My mom and I have been talking about the sanctity of life. She hasn’t just been convicted, she’s brave enough to tell me so. She prays with my dad about what we can do to protect it, this sacred thing. Shortly afterward, she finds herself making the first sacrifice. A giant pro-life sticker on her car. My mom hates being the center of attention. Driving around in the ‘life-mobile’ qualifies as noticeable. But she had just prayed. And the call was just to her. Would she like a giant sticker on her car? Not the idea of a sticker. The real, enormous, professionally applied thing. And she said “yes.”
Now, this isn’t about gun-control, I promise. I find that following a peaceful savior in a corrupt world leaves us with many confusing scenarios. I believe in a time for everything. I believe in personal choices. I’m not interested in discussing whether or not we should carry guns or ban certain kinds etc. Really-I’m not.
Though guns and bullets have been around for a long time, the latest craze about them happened after the Connecticut school shooting. I am proud of our country for still having enough sensitivity to be shocked over this crime. I hurt for the mommies and daddies who celebrated Christmas without their little ones. Nothing must feel more wrong than seeing the child whom you created, birthed, loved, raised, being lowered into the ground.
Needless to say, I am in no way trying to diminish what happened on that day. It was horrific. It is horrific. I am merely asking a question.
Did America truly mourn the life that was lost that day, or the relationships?
We are moved and saddened by the thought that those parents, siblings and friends of the children who were killed will have to go on without them. We see the pictures of the good times they had together, how happy they made each other, and we know that they’ll miss that so much. But what if those children had no one to miss them? What if, for the sake of the question, those children had been alone in this life?
What if someone had gone into an orphanage in Uganda and shot thirty children who had no family? What if their parents hadn’t wanted them and they had made no friends since they were abandoned? Would we mourn?
Do we honestly mourn the life that has gone out, or merely sympathize with those who are left with broken relationships?
This was all swirling in my head last night when my brothers and sister and I decided to watch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I thought I had seen it before, but it turns out it was all new to me. I didn’t know, until last night, that Indiana was a child-slavery abolitionist. I also didn’t about Short Round, who is, now, my favorite.
During the movie, a horrific Satan-worshipper yanks the heart out of this guy and then feeds him to a pit of fiery lava. The scene is somewhat gruesome and suspenseful (you wonder if anyone will save him) but crucial in showing how wicked these people are. They are under a sort of spell and have no sympathy for humanity. They don’t seem to feel bad that a man just lost his life in a torturous way, and neither does the audience. I mean, it’s awful, but we don’t feel a great loss.
Near the end of the movie, however (spoiler alert!) we see Willie, the blond love-interest to Indiana, being strapped into the iron cage to be lowered into the very same pit of lava. Despite the fact that Willie’s character is outright obnoxious and she and Indie don’t go together at all, I found myself gripping my fuzzy blanket as the scene progressed. I knew that Indiana wouldn’t let her die, but I let myself enjoy the suspense of the fictional moment. What would it feel like to be in that situation? How would I react? What must it feel like to be dipped in lava? How could I save a person who was in such a predicament? The scene continues slowly. Willie begs for her life and screams a lot. As the audience, we are rooting for Indie. Don’t let her die! Save her! This can’t happen!
Was I worried about seeing a body thrown into lava? No. I had seen that about half an hour before when the nameless man met his fate. Why, then, was I so tense? Because I knew Willie’s character. And I knew that Indiana was, for some reason, in love with her. And I knew her name and where she had come from. I didn’t want Willie to die, and neither did Indiana and Short Round, because we knew who she was.
Again, this isn’t to take away from the tragedy in Connecticut or any other shooting, but I must wonder if we are being all too much human in our preferences. Did we mourn those children just because they had families who loved them and we feel bad for said families? Just because we could see their pictures on tv and relate to them? Just because someone knew them and, to America, they had a name?
And here’s the really harsh part. A lot more children died that day than we acted like. A lot of children die every day. In Haiti, babies are left in latrines because their mother cannot care for them. In India, babies are killed at birth because they are born with female organs. In Africa, children are killed in war or die as slaves on cocoa farms, far from their families. And this stuff happens in America too. In Texas. In Connecticut. Nearby wherever you’re reading this from.
An estimated five children die in the United States every day at the hand of abuse. An American baby is aborted every 26 seconds. That’s nine innocent deaths every 4 minutes. 137 and hour. 3,288 a day.
Contrary to what we like to think, those babies have faces too. They’re just not plastered on the news. They have memories, just not as many and they don’t include birthday cake or field trips. They have a family, a soul, a heartbeat (if they are 18 days or older) and were created in the image of God Almighty.
I know that there are children who have already been born who need our help and attention and care. That’s why I am so much an advocate of adoption, orphan-prevention and sponsorship for children living in poverty. I also know that the root of abortion is not the abortionists. We aren’t dealing with men with pointy tools chasing mothers down and forcing them into abortions (well, not typically.)
We are dealing with a lot of desperate people who don’t know where to turn. Terrified teen moms, insecure dads, parents who hold their reputation above the life of their grandchild, people who think that it’s wiser to have an abortion than to have a baby in college, people who don’t understand what “special needs” actually means, people who don’t know that every child is a blessing. A lot of people who don’t know.
They don’t know that their “pregnancy” has a heartbeat and fingernails.
They don’t know that a “special needs child” is actually just…a child.
They don’t know where to turn.
And that’s partially my fault. The Church’s fault. I think we need to reach out to the moms and correct this issue from the ground up. But let’s start by admitting that this is an issue that we’ve let slip. Let’s admit that, whether you befriend a young mom today or convince a dad to take responsibility for his offspring or talk an abortion-worker over to “our side,” there are babies dying right now. How many since you started reading this post?