I am not a father and unless I meet Mr Right with a preassembled family, it looks fairly likely that I am not going to be one. But I am an Uncle of two girls who are very dear to me.
I won’t pretend to understand the depth of despair and chaos that the parents of Alfie Evans have experienced and the profound grief they are now in. I have however witnessed the deep, highs and lows of the parenting of my friends. I am not qualified to speak of the reality of being a mum or dad.
I do not know whether those behind the scenes purporting to help this family are parents themselves, what I am more sure of however, is that they’ve not truly understood, and possibly not truly cared about their predicament.
Whilst I am delighted and at times, excited by the positive, potential potency of social media, the plight of this little boy strikes me as yet another sad reminder of its dark side. I am not going to debate the ethics of this situation, not least because there is a great deal of copy already written on that, but I am not convinced that either a law court or a fundamentalist Christian organisation is the appropriate forum either.
I have in my own way experienced the fallibility of the NHS, but I have also experienced the dedication, desire and drive to do what is best for the patient in increasingly difficult circumstances of resource, demand and expectation.
I was perhaps not surprised, but certainly deeply saddened to read of the alleged involvement and facilitation by extreme viewed Christians for alternatives of Alfie’s care. I wonder how many of the enraged protesters sieging the hospital, terrifying staff and visitors alike, demanding supposedly black and white decisions in a messy world, were aware of such influences behind the scenes.
Bouncy castles on a busy roundabout, young children and babies as props, death threats to staff and violence outside a place of care, seems little to me to do with following Jesus’ will and the message of the Gospel, let alone the sanctity of all life, which apparently is what called one individual to move to Liverpool and ‘help’ a distraught family.