Society and Social Structures

Happy Parent B's Day


Our Parent A, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name..

This is sure to catch on. With a slight touch of family-downgrading, parent-commingling and gender-neutralising, the Book of Common Prayer and the Authorised Version of the Holy Bible will be wholly compliant with the new social order. In the new dictatorship of relativity, it is imperative that the new terminology should be embedded in both culture and consciousness, sooner rather than later. It won’t be too long before we’re awaiting baby’s first words: “Parent B! Parent B!”, as our children sneer at their history textbooks, which tell of those deeply offensive times when people spoke of ‘blacks’, ‘gays’, ‘mothers’ and ‘fathers’.

Today used to be known as ‘Mothering Sunday’. In the liturgical calendar, it is the fourth Sunday in Lent – Laetare Sunday. But that was when we were a Christian nation. It was a quaint custom in celebration of the patience, kindness, goodness and sacrificial love of those who bore us, nurtured us and guided us in the way that we should go.

But then came the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition with more than a hint of Labour’s inclination for social engineering. They decided that the traditional family – a husband, a wife and children – was a bit passé. And they decreed that marriage need no longer require a male and female of the species, and that two men or two women might enter into nuptial bliss and consummate their union without prejudice or discrimination.

And so it came to pass that all expressions of gender upon official forms and documents were expunged, in case a declaration of marriage might be presumed to be heterosexual. No more ‘Husband’ or ‘Wife’ on marriage certificates; and no more ‘Mother’ or ‘Father’ on birth certificates. And certainly no more letters from schools which made reference to the otiose medieval family worldview: henceforth ‘Dear Parent or Carer..’. The state was compelled to be gender neutral, and the statute books were amended accordingly: all presumption of biological complementarity ceased.

And so ‘Husband’ and ‘Wife’ became ‘Spouse 1’ and ‘Spouse 2’. And ‘Father’ and ‘Mother’ became ‘Parent A’ and ‘Parent B’.

It remains to be seen how long it will take feminists to realise that ‘Parent B’ is appallingly sexist and insulting to those erstwhile mothers. For who determined that the female progenitive contribution should be recognised merely as the ‘B’ component? Does not the slur of ‘B’ perpetuate the primacy of ‘A’? Is not the matriarch still subject to patriarchy? And what of ‘Parent C’, which is now surely upon us? If human offspring may now have three genetic parents, “created through a specialized form of in vitro fertilization involving cytoplasmic transfer in which the future baby’s mitochondrial DNA comes from a third party”, the state’s bureaucracy will need a further category, lest Parent C feel devalued and discriminated against. A child may even now be registered with two Parent As. Or are they two Parent Bs? In a same-sex union, how do you decide who shall be A and who B?

There was a time when we might have looked to the Holy Parent B Church to speak out.

Levity aside, there is a serious point to consider. The denial of complementarity implies that neither man nor woman contributes anything unique to raising a child simply because of sex or gender. AB/AA/BB is an assertion that male and female parents are interchangeable components in child-rearing. In practice, of course, this means that fathers are separated from their children, because a father is deemed to contribute nothing essential to the child’s nurturing that the mother is also not capable of contributing. So he loses yet one more compelling reason to stay. Everything will be fine if he leaves – just as it was if he were never there in the first place.