Although Richard Lucas denies he wants his son to sport a badge saying “my type of family is morally superior to yours”, he states (Letters, April 13) that “society benefits from a strong culture of marriage: love, then marriage, then children, then joint child-rearing by the parents. Children should ideally absorb this norm through stories and example.”
In other words, children like his son are to be given the inner-conviction that their sort of family is morally superior to other families, even if they don’t affirm it via an outer badge. And, by the same process, children from other sorts of families are to be given the inner-conviction that they come from a tainted background. This is no light thing.
As the child of an unmarried mother in the days when this was no lifestyle option, I was filled with such anxiety by the obscure but powerful disapproval of my state that, when we had to address envelopes for the mailing of our school reports, I used deliberately to blot the title so that no-one could read whether it was “Mr”, “Mrs” or “Ms”. And when we had to tell the class about our family news, at the age of eight or nine I adapted the details of my grandfather’s death to explain why I didn’t have a father.
I would not wish that anxiety on any child, and it is just that anxiety that the implementation of Mr Lucas’s religious convictions is calculated to instil.