This is a word that has become all too familiar to us in the past century.
In China, “Chairman” Mao Zedong oversaw the deaths of 58 million people in a span of 31 years. Stalin’s USSR saw 20 million people dead under his regime. More recently, in the past twenty years in Rwanda, Somalia, and Darfur, there have been 1.75 million people systematically murdered. One million of those people alone were murdered in 1994 in Rwanda. And of course, the Holocaust stands as the most emblematic destruction of a people, with at least 5.7 million murdered Jews in an eight-year span.
Why do I bring up such an unwelcome topic? Simple. It is going on right in front of our faces.
But just so we don’t lose sight of the reality that should be smacking us in the face constantly, there was a man convicted today of out-and-out murdering three infants and one mother of a partially murdered infant.
The case of Dr. Kermit Gosnell has been relegated to the back pages in favor of more important stories, like the Kardashians’ current weight and O.J. Simpson’s request for a re-trial. Maybe for good reason. The details of the case are beyond imagination. Since 1979, he has been practicing what we refer to as “abortion.” In the past the term would have been “infancide”. It has been practiced since at least biblical times, when unwanted babies (i.e. girls) were simply discarded and left for dead. The early church was noted for saving these children from certain death.
In the future I hope that this process will be called for what it is: genocide.
Because the most horrifying aspect of this case is the fact that Dr. Gosnell destroyed exponentially more human life that followed the letter of the law than those with which he could ever be prosecuted. This is not a philosophical point.
What would you say if you heard about a man who personally ended the life of 16,000 children? And what if the vast majority of those people happened- just so happened- to be African-American? That is the rest of the story, after all.
The Christian life calls us to see more than what is presented in front of us by our neighbors and friends around us. We are called to see the story beyond what is currently legal, status quo, acceptable, or politically correct. We are a prophetic people.
When we see an ethnic cleansing, we call it an ethnic cleansing. When we see murder, we call it murder, regardless of the current location of the life that is taken. In the womb, out of the womb, we need nobody to tell us that a person is a person, whether they can take care of themselves or not. And the more helpless one is, the more we are responsible to help.
I pray that Kermit Gosnell’s conviction is a wake-up call. I pray that the church, instead of vilifying him (which would be too easy), would lead the way in telling the truth about life. I pray that you and I would have the courage to stand up and be counted in a time when the truth needs to be spoken.
And I pray that we have the courage to act.