Culture Warriors

In any battle, there are a few who take the fight to the enemy while many watch and follow if they think it is safe enough. Military metaphors have their limits of course, but I think that in the culture wars we are engaged in, we should recognise those who take the lead. Above you can view a video of Ryan Anderson taking on Piers Morgan on the question of the redefinition of marriage. Under intense fire, he keeps his cool and keeps moving forward.

On another front, Nikki Kenward, who suffered "locked-in" syndrome, throws down the gauntlet to Sarah Wooton, the Chief Exec of "Dignity in Dying." Here is her feisty open letter:


A meme is "an idea, behaviour, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture”.

Sarah, I would like to begin by asking a simple question. Is your world full of lovely, caring, sensible people who only want the best for others and see, in that glistening blue sky, that is their future, a sure and meaningful death should they ever succumb to terminal or disabling illness? In your recent publication you state that “80 per cent of the British population” support euthanasia (although you seem strangely reticent to use the term too often).

So that’s 80 per cent saying they don’t want to be disabled, they would rather be dead than be me. You’re hooking in to people’s worst fears and using them for a campaign that will generate only more hatred and visceral fear of the unknown. We who live with disability every day have first-hand knowledge of such attitudes and it is even more significant that you fail to notice that not one organisation for “us” has backed your campaign. Doesn’t that say something to you?

Despite saying that you only work for those with a terminal illness you’ve been quick enough to take up people who are not imminently facing death, such as the Deborah Purdys and, heaven forfend, the Christopher Woodheads of this world, who are ready to be your groupies, whatever the cost to the rest of us. Think deeply, Ms Wooton you are creating a meme, an idea, a practice, that people like them, will, in their last sad days, lick around you for. They fail to realise that the lick contains a future full of greedy relatives, dodgy doctors, grabbing insurance brokers, mealy mouthed horrors of parliamentary rogues, whose present careless and care - less attitude will bring children, old people and the vulnerable to your door.

So, before you open your door I invite you to meet with me, I suggest a public debate, me, you, and maybe one or two of my “supporters”, instead of yours, just for a change. Prove to me that your blue world exists and that I am just one of those disabled people cynical with the world and closed to the kindness you offer me. Go on talk to me Sarah, talk to us. We could be “dying” to listen.

Nikki Kenward
The Alert website gives further information.

One thought occurred to me. If Pope Francis is to shake up some of the human and changeable customs of the Church, one thing he might do is to take a look at the papal gongs. It was great recently to see one awarded to Joanna Bogle. It would be encouraging to see one that is awarded specifically for valour in the field of the present cultural and spiritual battle for life, for marriage, and for family.

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