Columnist Emma Teitel is proposing that “we scrap both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day for good,” replacing them with “Guardian’s Day.” Her reason: both holidays assume that a parent is a female or a male.
Why is this a problem? Teitel: “The gendered holidays are . . . generally a drag for non-binary parents who don’t identify with a single gender.” The “Guardian’s Day” she proposes would be a “rotating statutory holiday—meaning you can celebrate it any day you please, and you can interpret it any way you like.” For instance, “A guardian can be a mom, a dad, a non-binary parent, a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, a pet owner, or why the heck not—someone who takes really good care of his houseplants.”
I doubt that “Guardian’s Day” will catch on. But the cultural movement it symptomizes is a “tolerance” train that has already left the station.
Twenty-five years ago, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy defined “liberty” as “the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Two years ago, he enshrined this “right” in the ruling that legalized same-sex marriage: “The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.”
Justice Kennedy’s decisions reflect and express the cultural narrative of our day. However, this supposed right to self-invention goes back to the beginning of human history. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent promised Eve that if she chose her will over God’s word, she would “be like God” (Genesis 3:5). Every temptation since is a variation on this lie.
Our post-Christian culture thinks that submitting our lives to God’s moral standards robs us of the freedom to be ourselves. The reverse is actually true: the more we submit to our Father’s will, the more uniquely ourselves we become.
As usual, C. S. Lewis makes this point better than I can: “Imagine a lot of people who have always lived in the dark. You come and try to describe to them what light is like. You might tell them that if they come into the light that same light will fall on them all and they would all reflect it and thus become what we call visible. Is it not quite possible that they would imagine that, since they were all receiving the same light, and all reacting to it in the same way (i.e. all reflecting it), they would all look alike? Whereas you and I know that the light will in fact bring out, or show up, how different they are.”
The secret to being our unique and best selves is living in the light. How do we do this? Jesus: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Will you be your best self today?