I don’t know if you have noticed, but our nation has some contradictory attitudes, as well as actions, regarding the precious nature of life. Sometimes these contradictions become more obvious in the wake of a tragedy.
The most recent publicized tragedy regarding the loss of life is the multiple murders at the college campus in Roseburg, Oregon. I was reflecting on that tragedy when I received a text asking for prayer regarding the unexpected early delivery of a baby of a friend of mine. I believe the little one was 1 pound, 10 ounces at birth.
As I have read the various reports regarding the shootings at the Roseburg college campus, I was disheartened to learn about the campus administration’s attitude regarding campus security. According to the New York Times and CBS News, administration officials had considered armed security, and although half of the campus population wanted armed security, they decided that it wouldn’t do much good. They felt that five people could be shot before the security could arrive from where they were on campus, and they felt it would disrupt the “free feel of the campus culture.”
It seems to me that five people would have been more preferable than the 17 that were shot. I fear that business and budget, as well as the desire to attempt to maintain a “good feeling culture” were placed ahead of the precious and priceless value of life. I see a sad irony in that this occurred on a campus that labeled itself a gun free zone out of respect for life, but their respect for life did not reach the point of approving the request of many voices asking for armed campus security.
A reasonable budget request that would lead to additional protection for our citizens should not be ignored for the bottom line of an annual budget.
As I mentioned, as I was contemplating this issue, I was sad to hear that my friend unexpectedly delivered her 1 pound 10 ounce little girl about eight weeks early. But I am so grateful for the technology we have available today.
Primary Children’s Hospital immediately dispatched a life-flight helicopter to bring the precious life to their facility, a facility highly trained and equipped to insure and to assist the precious life in a chance for survival.
When I received the text, my mind began to imagine all of the people and resources that were brought to bear to make sure this little girl survived her extremely early arrival in this life. Money was not an issue. No one weighed out the pros and cons, the pluses and the minuses; they simply sprang into action to do whatever it took to make certain this little human survived.
What totally different attitudes I was looking at. The first one involved weighing the cost of another teacher on campus, against armed security for the teachers and students who were already on campus, a campus they were expecting to be safe on.
The second view takes no thought to cost, but considers the preciousness of that new life to exceed all other concerns, even the concerns of the pilot and nurses flying over the mountains in a rain storm.
I realize that we cannot prevent all tragedies, including those caused by people. But certainly, especially in light of the dangers posed by a free society (I would want no other kind of society), our bottom line must not be our top priority.
As coincidence would have it, I was talking about this issue with our church just recently. I was going over the account in the Gospel of Mark where Jesus delivered the man from demon possession by sending the demons into a large herd of pigs. The pigs were driven crazy by the demons, and plunged themselves into the Sea of Galilee.
When the people of the area showed up, they pleaded with Jesus to leave their area, clearly more concerned about the economic loss of the 2,000 pigs, as well as other possible future losses, than they were about the recovery of the precious man who had been tormented by demon possession for years. They too put the bottom line of business ahead of the precious nature of life. Things haven’t changed much in 2,000 years.
As Christians, we often fail to engage in public dialogue regarding these kinds of issues, as well as the peripheral issues they touch on. We often mistakenly feel that we should not bring our religious views into such a public policy dialogue. But to be honest, those of a secular world view bring their secular religious world view into the discussions, so why should we hesitate to bring our world view in? Why shouldn’t we bring a view into the discussion that considers that the precious nature of life exceeds all other concerns?
Do you think Planned Parenthood will champion such a cause in public debate? Do you think Wall Street will do so? Do you believe for one minute that the organizations that seek euthanasia for the elderly, youth, and even for infants, as they do in the Netherlands, will speak to the precious nature of life?
Our society’s problems are complex, to be sure. But the complexities and difficulties will not get less with your silence; they will only increase.
Jesus spoke and acted on your behalf. Be courageous in your faith. If you will not speak up, who will?
McCartney is pastor of First Baptist Church of Tooele.