Rentaquote 2: Christian Voice

Thursday, October 23, 2008 13:29 | Filed in Faith & Forteana, Politics, Science

Not content with telling everyone that bendy buses and atheism are a danger to the public at large, Rentaquote Stephen Green from Christian Voice has been spouting more crapulence today. As an aside, it’s interesting how these people always claim to be speaking for their religion as a whole, despite the fact that most Christians I know would disagree with what they are saying.

What has he been saying today? Well, surprisingly — not — he’s been railing against the idea that teaching “personal, social and health matters including sex and relationships” will be compulsory between the ages of 5 and 16.

The national director of Christian Voice, Stephen Green, said the proposals would only encourage experimentation and contribute to the rise in teenage pregnancy and infertility.

He said the idea of teaching young children about sex is “a wickedness” from a government that wants to see “a whole generation fornicating”.

BBC News: Relationship lessons from age 5

[Update: the BBC have dropped Stephen Green's comments from this article. Would be interesting to know why! It also looks a bit odd because, at time of writing, they've kept 'Wickedness' as a sub-heading without it being included in the text, so it looks like the BBC disapprove too...]

Now don’t get me wrong, I think children at 5 are too young to be taught about sex. But no-one (bar Stephen Green) is actually suggesting that they should teach five-year olds about sex. What they are suggesting is that maybe it’s not wildly inappropriate for them to learn things like:

  • babies grow in women, not in men
  • ladies have breasts and men don’t
  • know the names of parts of the body
  • talk about relationships and emotions

And that’s it for primary school children (those under 11). I would like to think that if he’d bothered to actually check what was being proposed to be taught to primary children, even Stephen Green wouldn’t have objected. But sadly, I think he heard the words “sex education” and “primary school” in the same sentence and didn’t think he needed to look any further before deciding that this was all demonic and evil.

I hardly think that telling my 5-year old that the dangly thing between his legs that he pees out of is called a penis is likely to cause an irretrievable breakdown in the moral framework of our society, nor do I think that a government which has been campaigning about awareness and the increase of sexually-transmitted disease, is one that wants to see “a whole generation fornicating”.

Indeed, the use of the word fornication is in itself rather telling. It starts from the assumption that we should treat unmarried sex very differently from married sex. I accept everyone is entitled to their own personal viewpoint on this and I don’t intend to judge — all I am saying is that not everyone believes this should be a starting assumption. For me, a more reasonable starting assumption would be to differentiate between casual sex, and sex as part of a loving relationship.

…and even then, I do feel that whatever two (or more) consenting adults choose to do in private is really their business, not mine, yours, or Stephen Green’s.

And I can’t help but be a little concerned about Stephen Green. Yesterday he said bendy buses and atheism were a danger to the public at large; today the government wants to see a whole generation fornicating. What’s next? At the current level of hyperbole, by the end of the week I would expect him to be telling us that the world is going to end the next time someone takes the Lord’s name in vain.

Calm down, Stephen… okay? Either that or can you and Richard D. go away and froth and rage at each other but leave the rest of us out of it? Unless of course Stephen Green is a plant by Richard Dawkins in the first place, just to try and create the impression that religious people don’t think, form snap judgements without bothering to look at the actual details, and are generally bonkers and out of touch. In which case he’s doing the job well.

At the start of September, the BBC polled over 1000 people to ask whether or not they felt “sex and relationships lessons should be compulsory in schools”. 87% of those surveyed agreed that such lessons should be compulsory. Presumably of the 12% who disagreed (1% didn’t know), there would have been some who were quite happy to see those lessons in school, just didn’t think that they ought to be compulsory. According to Stephen Green, then, 87% of Britons would want to see “a whole generation fornicating”.

Bollocks. He’s out of touch, out of date, inaccurate, his arguments are shambolic, archaic, crass and judgemental. Sadly, exactly the sort of religious voice Richard Dawkins wants to hear…

SWP at 10 minutes old (flickr)

I don’t think it’s inappropriate for my kids to know that babies grow inside women. For a start, as we have two children, the older one might just have noticed that Mammy’s tummy got big, then she went to the hospital, then she came back with a baby and a smaller tummy.

Does Stephen Green think that I should have locked my wife up for nine months, so that my son — who wasn’t even two at the time — wouldn’t be exposed to the fact that my wife was pregnant? If not, then why is it wrong for him to hear at school that women grow babies inside them?

Again, I can’t help but feel that Stephen Green hasn’t actually bothered to look at the details before going off on his tirade… which makes him look even more like a blithering idiot. Of course, if he did look at the details first, and then decided to go off on his tirade, then I do apologise for calling a blithering idiot for not reading the details. In that case, he would be a blithering idiot for drawing the ludicrous conclusions he did…

Also, as my parents split up when I was a kid, we’ve had to explain that while Grandma Jenny is Daddy’s Mammy, her husband isn’t Daddy’s Daddy. And vice-versa, with my Dad and his wife. Again, I don’t feel that I have contributed too much to the moral breakdown of society by explaining this.

My child is aware that parts of the body aren’t polite to talk about, at least not in front of other people, but I wouldn’t want him to feel that they are somehow dirty or something to be ashamed of.

Teaching children about their own bodies, to talk about feelings and relationships, and where babies come from (in a manner appropriate to their age) isn’t “a wickedness”. Making people feel dirty or ashamed about perfectly natural thoughts and desires; not giving teenagers the knowledge to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy and disease… now to me, that’s the wickedness.

[Update: having visited the Christian Voice website (, I am somewhat more alarmed at what appears to be a particularly intolerant organisation (they accuse the scouts of 'grooming children for sex' by having scout leaders prepared to talk to kids about sexual concerns). I'm not entirely sure why this group seem to be getting the publicity/ media voice they are. They don't appear to be particularly large -- for example Stephen Green is described as the 'National Director', but their website was registered by 'Stephen Green trading as Christian Voice', for example, and they appear to be a somewhat extreme organisation, as can maybe be seen by the fact that they described the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina as "purity comes to New Orleans".]

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3 Comments to Rentaquote 2: Christian Voice

  1. mark fairlamb says:

    October 24th, 2008 at 11:44 am

    the update makes me laugh. ‘christians’ the scouts are grooming children?
    catholic priests?

  2. says:

    August 31st, 2011 at 1:22 am

    Resource on Knowledge for Business Online…

    …When you are aware when working at your projects you can be a lot more successful than if you don’t have much skills…..

  3. Kulbeer says:

    September 2nd, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I go back and forth on this. On the telling might be nice to hear SOME oipoinns on the name. If our parents hate the name, I think I’d like to know before the baby arrives. And it can be a fun way to involve our family in the pregnancy. We might tell just our parents and siblings but I’m not sure they could keep it a secret. On the other hand: I’m usually pretty good about ignoring other people’s oipoinns but I’m not sure I will be able to ignore oipoinns about my kids name. I don’t want someone to “steal” the name. I don’t particularly want a bunch of monogramed stuff with the baby’s name because it limits the use of the items with future kids and I don’t want my kid’s name on all their clothes/bags/whatever where strangers can see when we’re at the grocery store.

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