CALIFORNIA, January 27, 2013 ― In the wake of Sandy Hook, even the debt ceiling and looming fiscal catastrophe have taken a back seat to gun control.
The desire for strong action of some kind after an unthinkable tragedy is understandable. We believe that life is precious, and we have a deep yearning for justice. But to use the deaths of young children to limit the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves – from violence or from out-of-control government – while neglecting to protect unborn children is hypocritical, and even dangerously malevolent.
No public policy battle illustrates more clearly the differences between competing worldviews than issues of life and death. For moral relativists, circumstances of life are a convenient tool for ideological and political warfare. By contrast, a worldview with fixed moral guideposts provides a basis to consistently understand life’s preciousness in all stages of development and maturity.
Consider Sandy Hook. To blame this tragedy on guns trivializes the real issues. What about the glorification of violence in movies, video games and music, and even “if it bleeds – it leads” news reporting? What of the broken mental health system, or the “gun free” zones that only protect the killer?
Ignoring the obvious isn’t just ignorance; it’s a symptom of coldness that’s incapable of seeing beyond personal political gain. How else could Obama imply that our Second Amendment rights should be abandoned if it will save a single life, yet vigorously defend aborting tens of millions of babies (and even the barbaric partial birth abortion) for any or no reason at all?
This relativistic worldview shows a level of hypocrisy unworthy of leaders at any level of governance.
The Biblical worldview cherishes the value and dignity of human life from conception to natural death. Weak or strong, young or old, each person deserves to be protected, cared for and nurtured. Biblically, everyone comes into existence bearing the very image of God (Genesis 1:27; 1 Corinthians 11:7) as a gift (Psalm 127:3) fashioned uniquely from conception (Psalm 139:13-16). The unborn are human from the beginning of their existence and are never just a piece of tissue. The sonogram of a baby a few months after conception is easily recognized as a child, even by a preschooler.
This worldview doesn’t make pregnancies resulting from rape or incest any less emotionally traumatic. It does, however, remind us that the unborn child is still a child, and deserves both love and life. It isn’t responsible for the sinful actions or unfortunate circumstances of others, and its value doesn’t depend on the circumstances of its conception.
Murdering schoolchildren is obviously wrong; we recognize their humanity. Why do we not recognize the humanity of the unborn, and understand that taking their lives is just as wrong? To value them in terms of our own wants and expediency is less than a step from valuing the lives of the physically or mentally challenged in exactly the same way, thus judging them unworthy of life. The old and frail become useless to us since they have exhausted their potential, so might they not be undeserving of medical care? This would free up resources for younger lives with more potential, and spare us the crushing burden of end-of-life medical care.
This rational, selective, utilitarian treatment of life lets us think of ourselves as gods, deciding who will live and who will die. In the hands of humans, that power is absolutely corrupting. It has given us the world’s greatest mass murderers, men who have decided that human lives are just tools to use in the creation of a great society, eggs to be broken in the making of omelets, statistics in a great game.
Forty years ago an ignoble Supreme Court declared the unborn to be nothing more than property. Since then, visual media have played a dominant role in glorifying violence in our society. Though susceptible people may embrace a culture of death, self-serving politicians are even more dangerous when they decide which lives are valuable based on a morally bankrupt worldview.
The juxtaposition this year of political expediency with Sanctity of Life Sunday creates an even sharper contrast between a self-serving worldview, and one that recognizes that life deserves to be protected from the cold, utilitarian calculations of a killer, a tyrant, or an abortion-clinic physician.
Life is not a game, and human lives aren’t a commodity to be consumed, traded, or disposed of as is convenient to us. To use young children to shield Second Amendment policies from criticism is not just hypocritical; it’s cowardly, manipulative and worthy of contempt.
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