanising effects of replacing transcendent truth and morality with the preferences of secularist educators, whom he calls ‘the Conditioners’.
His prophetic warning is surely vindicated by the case of a mother threatened with prosecution for objecting to a boy being taken abroad to lose his manhood through transgender surgery.
The facts of the case, as publicised by the Christian Institute, are these:
Stay-at-home mother-of-four Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull was reported to West Yorkshire police in July 2017 by the chief executive officer of a transgender campaign group. Ms Keen-Minshull had expressed criticism of Magnum Ice Cream for a marketing initiative in favour of the transgender group. She had tweeted the company pointing out that the CEO of the transgender group they were backing had taken her 16-year-old son to Thailand for transgender surgery. The tweet described the procedure as involving castration and asserted that ‘transing kids is abuse’. In February of this year, after undergoing training by the transgender group, West Yorkshire police decided to interrogate Ms Keen-Minshull. Her case was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Three features of this case show sadly familiar patterns of behaviour by some politically correct police officers. First, there is the arbitrary delay between the initial report and the decision to take action. Secondly, a statement of fact that does not fit with political correctness is treated as a malicious communication and a potential hate crime. Thirdly, upholding culturally Marxist maxims is perceived to be more important than protecting the vulnerable from harm. It is for a good reason that transgender surgery remains illegal in the UK for under-18s.
The attempt by politically correct ‘Conditioners’ to prosecute this mother represents an attack on objective truth and therefore puts any person who attempts to give it priority over man-made dogma in the line of fire. But two kinds of people are especially vulnerable – journalists and orthodox Christians.
The free press in Britain owes its existence to a worldview that is intrinsically opposed to cultural Marxism, namely Protestant Christianity. Without the pamphleteering that proliferated after the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, Fleet Street would never have appeared on the cultural map. It is arguable that the true father of the nation’s free press was Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, who upheld the principle that it is morally wrong to give in to the State when it sets itself above the God-given authority of objective truth. He articulated this principle on the day he was burnt at the stake in Oxford in 1556:
‘And now I come to the great thing that troubleth my conscience more than any other thing that ever I said or did in my life: and that is, the setting abroad of writings contrary to the truth. Which here now I renounce and refuse, as things written with my hand contrary to the truth which I thought in my heart, and writ for fear of death, and to save my life, if it might be: and that is, all such bills, which I have written or signed with mine own hand, since my degradation; wherein I have written many things untrue. And forasmuch as my hand offended in writing contrary to my heart, therefore my hand shall first be punished.’
Because the powers-that-be in Britain are following Marx rather than Cranmer, journalists who publish objective truth are particularly exposed under the new dispensation.
As for orthodox Christians, the biblical message of God’s saving love in the forgiveness of all sin through faith in Jesus Christ inevitably involves the expression of transcendent values that go against the wishes of the new Conditioners.
C S Lewis gets the last word in his Abolition of Man: ‘For the power of Man to make himself as he pleases means, as we have seen, the power of some men to make other men what they please . . . The man-moulders of the new age will be armed with the powers of an omnicompetent state and an irresistible scientific technique: we shall get at last a race of conditioners who really can cut out all posterity in what shape they please.’