Historian Arnold Toynbee once said “Civilizations die from suicide, not murder”. I don’t think there is much debate about that. There might be some debate however as to which nation today best exemplifies this. A number of countries are clearly in the process of self-destruction. But a good case can be made for nominating the UK as the most obvious example of collective hari-kari.
Consider two recent episodes of national madness coming from the UK. They both illustrate a nation which is in big trouble, and provide good examples of when a nation abandons God and common sense, it quickly and inevitably heads down the gurgler.
The first concerns a nurse who has just been suspended for engaging in a horrific act. No, she did not murder 42 of her own patients. No, she did not bilk millions from a hospital. No, what she did was obviously far, far worse: she actually had the audacity to ask an elderly patient if she could pray for her. Yes you heard me right – despicable isn’t it?
One media account describes things this way: “Caroline Petrie, a committed Christian, has been accused by her employers of failing to demonstrate a ‘personal and professional commitment to equality and diversity’. She faces disciplinary action and could lose her job over the incident. Mrs Petrie, a married mother of two, says she has been left shocked and upset by the action taken against her. She insists she has never forced her own religious beliefs on anyone but politely inquired if the elderly patient wanted her to pray for her – either in the woman’s presence or after the nurse had left the patient’s home. ‘I simply couldn’t believe that I have been suspended over this. I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong. All I am trying to do is help my patients, many of whom want me to pray for them,’ she said. Mrs Petrie, 45, is a community nurse employed by North Somerset Primary Care Trust to carry out home visits to sick and elderly patients.”
Evidently the elderly woman did not wish to be prayed for, and the nurse let it go at that. But later the patient complained about the invitation to prayer. The nurse said, “My concern is for the person as a whole, not just their health”.
Actually, she might have phrased that a bit better. Prayer for health seems to be part of the healing process. But even if prayer has no connection to health and wellbeing, it is not exactly a horrific request. To ask someone to pray for them usually means asking God’s blessing and favour on them. She wasn’t asking the patient if she could lop off her head or violate her grandchildren.
And when the patient declined, that was the end of the matter. Yet in tolerant, progressive and God-free England, it seems offering to pray for someone is now considered to be a hate crime, with stiff penalties being handed out. I suppose soon enough all believers will be rounded up and interred in re-education camps, until they learn the error of their ways, and renounce their dangerous and harmful faith.
The UK has become adept at turning vices into virtues, and virtues into vices. It is legalising all sorts of activities and behaviours that until recently were considered taboo. And it is increasingly criminalising those beliefs and practices that until recently were considered to be the hallmark of civilised and caring societies.
But lest the reader remain unconvinced that the UK takes the cake in the let’s-commit-collective-suicide stakes, let me offer one more example, just as recent and just as grotesque as the other. A big cheese government green advisor has said that in order to fight global warming, we have to abort more babies.
No, you did not misread me. The Sunday Times covered the story this way: “Couples who have more than two children are being ‘irresponsible’ by creating an unbearable burden on the environment, the government’s green adviser has warned. Jonathon Porritt, who chairs the government’s Sustainable Development Commission, says curbing population growth through contraception and abortion must be at the heart of policies to fight global warming. He says political leaders and green campaigners should stop dodging the issue of environmental harm caused by an expanding population.”
The story continues, “A report by the commission, to be published next month, will say that governments must reduce population growth through better family planning. ‘I am unapologetic about asking people to connect up their own responsibility for their total environmental footprint and how they decide to procreate and how many children they think are appropriate,’ Porritt said. ‘I think we will work our way towards a position that says that having more than two children is irresponsible. It is the ghost at the table. We have all these big issues that everybody is looking at and then you don’t really hear anyone say the “p” word’.”
Porritt, who of interest has two children, says he will pressure environmental pressure groups to make population issues their main focus: “Many organisations think it is not part of their business. My mission with the Friends of the Earth and the Greenpeaces of this world is to say: ‘You are betraying the interests of your members by refusing to address population issues and you are doing it for the wrong reasons because you think it is too controversial.” The article continues, “Porritt, a former chairman of the Green party, says the government must improve family planning, even if it means shifting money from curing illness to increasing contraception and abortion.”
So there you have it: kill a baby and save the planet. If the UK is becoming a third-world nation in its morality, it might as well become one in terms of government policy. China of course already has in place its notorious one-child policy. Today the coercive utopians in the UK are demanding two children. But tomorrow it may well be one – or even less.
This is yet the umpteenth example of bureaucrats and social engineers proposing the most inhumane of practices, all in the name of humanity. Indeed, whenever you hear someone carping on about ‘humanity’ it is best to stand up and take notice.
The Marxists of course were experts in championing ‘humanity,’ all the while knocking off millions of mere humans. Those who most despise human beings are often the ones who go on the most about the need to save ‘humanity’.
These two cases are simply the latest examples of a nation which has lost its way big time. The elites and bureaucrats running the UK are hell-bent on dragging the nation down to the level of, say, North Korea. And they seem to be doing a pretty good job of it.
The late Russian dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn once said that the reason for our troubles is our abandonment of our creator: “It is because we have forgotten God. That is why all this is happening to us.” He seems to have been on to something there. As the UK in particular and the West in general continue their march to secularism, they also seem to be heading into terminal decline and decay.
Sure, there are numerous factors which lead to the destruction of nations. But the erosion of faith and the exclusion of belief in the public arena certainly play leading roles. And Toynbee was not the only historian to point out these connections. Will Durant said similar things: “There is no significant example in history, before our time, of a society successfully maintaining moral life without the aid of religion.”
As the West continues along the path of losing its collective marbles, those who seek to wave a red flag of warning will appear to be subversive and/or deranged. As C.S. Lewis once said, “When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind.” But such voices must continue.
The UK is at the cliff’s edge. A few warning voices are trying to be heard. But the warnings seem to be falling mainly on deaf ears. Yet the warnings must be made. Whether they can keep the UK from going over the edge is a moot point. But the moral responsibility of being a watchman remains.