Fighting For The Right To Life
March 21st was World Down Syndrome Day https://worlddownsyndromeday.org/
One of the features of the website is its magnificent celebration of all that people with Down syndrome contribute to society, and a great example of that is Frank Stephens, whose speech is profoundly moving and very challenging.
These powerful and eloquent words are at the heart of his speech:
First, we are a medical gift to society, a blueprint for medical research into cancer, Alzheimers, and immune system disorders. Second, we are an unusually powerful source of happiness: a Harvard-based study has discovered that people with Down syndrome, as well as their parents and siblings, are happier than society at large. Surely happiness is worth something? Finally, we are the canary in the eugenics coal mine; we are giving the world a chance to think about the ethics of choosing which humans get a chance at life. So we are helping to defeat cancer and Alzheimers and we make the world a happier place. Is there really no place for us in the world?
Who can argue with such a compelling presentation?
And yet I am uneasy, because the truth is that no human being should have to argue for the value of their life on the basis of who they are or what they can do. The bible teaches us that every human life is of inestimable value because we are made by God in his image; our value is inherent, and so not something we have to prove or to earn. Sadly, because those who hold all the power in our society have embraced secular materialism, the value of human life is no longer absolute or inherent, but relative to their subjective standards, each one being “weighed in the balance” and if you are found wanting (especially before you are even born and able to “speak out”) then you become part of their “final solution” to “evolution’s inexorable march” of so-called progress. That fills me with a mixture of fear, sadness and anger.
It is time for us to rise up against this before it is too late. What will become of us if we think we have the right to decide who should live and who should die on the basis of a chromosome? And when will these “genetic police”, who answer only to their impersonal and a-moral “god” of materialistic evolution, decide that it is your genetic mutation or mine that is holding back progress and needs to be wiped out?
Blood on our hands
The truth is that we have blood on our hands, and as I pointed out on Good Friday in a sermon based on Isaiah 1:12-20, if we fail to rebuke oppressors, defend the fatherless and plead for the widows (ie take action against injustices perpetrated by the powerful against the defenceless) we are implicated in their guilt and God will hold us to account; in other words, inaction in the face of such wickedness is not an option. Wasn’t that the defence of those who failed to resist Hitler’s regime?
Karen Gaffney gives an earnest appeal on behalf of an entire category of human being that “we” as a society are currently seeking to wipe out:
And if you want your heart to melt, just have a look at this lovely little girl advertising World Down Syndrome Day:
By Oliver Allmand-Smith – 09/04/2018