In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook killings, the country is frantic to explain and understand what is wrong with our society. What kind of society would foster individuals that could take the lives of innocent children? Does access to guns increase or reduce violence? Do we lack adequate treatment of mental illness? Are we in need of greater security measures? All of these issues will find traction for debate, but they will continue to overlook a vital element of this discussion. Our society has lost the value of life ... not just of others, but our own as well.
We have a society that allows for the disposal of life when it is inconvenient, resulting in the deaths of over 55 million unborn children since 1973. We have a society that argues for the destruction of one life for the benefit of another through embryonic stem-cell research. We have a society that supports an individual ending their own life through physician assisted suicide. And yet we seem surprised that these cultural influences would result in destructive choices.
Valuing life is a moral conviction. Yet our country is fervently working to erase moral conviction and immeasurable worth. We don’t want to legislate morality so in the process, we demean it. David P. Gushee, PhD, asks the question: “Can a secular society value life? It is certainly possible to argue that the idea of the sanctity of human life is essentially a conferring of God’s holiness or sanctity onto the pinnacle of God’s creation, human beings.”
Valuing somebody else’s life begins with valuing your own. And yet we no longer allow schools to tell our children that they are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). That God has a plan for their lives, plans to prosper them and not to harm them, plans to give them hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). That a supreme being, who created the universe by a spoken word, created their inmost being and knit them together in their mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).
Heaven forbid we should teach them they are of great value, individually designed and created to love and be loved and that it is wrong to murder and steal.
Looking at some of the worst mass murders since 1989, the motivations range from racial and religious hatred, financial loss, misfits tired of being picked on, people enraged over salary or custody disputes as well as other unidentified issues. When these broken people were asking the questions "Is this all there is? How do I fit in? Why am I here and for what reason?" would it have made a difference if we gave them an answer of hope instead of insignificance and disillusionment?
Valuing some life requires valuing all life. We have a president who expresses grief over the children at Sandy Hook because they will never experience their next birthday, graduation, marriage ... but yet he proudly defends his support of late-term abortions. He voted against laws to protect live-born children of abortions, and he even voted against a bill defining “born-alive infant” to include infants “born alive at any stage of development.” These children will never see a birthday or graduation, either. Why are their lives less worthy of protecting?
If a culture does not hold human life as sacred, human life is cheapened. And no amount of gun control, mental health access or increased security will take away the consequences.
"We have no government armed in power capable of contending in human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." - John Adams, Founding Father and Second President of the United States.