I have been ruminating on the issue of self-definition that I began here, and following a few welcome discussions, it suddenly struck me how lethal self-definition can be. A Norwegian woman claims that she is really a cat. Whether or not the video is true, or some publicity stunt, or just a piece of performance art, I don't know, but it raises a question.
If it can become law that a man can declare himself legally a woman (and vice versa) then it is clear that the law can allow untruths to become legal. A man is not a woman because he feels like a woman: there is a big difference. In today's sports, women's events are being won by men claiming to be women despite the fact that they have the physical power of a man that women do not possess. A man cannot feel like a woman because he cannot know what it is to be a woman. You might as well ask the meaningless question, "what is it like to be a cat?" when a cat cannot experience the world in human terms.
Let us use a little bit of logic: an Aristotelian syllogism, perhaps
1) Some human beings are cats.
2) All cats are beings that can be legally euthanised.
3) Some humans beings are beings that can be legally euthanised.
Now we have euthanasia by the back door.
What of this?
1) Some human beings are horses.
2) All horses are beings that can be legally euthanised when they break their legs badly.
3) Some human beings are beings that can be legally euthanised when they break their legs badly.
Is that grounds for legalised murder?
1) Some cats are women.
2) All women are beings that can legally marry men.
3) Some cats are legally married to men.
Oh dear. Now it is legal for men to marry cats.
When we start legalising the blatantly untrue, then we end up with a legal system that will not be able to cope with the fall-out from defying common sense. We are seeing this now in the Diocese of Sheffield where the CofE's Five Principles are struggling to admit that a Bishop who does not recognise that a quarter of his clergy really are priests can be given pastoral oversight over this Diocese! It is a legal nightmare that, I tentatively predict, will prove to be the end of the settlement between SSWSH and the rest of the CofE.
We really have to learn humility and accept that we do not have the right to say completely what we are when we do not satisfy the criteria for it. I am an Anglican Catholic, and the Anglican Catholic Church recognises me as that, indeed, I believe that the majority of people will accept that I am who I say I am in respect of what the term "Anglican Catholic" means. Those who don't I must accept their rejection, and I pray that I may do so humbly.
I am not a Roman Catholic, and I do not pretend to be a Roman Catholic. I know of one dreadful body of men led by a "Cardinal" who actually contracted a civil partnership with a "Bishop" and has paraded himself around Rome claiming to be Roman Catholic. He is not and his whole outfit of bishops (which seems to change its name every so often) is not recognised by Rome. Nor is he Old Roman Catholic and would certainly not be recognised as such given his credentials. He lacks any credibility as a bishop, even less as a Cardinal, and, as such, damages the whole Catholic Church with his self-definition.
If there is any hope of Christian Unity, then it must be in humility and in discussing and agreeing upon definitions so that, in accepting those definitions, we see ourselves as we are in God.
If there is any hope of legal integrity in this country, then it must come about by realising that falsehood cannot be legalised into truth, Men cannot be women. Women cannot be men. Let us learn to accept the diagnosis we are given and work with the materials that God gives us. From this humility comes good order which frees us from stupid legal wranglings to focus on what our brothers and sisters are in real need of - Love.