Racism, human trafficking, and abortion all share a common source to their evil – the fundamental denial of human dignity – more specifically the creator endowed dignity of being made in the image of God. This is unilaterally accomplished by carving out groups of people (by ethnicity, gender, vulnerability, or age) who are classified as sub-human and therefore not treated as equal human beings.
Racism denies the image of God in a particular ethnicity, people group, or tribal affiliation. It seeks to make the persons of such groups or affiliations lesser than your group or affiliation. In doing so it assails the inherent worth endowed by God. There are several idols at work in racism – power, control, pride, and ironically likely both self-love and self-hatred.
Human trafficking denies the image of God in humanity by treating certain humans as not being human at all, but rather property. All sense of dignity and worth must be deconstructed in order to justify the human as property. There are several idols at work in human trafficking, most notably, greed, power, control, and lust.
Abortion denies the image of God in those of a certain size, age, gestation, or relative level of “wantedness.” The human is made to be sub-human because it is small, young, not yet viable, and has not travelled the magical 6″ journey down the birth canal that suddenly and mysteriously imbues it with life, human rights, and legal status. Their are several idols at work here, most notably, lust, selfishness, comfort, and escape.
While perhaps difficult to personally engage heavily on all three fronts, I find it ironic that my own age demographic seem inclined to care about the first 2 of these 3 and not the third. I don’t know if this is for reasons of ignorance, idolatry, apathy, or all of the above. It will be interesting how history plays itself out on this particular issue… but I am willing to wager that our grand children will think of abortion with a similar disdain that our generation holds toward the Holocaust.
The Banality of Evil and Our Cultural Morass
I hope we would see ourselves as being more dignified than to cut up our children for the pursuit of the ideal body, the next ladder rung of the career, or the perfect orgasm. I hope we would see ourselves as being more dignified than to allow persons to be treated as property for sex or for unpaid work for the pursuit of cheaper goods, uncommitted and intimacy-less sex (rape). I hope we would see ourselves as being more dignified than to allow other ethnicities to be treated as less worthwhile, less valuable, and sub-human for the pursuit of feeling good about one’s own tribe at the expense of another tribe.
There is a certain banality to evil that lulls us into going along and getting along. It was the same banality that anesthetized the very bright German people into the wholesale slaughter of persons categorized as sub-human.
What we want is what we worship and what we worship controls us. This is true if we are pagans, atheists, agnostics, or Christians. We are all slaves to our wants. Those wants drive our ideas… And ideas have consequences… Often dire ones.
What the heart loves, the will chooses, the mind justifies – Thomas Cranmer