Thursday, August 09, 2007

What Makes Me Angry (1999)

This is an article I wrote in January 1999...

This evening I got quite angry. Let me explain why.

The Aztecs used to have a sacrificial system where they sacrificed people. They believed that when the sun went down, it was dying and it needed human life to be given to it to help it rise again the next morning, and so as sundown approached, the priests would tear the still beating hearts out of people's chests and hold them up to the sun. A lot of those who were sacrificed were slaves or criminals - it was, among other things, their version of the death penalty. Pretty grim, you might think. But it wasn't that that made me angry this evening. In fact, I don't think that has ever made me very angry. For one thing, it was a long time ago and for another the Aztecs got what they deserved (not to say that those who gave it to them didn't deserve as bad of course). Also, when I found that useful fact out from a book, I was at the age where I thought it was fairly cool.

In the Bible, God's people rebel against him many times. On one occasion, they rebel against him so consistently and badly that he kicks them out of the Promised Land. This is what God says:

The people of Israel and Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth; indeed, the people of Israel have done nothing but provoke me with what their hands have made, declares the LORD. From the day it was built until now, this city has so aroused my anger and wrath that I must remove it from my sight. The people of Israel and Judah have provoked me by all the evil they have done--they, their kings and officials, their priests and prophets, the men of Judah and the people of Jerusalem. They turned their backs to me and not their faces; though I taught them again and again, they would not listen or respond to discipline. They set up their abominable idols in the house that bears my Name and defiled it. They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded, nor did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.
Jeremiah 32:30-35, NIV

Human sacrifice, in this case the sacrificing of children to Molech, is the lowest of the low in terms of rebellion against God. It is even worse in this case because it it God's own people doing it. That is why God's message through Jeremiah was firstly (chapters 1-28) one of judgement on his own people.

Maybe you now see what I'm getting at. But I'll change the angle of approach slightly.

British law says that if a pregnant woman is shot and the fetus dies as a result, but the woman survives, then the gunman is responsible for manslaughter (accidental homicide) at the least. If it can be shown that he was aiming to kill the baby, then it's murder (deliberate homicide). I don't know many people who would think that an unreasonable judgement, though they would argue over the sentence.

Paradoxically though, if the man is a doctor then he can not only get away with but also be legally paid, by the government for the same action (terminating the fetus). If he has the consent of the mother, then it is approved of. If not but he thinks he should do so anyway, then it is still not treated as homicide.

This evening I sung a song which I had sung before and made me quite angry. It can be found here. I've not reprinted it here for copyright reasons.

The song picks up that abortion is effectively sacrificing children "on the altars of our gods" - i.e. we are putting our own convenience or health before the lives of those fetuses. Note I write "we". And our gods are ourselves. As has been said (to mean something different) "God created man in his own image. Now man is repaying the compliment." Over five million fetuses have been aborted under the NHS. That's about 9% of the population of Great Britain. I doubt even the Aztecs managed that many. And that's why I was angry.

But the last verse of the hymn points the way forwards, as do the next verses in Jeremiah, which refer to God restoring his people after judgement and repentance. We need, individually and as a country, to recognise what abortion is, and then to move on, to apologise to God and receive his forgiveness. Until that time, we remain under God's judgement.

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