I remember hearing on Wednesday about the Canadian couple who have decided to keep the gender of their newborn child a secret. Only the midwives and immediate family members know the sex of baby Storm. Since then, I’ve read Al Mohler’s take on it, an article in the Globe and Mail, an article at God Discussion, and Storm’s mother Kathy Witterick’s extensive response to the whole business in the Vancouver Sun. Here’s the original story at ParentCentral.ca.
My reaction to the whole thing was at first detached and curious, even though everyone in the newsroom who heard about it at the time reacted with an understandable disgust and disdain. I figured that I was operating as a journalist at the time, which means trying to look at stories even as crazy as that with a cool, careful, objectivity.
I’ve wondered over the past several days, though, why I was able to do this so easily. My beliefs scream that everything about it is wrong, and I do believe that Storm’s parents deserve most of the harsh criticism they’ve taken.
The main thing that gave me pause at first, I think, was this: I couldn’t–off the top of my head–come up with a good reason within the system of secular thought that they shouldn’t do it. My knee-jerk reaction was based almost entirely on my understanding of gender as part of God’s creation and in relation to imaging God’s character as originally reflected in creation. All I had was “God doesn’t like that, it goes against his will.” Without that Christian view (or some sort of theism that sees social institutions as instigated by God), well, I don’t see what’s to keep any sort of family unit, including gender roles, from disintegrating.
Now that I’ve thought on it a little more, though, I think there are three general problems with the line of thinking in the parents’ decision to keep Storm’s gender private.
ONE, they assume that we have the freedom to choose who we are and become. Witterick asks: “When will we live in a world where people can make choices to be whoever they are?”
The answer, I’m afraid, is “never.”