“The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.”Dietrich Bonhoeffer
If this is true, then we must live in a barbaric society: it struck me forcefully yesterday that our society routinely throws children under a bus.
- Young people and especially children have suffered the most from the covid-19 lockdowns, despite the fact that they were the least at-risk group. They have been sacrificed to protect adults. (See the UsForThem campaign, especially the book The Children’s Inquiry which is due to be published next month).
- In addition, children have been given the vaccine (this last few weeks for children aged 5-11), despite the fact that there are serious concerns about the vaccine rollout.
- Children are being increasingly exposed to transgender ideology in schools and elsewhere – I just watched an interview with James Esses where he talks about his concerns. You could add to this the way that children are being used as pawns in the culture wars – where children are being taught Critical Race Theory and the like.
- As more and more families break down and people are not getting married, children are often the worst hit – “Family breakdown is the single biggest predictor of internalised and externalised problems for boys and girls.”
- The most egregious of all, abortion – more and more babies are being killed in the womb before they even have a chance at life. 2020 saw the highest number of abortions ever – 209,917. It’s almost beyond belief.
I’ve been wondering whether that final point – abortion – is the one which underpins the rest.
Abortion and our self-obsessed society
What I simply can’t work out about the “pro-choice” party is the way that people treat it with an almost religious zeal. When section 8 was repealed in Ireland back in 2018, there was literally dancing in the streets.
To my mind it looked like a scene from the end of World War II!
Why? Why the unfettered joy that a woman might have the ‘right’ to remove some unwanted “pregnancy tissue”?
Earlier on today I was watching some of the reactions to the news that Roe vs Wade might be overturned (more on that in a minute). One of the things that was striking to me was how many people saw it as simply a matter of rights.
There’s no complex ethical debate about what’s best. There’s no dilemma about whether a foetus is a unique human being which has its own rights. I’m not trying to paper over the fact that there are complexities and shades of grey. Some dear friends had to go through an ectopic pregnancy a few years ago – I understand some of the nuances involved. But this is exactly my point: for the “pro-choice” side, there is no need for nuance or debate.
All they care about – or at least, the ones who are making the most noise on Twitter – is rights. The right to decide what to do with our own bodies; the right to have sex with whoever we want without consequences; the right to choose; the right to live according to our own rules. Who cares about the complexes of ethical debate when there are rights at stake?
And that seems to be symbolic of the kind of society we have become: we demand our own rights, in the process stamping all over the weakest and most vulnerable in our society – the unborn. We sacrifice children to our gods. Of course, we don’t call them “gods”, but effectively I think that’s what these rights have become. Particularly the “right” to have sex without fear of the consequences – the fruits of the sexual revolution.
This is in complete contrast to the way that God has given for us to live. The Bible often uses looking after “orphans and widows” as a shorthand for doing the morally right thing: protecting the weak and vulnerable is close to God’s heart.
Abortion is a symbol of our society now: self-obsessed, narcissistic, willing to kill even the weakest and most vulnerable to preserve our own autonomy.
Abortion and God’s judgement
Our society is not the first to sacrifice children to its gods. A brief glance down at the Child Sacrifice entry on Wikipedia shows several times in the past where civilisations have practiced it.
The Bible condemns child sacrifice in strong terms. Let me quote just one example, from Psalm 106:
They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to false gods.
They shed innocent blood,
the blood of their sons and daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,
and the land was desecrated by their blood.
Therefore the Lord was angry with his peoplePsalm 106:37-38; 40-42
and abhorred his inheritance.
He gave them into the hands of the nations,
and their foes ruled over them.
Their enemies oppressed them
and subjected them to their power.
This Psalm is a sort of retrospective, looking back at the sins of Israel to lead them where they were. The sacrifice of children to false gods comes as a climax. It’s interesting that it says “the land was desecrated by their blood”. Shedding innocent blood, and particularly children’s blood, has an effect wider than simply the individual concerned. It has an effect on the whole land.
And then we come to the second paragraph I quoted – starting with that key word: “Therefore”. Because of what precedes, “The Lord was angry with his people”. The Lord did not take kindly to a society which shed innocent blood – in fact, it invoked his wrath and judgement.
I believe this is what we are seeing today: a narcissistic society, where people put themselves first over the rights of children, is a society that is under God’s curse. I believe that the problems we see in society today – the way that as a society we seem to be disintegrating – are a judgement from God for abandoning him.
This is not to say that I think you can draw a straight line from one thing to the other, but rather a society which habitually sacrifices children for its gods is a society that is destined for judgement. It was inevitable that a land which killed children would invite God’s judgement. We have sown the wind, and reaped the whirlwind.
The only way back
There is a way back, but it’s not a way which we are keen to consider. This is what it says in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14:
‘When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
If we humble ourselves, seek the Lord, and repent – he will hear, and will bring healing to our land. This is the way; this has always been the way. This is the heart of the message that Jesus came to proclaim – “repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 24:47).
This is why I think the Roe vs Wade news is fascinating: I think covid has brought things to a head – children have been treated so badly over the last couple of years, people have really started to notice. At the same time, there is now a glimmer of hope that things could change. Just because abortion has been legal for years doesn’t mean it always has to be the case. Things can change for the better as well as for worse.
I believe that we stand now at a crossroads as a society – will we choose the road of protecting our own rights at the expense of the most vulnerable, and stand to be wiped out, or will we return to God and his ways?