Depending on who you are, what you believe, and a number of other factors, the fact that today, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade is really good news or really bad news.
For many believers, it is really good news and an affirmation of the sanctity of life as granted to each of us by the Almighty. But I don’t think we’re in the majority in the United States, and certainly not in Canada or Europe.
I went to George Takei’s (Mr. Sulu from Star Trek) twitter account and indeed everyone responding is deeply upset and distraught. It’s as if the world has ended for them. They predict many deaths as a result. Some even believe that this is only the first shot fired in a war of conservatives and the faithful against liberals and atheists, otherwise known as the “culture wars.”
They believe that next, same-sex marriage will be overturned, followed by inter-racial marriage. They believe conservatives are going to turn the U.S. into a real live Handmaid’s Tale. They really do believe this will convert the U.S. into a 1950s sitcom.
One of the arguments the pro-abortion folks use against Christians and pro-life people is that if a woman doesn’t have an abortion to get rid of an unwanted baby, the woman is “stuck” with the child without any resources whatsoever.
That’s apparently not true, because Stanton specifically provides resources for such woman to give birth to and raise their children.
The baby bottle drive videos, one of which the Pastor showed in church the other Sunday, are particularly heartwarming and sometimes heartrending, but worth the watch.
I also hear a lot from the pro-abortion set how abortion is “healthcare” and is a “right.” Well, arguably it might be considered a medical procedure but what about the baby’s right to live? A pregnancy isn’t just a bunch of random cells in a woman’s body and an abortion is not like having your appendix removed. Your appendix can’t grow into a fully realized human being and neither can “random” cells.
All I’m saying is that there are options. Abortion isn’t a virtue. Obviously, I can’t make decisions for another person as to what they do or don’t do, but I can suggest that if a woman becomes unintentionally pregnant, abortion isn’t the only choice. Don’t let anyone sell you that lie.
The mission of Stanton Healthcare is to offer life-affirming solutions and resources to women experiencing an unexpected pregnancy; provide hope to those struggling from the pain of a past abortion; and share the message of sexual integrity in a confidential and professional environment that promotes physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness.
Yes, they help women who have had abortions and require medical services because of it. I really encourage people to check them out.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. –Matthew 5:43-48 (NASB)
I’m sure most people reading this know by now that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Baden Ginsburg is dead. What you probably also know, if you follow social media, is that this event has erupted into a major emotional storm, depending on your politic, and as it turns out, religious views.
Here’s what I said on Facebook after I ran head first into one:
Oh wow. Someone, purportedly a Christian, posted a meme (I won’t repeat it here) celebrating the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I pointed out why disagreeing with her legal opinions didn’t mean we should have wanted her to die, and also pointed out how even the Almighty did not celebrate the death of the Egyptians after Moses led the Israelites through the Red Sea. I woke up this morning and saw many notices from that conversation basically condemning both me and Ginsburg, including a pretty rough statement from another supposed Christian on how he would defile Ginsburg’s grave by urinating on it. This is the difference between studying the Bible and pondering its wisdom vs. reading it and then letting some less than kind or informed religious leader tell you what it all means. Please do not paint all believers with the same broad brush. We aren’t all the same, and some of us are pretty far apart from others.
What prompt my response? This image, well, the video it represents:
I was the first to reply to this person who is my “friend” on Facebook:
[All names and other identifiers have been removed from these comments except for my name]
James Pyles: No, I won’t do it and this is why. After the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and the Egyptians drowned, according to Jewish legend, God refused to let even the angels celebrate. He said “they are my children, too.” While I may have disagreed with Ginsburg on a good many things, I will not celebrate her death (Yasser Arafat’s yes, but that’s a completely different story). She was and is a child of God and someday we will all have to stand before our Judge. I’m no better than the next person.
The author responded to me, and then many others did as well:
M: James Pyles I am no better than than the next person, and I am worse than many. But I am glad the protector of Roe V. Wade can no longer bring about millions and tens of millions of deaths through abortion.
James Pyles I understand what you’re staying, but moral decisions and consequences are complicated and painful. You know this better than most. No matter what she said and believed, if I am to consider myself even a poor disciple of Jesus, then I cannot do what I know he wouldn’t.
LJ: James Pyles Exodus 15 — a song of Moses giving glory to God for the drowning of the Egyptian army. Good is also a judge.
T: If she was not in Christ, she was not God’s child.
Je: Then let us pray that somehow she has been given grace, even while we rejoice that she can no longer do harm.
James Pyles I have long since stopped presuming to know exactly how God will judge. I have my own life in my hands and my own sins. God will take care of the rest. I need to be accountable to what I have done and who I am. I don’t have time to pull a splinter out of someone else’s eye when I’ve got a log in mine.
Another M: “If she was not in Christ, she was not God’s child.”
S: James Pyles He kicked the moneychangers out of the Temple.
Look. She did much evil, and was a blatantly racist eugenics (“some groups shouldn’t have kids”). Her decisions in cases to try and her lack of support for involuntary treatment of the mentall…See More
B: James Pyles
I think this is M’s page. She has a right to her interpretation of whats just & saying something again will not move her will – everyday she trys to save lives Everyone speaking well of RBG should have held her accountable while living
She never cared about any babies of God
GF: James Pyles then go do you elsewhere. You’re not anyone’s moral teacher and I for one would dance on the witch’s grave before relieving myself on it.
That last comment is when I decided to stop reading. Oh, I’ve truncated the list for reading time, plus there’s only so much of this I want to take.
It’s embarrassing as a believer to have to defend against such vitriol, especially on social media where the many atheists liken Christians to everything that is evil. When we behave down to the lowest levels of those expectations, then how do we uphold the cause of Christ?
Having said all that, I’ve been just as guilty as anyone else as mixing up my faith with my politics. Oh, but it gets worse.
It seems that while many Christians are celebrating Ginsburg’s death with more than just a little antisemitism (she couldn’t be a child of God because she wasn’t a Christian), not too many years ago, the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia elicited a tremendous amount of “unkindness” from those who opposed him politically, probably the same people who mourn Ginsburg today.
Oh, people even make fun of that too:
But as disciples of King Messiah, I mean if we really are disciples, shouldn’t we live that out? How else will anyone really believe we live the lives we lecture and sermonize about? They’re the same folks who think we believe this
The horrible thing is that they may be right, at least about some, perhaps a great many of us.
What do you think? More importantly, what do you believe and how do you live that out?
I’m going to get into a lot of trouble, at least in certain circles, for writing this, but it’s been bothering me for a while now and, as my long-time readers know, I process my thoughts and feelings by writing.
Believe it or not, back in the day, I used to be an agnostic/atheist and a Democrat. It seemed to be the default setting for most of the people I hung out with after High School (a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away). I didn’t think much about my politics or social opinions for a long time, and certainly didn’t do anything to challenge them.
Then I got married, and several years later, my wife became pregnant. Yes, we were at a stage in our lives when we wanted to start a family, so it was quite intentional. Like I imagine most pregnant couples to be, we immediately started bonding with our unborn baby (it wasn’t until about halfway through the pregnancy that we found out my wife was having twins).
Anyway, my wife started taking prenatal vitamins and otherwise doing whatever she could to make sure our baby was born healthy. We dabbled at picking out baby names, and as her due date got closer, began buying high chairs, car seats, a crib, decorating our children’s room (by then we knew there’d be two). We were drawing ever closer to our two sons even before they were born.
That’s what expectant parents do, right?
One day, on my commute to work, I passed by an abortion clinic. Maybe it was Planned Parenthood, I don’t remember. I know it was an abortion clinic because I saw people carrying signs outside protesting abortions. On other similar occasions in the past, I was mentally critical of the protesters, since I supported pro-choice, just like my politics said I should. I knew women who had abortions and as far as I could tell, the net effect was pretty benign. That wasn’t my only experience, but I’ll get to the others in a minute.
But on the occasion of driving past the protest, I thought about my pregnant wife, and I thought about how we felt about our unborn children. That set me off on a trajectory that would eventually lead me to make some life-altering decisions affecting my political/social outlook.
However, nearly ten years before that, I had worked at a Suicide Prevention hotline in Berkeley. I was on staff, hired to cover the midnight to 8 a.m. shift (since it was rare for a volunteer to want to work that late). Of course, I received all kinds of calls from insomniacs and such, plus we had our “regulars” who would call in (not everyone who phoned was actively suicidal).
However, some of the most heart-wrenching calls I took were from young women who had just had an abortion. This was the late 1970s and into the early 80s and Roe vs. Wade made abortions legal starting in 1973. These were women who were sobbing into the telephone, talking to a stranger in the middle of the night, pouring out their anguish because they had just killed their baby. That’s how they expressed it. I’m not putting words in anyone’s mouth.
I put those experiences all together over the subsequent years, did my research, and came to a single devastating conclusion: The only difference at all between a fetus and an unborn baby human being is whether the child is wanted or not.
My wife and I didn’t wait until some critical period in the gestation of our sons to start emotionally bonding with them, we began the minute we found out she was pregnant. My wife didn’t wait until some critical period in gestation to start taking prenatal vitamins, stop drinking alcohol (she’s never been a big drinker anyway) and doing everything in her power to make sure our unborn sons would be as healthy as possible, she began right away.
I’ve heard it said that in order for an otherwise sane and moral human being to be able to kill a person, their “enemy” has to be dehumanized. In other words, if the person you plan to kill isn’t considered human, then it’s easier in war, for example, to pull the trigger. Check out a number of World War Two propaganda posters. They depict Germans and Japanese in the most ghastly lights, as vicious killers and monsters. That’s what made it okay for American civilians to hate them, for our government to intern Japanese people in camps, and for soldiers to kill them in battle.
So a fetus is a potential human, but while that potential is unrealized, it’s okay to kill them. That’s pro-choice. The potential mommy’s body, her life, her attitudes, are all more important than her child’s life.
I know what some people are going to say. What about cases where a girl or woman becomes pregnant due to incest or rape?
According to “The New York Times” in a 1989 article (yes, it’s old, so the statistic has changed slightly), only One percent of abortions are performed because the girl or woman was a victim of those crimes. Only one percent. According to a 2011 article by Christian media group Focus on the Family, that figure had risen to 1.5%. So as of about seven or eight years ago, only 1.5% of all abortions nationwide were performed because of incest or rape. So much for that straw man argument.
But what about other reasons? Why do women get abortions? Yes, because the pregnancy is unwanted, but what are the specifics?
According to a 2005 paper published by the Guttmacher Institute and cited in Table 2 of their paper, the primary reasons in descending order are:
Having a baby would dramatically change my life interfering with education, job/career, other children/dependents
Can’t afford a baby now due to being unmarried, unemployed, or for reasons of poverty
Don’t want to be a single mother or am having relationship problems
Have completed my childbearing and don’t want additional children
You can click the links I provided to read the entire table for the full list of reasons, but these are the major ones.
According to Very Well Health, the most common reason women have abortions has to do with finances. Specifically, 40% of women are financially unprepared to have a baby, and this includes conditions of poverty and being on public assistance.
Depending on your perspective, poverty/finances might be a valid reason to have an abortion should a woman unintentionally become pregnant. After all, what costs more, an abortion or raising a child from infancy to age eighteen? It’s a tough argument to counter. On the other hand, it sounds like there’s a justification of ending a human life just because that person is poor. It has some horrible implications if you start applying the principle to people who have already been born. No, it’s not that pro-choice people are actively promoting murder of a born person, even a newly born infant, but where do you draw the line between late-term abortion and killing a viable child?
That question deserves further consideration. Toward the end of my wife’s pregnancy with our sons, she developed pre-eclampsia and had to be hospitalized until she gave birth. This was at Long Beach (California) Memorial Hospital which, at the time at least, had one of the best neonatal ICUs in the nation. I saw prematurely born babies, some as young as 20 weeks gestation, all struggling to stay alive, their parents in horrible anguish and heartbreak.
I know that by most standards, 20 weeks gestation (though some authorities go as young as 16 weeks) is the cut off point for late-term abortions. There may be some pro-abortion pro-choice advocates who would be okay with aborting a baby at 21 weeks, 22, 25, or 30, but I’m not sure about that. All I know is what I witnessed was another reason I believe the only difference between a fetus (which you can abort) and an unborn baby (which you can’t because it would be unthinkable), is whether or not the child is wanted. That’s the ONLY reason based on my experiences.
Some weeks ago, I watched a video of conservative political commentator, writer, attorney, and Orthodox Jew Ben Shapiro explaining why an unborn baby is not “a ball of goo.” You can watch it at LifeNews.com and read the accompanying article, but Ben’s argument is devastating.
Okay, so why am I writing this all right now (as opposed to last year, or next year, or never)? Because I read this today.
Regardless of where you land on the abortion debate, what person in their right mind forces their own abortion experience on children? She even tells children that having an abortion is part of God’s plan, like going to the dentist.
When I was a kid, I knew women became pregnant and had babies, but in my wildest imagination, I had no clue those pregnancies could be (at that time, illegally) terminated. I’m pretty sure my children didn’t grow up with that knowledge, at least before Junior or Senior High. I don’t know what my almost ten-year-old grandson knows, and to a high degree of confidence, I’m absolutely sure my three-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter doesn’t have a clue.
Amelia Bonow and several other activists created the #ShoutYourAbortion movement, hashtag included. I guess she thought the other abortion advocates didn’t take it far enough, so in addition to just having abortions be legal, she wants women to be proud of them. Heck infamous popular celebrity Lena Dunham has gone on record saying she wishes she had an abortion. Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren compares abortion to having your tonsils removed. I don’t know if she’s ever had an abortion, but I do know she has two (adult age) children.
And who the heck would actually produce a book for children on abortion? My son, the father of my grandchildren, has similar political and social attitudes to my own (he’s actually a lot more conservative) and I’m sure he’ll agree that it’s a book my grandkids will never read, not until they’re old enough to buy it themselves or check it out from the library.
For crying out loud, let children BE children. You really don’t have to drag them into some of the messiness that goes along with being an adult. Honest. Stop it!
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about parenting and abortions. If you’ve never parented, maybe it’s easier to have an abortion, because you haven’t let yourself go through the experience of bonding with an unborn (and later born) child. But what if you’ve had children? You know what it feels like to grow close, to cherish, to nurture an unborn life. How can you simply turn around after having those profound experiences and have an abortion as if you were flipping off a light switch?
NBC recently promoted Napoles, in part, because he was featured cross-dressing and performing at a Gay club, with adult men waving money at him as if he were a stripper. I don’t know about you, but I consider that outrageous, and I can’t imagine why his parents allow such insanity.
Yes, I know this is an extreme example of poor parenting decisions, and you’re probably wondering what this has to do with abortion.
It has to do with objectifying and hypersexualizing young children. I mean, if a child means so little to you in the womb that you not only abort that child, but #ShoutYourAbortion to the world, including to children as young as little Desmond, how much can kids in general really mean in today’s progressive society (okay, so there are probably tons of progressive parents who love and cherish their children, but to the degree that all this other stuff is happening, there’s a problem)?
I know the counter-argument is that some conservative and religious parents do harm to their children as well, and I’m sure that’s true, but it doesn’t make any of the points I’ve established in this blog post less valid.
Something has changed in our world when women are told that having an abortion is not only a good thing, but a valid, right, and moral thing to achieve, no more harmful than going to the dentist or having your tonsils removed, and all part of God’s eternal plan for the salvation of the world. Something is horribly wrong when an eleven-year-old boy performs in drag in front of a bunch of men in a gay nightclub. Something is horribly wrong in our world, when that boy then performs on a major network (NBC) television show and is praised for being (in my opinion) sexually exploited, and millions of people in the audience think it’s okay.
It is not okay. How younger people are being programmed to believe ending a human life and sexually exploiting young boys is not okay.
Parents and grandparents and all the other caretakers of children out there, please protect your kids. Don’t let the culture corrupt and destroy them. If this is what morality looks like when progressives and atheists believe they are the highest moral and ethical force in the universe, I don’t think you have to look too far to figure out why I prefer that a perfect and Holy God is my moral compass.
I was still an atheist and a liberal when my wife became pregnant with our twin sons (now 26 years old). That’s when I started questioning my assumptions about abortion. From the start, my wife and I started relating emotionally to our child (we didn’t know she was having twins until about twenty weeks gestation) as a personality. I started bonding and loving long, long before they were born. I just couldn’t imagine in my wildest dreams ending their lives at any stage, including before birth. How could I do that?
I know that, in theory, the pro-abortion advocates are supporting “pro-choice.” That is, when a woman becomes pregnant, she can choose to go through being pregnant and give birth, or she can choose to have her unborn child medically “terminated.” But let’s look at this. My guess is that most people who are pro-choice are either parents or will be parents someday. They don’t hate children and they don’t hate people who love their own children. They see their position as one where they want to have control of when they become parents.
But let’s say that the first time a woman becomes pregnant, for whatever reason, she doesn’t want to have the child (financial difficulties, under-age, unmarried…) and has an abortion. In order to be able to successfully have an abortion, she cannot relate to her unborn child as a child. She has to relate to it as a “thing.” Otherwise, how could she go through with it?
So she has the abortion. A few years later, she purposefully becomes pregnant and begins bonding with her child from the first moment she discovers she’s pregnant, probably within just a few weeks of conception. How can she decide to love one child from the very beginning but totally emotionally and physically disregard the other child? The abortion industry has been very successful in selling this strange dichotomy and mindset, but to me, it is so completely alien.
What’s the difference between a precious unborn baby and a fetus (a term which is used as a synonym for “thing”)? The only difference is that the first is wanted and the second is not. No quality the unborn child possesses makes it more or less worthy of life in the mother’s eyes or in any pro-choice advocate’s eyes. More’s the pity.
I wrote the above commentary on Facebook after reading a New York Times blog post on the topic. In consulting the blog again, I ran across this comment:
We fought and (thought we had) won the war against compulsory childbearing decades ago, so that our daughters would have agency over their own bodies and the ability to make decisions about their health care without government interference. Just as we fought for our daughters’ right to apply to medical school, and law school, and to compete fairly for jobs in any number of professions. We fought for our own and our daughters’ right to own real estate, to buy and own stocks and have bank accounts and credit in their own name, to be free of groping and sexual demands on the job, or to keep a job.
These battles were won within my adult lifetime. And our daughters don’t know a time when they couldn’t not open a bank account, buy a home, attend the medical school of their choice, be a bartender or carpenter or police officer as well as a barmaid.
I think we who fought the battles got complacent, or just plain tired. Maybe the neanderthal right has done us a favor this past election season, reminding us and our daughters and granddaughters that freedom and liberty must be constantly nurtured and protected like a perfect rose.
The phrase “compulsory childbearing” in the above empassioned declaration caught my attention, as if people or organizations outside of the woman’s control were somehow forcing them to engage in sex, become pregnant, and have children against their will. I could go on and I know this is a complex subject, so I won’t say too much more. Some believers treat all this as black-and-white without seeing the anguish many women go through when facing the decision of whether or not to abort their children. A woman having an abortion isn’t a terrible or bad person, she’s someone facing a very difficult choice, and one that is not as simple and clear cut as either the pro-abortion or the pro-life movements make it out to be.
I used to work at a Suicide Prevention hotline in Berkeley in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I typically worked midnight until 8 a.m., so I spoke with many people who felt all alone in the night. Sometimes, I would end up talking to a woman who would be crying inconsolably (there were more than just a few of them) because she had just done the unthinkable sometime yesterday…killed her unborn child.
This is the side of Roe vs. Wade that the media, the abortion industry, and the “pro-choice” political advocates never talk about. What it does to a woman after the abortion is over. What is it like when you have exercised what you’ve been told are your “reproductive rights,” taken control of your own body and your own destiny, done what fifty plus years of modern feminism have told you that you must do when you are pregnant and you don’t want to be, and had an abortion? What is it like after it’s all over, the “medical procedure” was successfully performed, you’ve gone back to your home, and you have time to realize what just happened? You’re alone now. It’s the middle of the night, but you can’t sleep. You always imagined having children someday and you know someday you will. But there is one little cry in the night you’ll never hear, one voice you’ll never respond to, one baby you will never feed and comfort. There is one child you’ll never nurture, support, love, hug, kiss, cherish, and help grow and thrive.
What about him? What about her? Your baby wasn’t an “it.” Your baby was a little boy or a little girl. What would you have named him? What would you have called her?
“Happy Anniversary,” Roe vs. Wade. In forty years, how many mother’s hearts have you broken? How many babies never took their first breath because of you and because of the illusion that you’ve drawn over the eyes of all their mothers? How many? Why is this a good thing?
Rabbi Sandler of Kiryat Yovel in Jerusalem and his sons Aryeh, 6, and Gavriel, 3.5, were murdered in Toulouse Monday morning, as was 8 year-old Miriam Monsonegro, daughter of the director of Ozar HaTorah Toulouse, Yaacov Monsonego.
Binyamin Toati, Head of the France Desk of Bnei Akiva, told Arutz Sheva before the names were published that there are reports that the man who was killed is a rabbi who served as an Israel shaliach (emissary) at the school and that two of his children were killed with him.
French press reported that two children were among at least three people killed in a shooting outside a Jewish school. Two other children are reported fighting for their lives. The French news reports said the dead are a teacher and two children, and that two other children were badly wounded.
“Toulouse: Rabbi Yonatan Sandler and his Children among the Dead”
-by Gil Ronen
First Published 3/19/2012, 10:18 a.m. Arutz Sheva News
I’m sure you’ve heard this tragic news by now. I’m sure you’ve heard that a Rabbi, his two children, and a third child were all murdered in cold blood outside a Jewish school in Toulouse, France yesterday. The story has been covered by virtually every news agency on the planet. Sixty-seven years after the end of World War II and the end of the Holocaust, Jews are still being murdered just because they’re Jews.
I guess I’m taking it personally.
No, I’m not Jewish, but my wife and children are. That means the killer who cut down Rabbi Sandler and three innocent children just because they were Jewish is quite capable and willing to kill anyone who is Jewish, including my family. Yeah, I’m taking it personally, so forgive me if what comes out in this blog isn’t exactly “rational”.
I took a walk by the greenbelt on the Boise river over my lunch hour. It’s the first day of spring and it’s snowing and windy outside. It’s the perfect day to reflect on horror and terror and sadness in the world. It’s the first day of spring, when new life is beginning to trickle back into the trees and grass and flowers are soon to bloom.
And it’s snowing and windy and bitterly cold outside. It fits.
And four Jewish people were murdered yesterday in Toulouse, France for no other reason than just because they were Jewish.
I’m not just upset because kids were murdered, although that upsets me. I’m not just upset because Jews were murdered just because they were Jews, although that upsets me. I’m upset because some people think it’s OK for Jews to be murdered just because they are Jews. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t think it’s an exaggeration to accuse the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, of saying that three Jewish children being murdered in cold blood is exactly the same thing as the children being killed in Gaza because the IDF is retaliating against the Palestinian terrorists who are firing an endless stream of missiles into Israel.
She spoke of remembering “young people who have been killed in all sorts of terrible circumstances — the Belgian children having lost their lives in a terrible tragedy and when we think of what happened in Toulouse today, when we remember what happened in Norway a year ago, when we know what is happening in Syria, when we see what is happening in Gaza and in different parts of the world — we remember young people and children who lose their lives,” she said, according to a transcript of the speech distributed by the European Union.
Ms. Ashton’s spokesman issued a statement of clarification on Tuesday, following the criticism, saying that her words had been “grossly distorted” and that she had not intended to draw any parallel.
“Israel Criticizes E.U. Official for Comments on French School Attack”
-by Isabel Kershner
Published March 20, 2012 The New York Times
To detail Netanyahu’s statement a little better according to the Times:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said that he was “infuriated” by what he called “the comparison between a deliberate massacre of children and the defensive, surgical actions” of the Israeli military that he said were “intended to hit terrorists who use children as a human shield.”
The New York Times viewpoint on the “defensive, surgical actions” of the Israeli military includes:
During the four days of fighting, 26 Palestinians were killed, according to the Israeli military. Most were militants, but four of the dead were civilians. A 12-year-old boy was among those killed in Israeli air strikes; another boy, 14, was killed by explosives in disputed circumstances. During the same period, Palestinian militants fired more than 150 rockets into southern Israel.
Notice the Times uses the term “militants” instead of “terrorists”. A subtle difference? Perhaps.
I just keep thinking that it’s been less than 70 years since the end of the Holocaust, and Jews are still not safe. They’re not safe in France and they’re certainly not safe in Israel. They’re also not safe in the world of public opinion or the news media. We’re supposed to live in a modern, civilized, enlightened world, but that’s what made it so difficult for Germany’s Jews to understand the danger they were in when the Holocaust began. They just couldn’t believe that a nation as civilized, as educated, and as enlightened as Germany was in the early 20th century could be capable of such evil. That’s what made it so difficult for the rest of the world to understand, too. That’s why some people didn’t believe it was happening. But is that an excuse for not believing it’s still happening today?
What do you do when you want to kill someone? That’s not a random question. For most of us, it would be almost unthinkable to actually kill someone, even in self defense. We have to weave all sorts of extreme and violent mental scenarios to even imagine ourselves pointing a gun at another person and pulling the trigger. Even if the killing were justified, such as defending your family from violent home intruders, the aftermath; actually living with the memory of having killed someone, would be horrendous.
So unless you are inherently violent or violently insane, it would be extremely difficult to point a gun at someone and to pull the trigger, knowing that they’d be dead in the next few seconds.
So how to you kill someone? How do you train soldiers to kill someone? How do you train a populace that it’s completely acceptable to send an army to another country to kill a lot of people? Today in the United States, the Government doesn’t do a very good job of training the citizens to accept war and so most people don’t accept war. During World War II, we had a fabulous propaganda machine that depicted the Germans and Japanese as non-human, murderous monsters. That made it possible for normally non-violent young men to go overseas and to shoot, bomb, and gas a bunch of other human beings who were trying to shoot, bomb, and gas them. That’s what made it possible for the average U.S. citizen to completely support sending an army to different countries around the globe to shoot, bomb, and gas non-human murderous monsters, who would certainly shoot, bomb, and gas us if they got half a chance.
Ironically, what the United States fails to do in terms of war, it does all too effectively in terms of abortion. What do you have to do to kill an unborn human baby? (I know…you didn’t see that one coming) You make them an “embryo” or a “fetus” but you never, ever make them a human being. It’s the same thing that let U.S. soldiers kill the enemy. It’s the same thing that let U.S. citizens approve of U.S. soldiers killing the enemy. It’s the same thing that let Nazi soldiers and the Nazi SS (Schutzstaffel) round up, torture, starve, shoot, and gas Jewish men, women, and children during the Holocaust.
It’s what let one (reportedly) neo-Nazi killer shoot and kill one Jewish adult and three Jewish children yesterday in France.
To France’s credit, they are (literally) up in arms over these deaths and are diligently searching for the shooter. According to news reports, the shooter has killed prior to this incident and there’s every reason to believe he’ll kill again. I want him caught too, and swiftly. I want him taken off the streets and put in prison.
But he’s only one man.
I know what you’re thinking. He’s only one man. He’s an extremist. He may be mentally ill. He is an aberration. If he’s stopped, things will become safe again.
Will they? I’m sure that the Jews living in Germany in the mid-1930s felt something similar. They couldn’t imagine any irrational hatred of Jews being anything but an aberration; something extremely unlikely to occur, and only involving one or two extreme individuals.
Except they were wrong. It involved thousands who committed horrible atrocities against human beings and millions who condoned it by the actions or their silence. Over the past 70 years tens or hundreds of millions of people have chosen to ignore or to deny the Holocaust, which murdered not only Jews but many other “undesirables” including the physically and mentally handicapped, gypsies, homosexuals, and anyone else who didn’t fit the “Aryan ideal”. All you have to do to kill them is to believe they aren’t human; to believe they aren’t like you, that they’re inferior, that they’re “less,” that they’re “monsters” or “things.”
Because if they’re humans just like you are, then you know that they want to live, just like you do. You know they have feelings, just like you do. You know that they can be scared and hurt, just like you can be scared and hurt. And if you have empathy for someone, you can’t hurt or kill them unless they’re doing something that’s very scary and threatening to you. One Jewish Rabbi and three Jewish children are very unlikely to be doing anything to scare or threaten anyone. They just died because they were Jews.
If we, who represent the rest of the world, don’t speak up and speak out and say “Stop!” to the rest of the world, then our silence is tacit acceptance that it’s permissible to kill a Jew for being Jewish, or to kill a person for being mentally ill, or gay, or for the color of their skin, or for the language they speak, or for being an inconvenient pregnancy.
If we believe that it’s acceptable to kill Jewish children for being Jewish, then we’re saying some people aren’t human and that’s OK with us. We like to think we’re civilized and enlightened, but if we are silent and do not protest injustice, then we are accepting injustice. We live in a world that still generally does not condone the murder of Jews, or African-Americans, or Gays, but we do condone the murder of millions of unborn baby boys and girls every year all over the world (and we’ve got a terrific propaganda machine in operation in America that justifies the whole damn thing and makes it sound enlightened and reasonable). Some people still believe it’s OK to kill Jews. A bunch of them live on land that used to be within the borders of Israel until other enlightened nations made Israel surrender that land to people who like shooting missiles at Jews. It’s a crazy world.
I told you I was taking this personally and that I wouldn’t be rational. But murder isn’t rational either. I figure you have a couple of choices. You can stand up and protect the defenseless and the victims from their murderers, or someday you’ll become either one of the murderers or one of the victims.
What? You don’t believe me? Neither did the German Jews in 1930…and neither did their German Gentile neighbors.
"When you awake in the morning, learn something to inspire you and mediate upon it, then plunge forward full of light with which to illuminate the darkness." -Rabbi Tzvi Freeman