Excuse me, my baby is the wrong color | The commodification of children

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This latest story from our brave new world may blow your mind, so I’ll read straight from the Chicago Tribune: “A white Ohio woman is suing a Downers Grove-based sperm bank, alleging that the company mistakenly gave her vials from an African-American donor, a fact that she said has made it difficult for her and her same-sex partner to raise their now 2-year-old daughter in an all-white community.”

Now, I don’t doubt the lesbian couple’s love for the child. But I find it troubling which challenges the couple was willing and isn’t willing to tolerate. They’re suing because of the difficulties of raising a black child in a white community, but they were perfectly willing to risk raising the child without a father—a situation that the best evidence suggests poses far greater consequences for the child. Make no mistake: this is one of those stories that’s a mirror of our culture’s view of sex and children.

There is no doubt that having a mom and a dad in the home is the best situation for healthy development of children. The evidence is overwhelming. Children with fathers in the home tend to do better in school and in life in general. Children from fatherless homes are more likely to succumb to drugs and alcohol, suicide, and a host of social maladies. It’s not always the case, of course, but when it’s not it should be the exception… not the new rule.

A while back, I interviewed science writer Paul Raeburn about his book “Do Fathers Matter.” Now Raeburn isn’t a Christian, and he wouldn’t take a position on the issue of same-sex marriage. But there was no doubt in his mind that the overwhelming conclusion of the research is that fathers matter. A lot.  Relationally, emotionally, spiritually—even biologically!

Well, back to Ohio. The plaintiff is asking the judge for $50,000 because she didn’t get the baby she ordered through the sperm donation process. Which brings up the other troubling reality in this story.

When we were discussing this news item, Shane Morris, one of our Colson Center writers, wryly observed, “Grandma always says, ‘If it’s the wrong color, you can return it,’ when she gives us sweaters. Hearing that said of a baby girl makes me not want to live on this planet anymore.”

The wife of another of our writers said, “The message to the child is something like, ‘We love you, honey, but we are suing the people who made your existence possible.’” And then she added, “We need to pray for that child.”

Indeed. Whatever the effect of our current social experimentation of intentionally producing children to not have either a father or a mother, I cannot imagine that this child will easily be able to come to terms with such mixed messages inherent in the lawsuit.

On multiple levels, this story illustrates our new and enormous cultural blind spot. Sexual autonomy is now considered the highest good in our society. And it comes as a package deal with so-called “reproductive freedom.” To quote my friend and co-author Sean McDowell, we want sex without babies, and babies without sex.

And the great tragic irony is that our so-called freedom means that our children are not free, nor are they seen as the unique creations of God that they are. They’re the products of our illusions of autonomy enabled by technological advances.

We now wish to create children on our terms… through science. We choose the traits that make them desirable—eye color, hair color, skin color; athletic prowess; intelligence; and so on—not simply because they are. And if at any time they displease us—either through skin color, disability, or the mere timing of their birth, we feel fully justified in getting someone else to eliminate them, or at least pay us for our inconvenience.

Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.” And so ought we. As His Church, those lovingly adopted into His family, may we show our dehumanizing culture, and its children, a better way. Red and yellow, black and white, they are all precious in His sight.

John Stonestreet


— by John Stonestreet

Stonestreet is the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and is heard on Breakpoint, a radio commentary that is broadcast on 400 stations with an audience of eight million.

Copyright© 2014 Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission. BreakPoint is a ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries

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