Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Putting the Killing of Innocents Out of Mind

They trudged up the street, their women in a whispering knot behind them, and now there was mud on their shining shoes. They came to the tangle of bodies and then moved closer together. The living looked at the dead and the dead stared back at them and there was no sound on the hill...

But this was not their guilt, the leading citizens of Ohrdruf explained. They had never shot a man, or used a club. Yes, they were of the same political faith as the executioners. They prospered from the work of these slaves. This camp was in their town but they had never come here before this. Therefore, the leading citizens say, they were blameless. (James Cannon, European Stars and Stripes staff writer, talking about local Germans who were forced by American military officers to march by Ohrdruf, a sub-camp of Buchenwald, after its liberation in April 1945.)

Pro-life activists, in both Christian compassion and a recognition of our common humanity, still grieve for the victims of the Nazi barbarism. Yet when we read such passages as this, we also think of the abortion clinics in American neighborhoods where blasphemous brutality against preborn boys and girls (every bit as wicked as anything the Nazis did) is performed nearly every day.

And yet the people drive, walk and bicycle by without giving the abortion mill a single thought. Businesses -- even day care centers, doctors' offices and police stations -- may be located right next door. Yet their activities go on apace, very few people troubled by the unjust violence being performed so near to them.

And what about the churches and synagogues, the civic groups, the schools and the charitable organizations of the towns where abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood ply their grisly trade? Where is the protest of abortion? Where is the defense of justice and the sanctity of human life?

But this was not their guilt, the leading citizens of Ohrdruf explained...This camp was in their town but they had never come here before this. Therefore, the leading citizens say, they were blameless.

Shouldn't this alarm us to the depths of our spirit? And shouldn't it motivate us all to go pray at those abortion mills (even once in awhile), to lodge principled protests of these horrors, to support with our time and treasure the work of pro-life pregnancy centers and others who are engaged against the culture of death, and to pray fervently and frequently for holy redress of grievances?

Make no mistake, if we don't do these things, we do share in the guilt.

But don't take just my word for. Here's Proverbs 24:11-12:  Deliver those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back. If you say, "See, we did not know this," Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?

Dear God, please help us to avoid the guilt of complicity, including the complicity of silence and lack of caring that so marks the modern American church. Give us instead a new motivation to stand up for righteousness. Give us courage and boldness and a deep desire to get out of our comfort zones and into Your will.

And please give us very specific directions in how we should improve our service. How, for instance, should we be praying? Can we give more to the CPCs and other pro-life groups? How do we go about joining other Christians in prayer at an abortion clinic? What about those letter-writing parties that Vital Signs Ministries offers? For that matter, what about the action alerts I see at Vital Signs Blog and other Christian websites? And then there's the annual March for Life, the Life Chain, elections, and the ongoing need to talk up pro-life issues to friends, family and fellow parishioners.

Guys, we can do this. Unlike the people of Ohrdruf that had to be forced by foreign soldiers to look closely at the evil they had driven out of their minds, we can (by God's grace) face facts. Yes, the death camps are in our town. But we will strive to be guiltless...not by hunkering down in darkness, not by ignoring what's happening but by raising the standards of His holiness, His truth and His grace in our decadent culture.

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