I read that the UK concerned itself recently about the possibility of loneliness among British citizens and conducted a poll to determine the relative loneliness of the people. The results inspired them to create a Ministry of Loneliness. Yes. Really. Sounds like something from an old Monty Python show, but there it is.  I’m not sure how it works, but presumably, there will be some sort of government-run programs to ameliorate loneliness among the population.

And meanwhile, Iceland revealed that there are no Down’s Syndrome children in that country. The reason is simple: the children are eliminated in the womb. The government really cares about the people, so much that now they have made circumcision illegal. Against their objections, Jewish parents are forbidden to have their male children circumcised.  How easily this most ancient form of Jewish identity is eliminated. Both anti-semitism and religious intolerance are accommodated and disclaimed with complete impunity.

Recently I watched one of the travel programs on NPR. I’ve forgotten the host’s name, but he was showing the viewers Norway. The old wooden churches are museums now. He said, with a shocking casualness, that modern Norwegians, taken care of by the socialist state, no longer have any need of worship spaces and spend their Sundays on recreational activities.

Northern Europe, in its modern wisdom, has found the answer to the question, Who’s Your Daddy?

There is a sad irony here about that modern wisdom. As the parents of any Down’s Syndrome child will readily tell you, their child is the light of their lives, a great blessing. And though it doesn’t match the raucous, hypersexual shows on the telly, loneliness is an almost universal forerunner to personal conversion and the beginning of the greatest love story of our lives, causing many to be forever grateful for the gift that loneliness really is. But these experiences are not a product of poll-driven state bureaucracy, and therefore, presumably, somehow not real, not valid. The Norwegian churches, open only for tourists, tell us what Norwegian faith really was about. A faith that is merely the product of charitable distributions was never really a faith at all. The Norwegians have lost nothing by closing churches for worship. You can’t lose what you never had.

There are, however, pockets here and there, mostly in the southern hemisphere and in eastern Europe, where the answer to that question of Who’s your Daddy, begins with “Our Father…,” and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.