Friday, October 21, 2011

"The largest genocide our world has ever seen"

One of our former grad students runs her own blog (click on today's post to view the blog). She sent me the following post which is very well written and thought-provoking:

"The largest genocide our world has ever seen"

I visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum recently with a friend who was visiting from home. This is the second time I've been there, and for those of you who have been to the museum know that it is a profound experience no matter how many times you see the exhibits.

The museum is very well done, as it highlights not only the Hitler and Nazi regime, but also the factors that led to the atrocities committed during the Holocaust. There is also currently a special exhibit on Genocide, and how it is still happening today.

This happened to be the first exhibit that I walked through while I waited for my turn to go through the main permanent exhibition. While I was there, I just had the greatest sense of unease. It is awful that the genocides such as those in Rwanda and Darfur have happened and are continuing to happen. Why can't our world learn that this is not right? But the greatest sense of unease hit me when I sat down to watch a film detailing Hitler's rise to power. In this film, they defined genocide as the systematic murdering of large groups of people deemed inferior.

Systematic... done or acting according to a fixed plan or methodical system.
Murdering... the wrongful premeditated killing of one human being by another.
Inferior... a person lower than another in rank, status, or ability.

This definition of genocide is when it hit me, when I realized why I was feeling such unease in my heart. It was because we are committing the greatest act of genocide today in our world, and the worse part is that it is a legal and systematic act that ends the lives of millions of unborn children each year.

In the pro-life circles, it is not anything new to compare abortion to genocide and the Holocaust. However, I think my sense of unease came from the fact that the museum kept portraying all the defining qualities of genocide - all of which can blatantly be applied to abortion - but yet there wasn't even a mention of abortion whatsoever. Not even in the exhibit highlighting the atrocities in the genocides of our generation. There was an area where you could make a pledge to take action against the atrocities of genocide around the world, and I wrote that I will "continue praying for the respect, dignity, and protection of all human persons." This, ultimately, is what it comes down to. A lack of recognition and respect for the dignity of human life - even human lives that are different from ours, those lives that seem to be "inferior" to our "superior" intellectual and physical abilities.

As I spent hours walking through the exhibits, I was continuously struck by the similarities between the atrocities committed against the oppressed, mostly the Jews, during the Holocaust and the unborn children of the world today.

There was a section that highlighted the Nazi's T-4 euthanasia program, which shed light on the atrocities committed against men, women, and children with disabilities. They were used as experiments, and then exterminated because they were deemed inferior. I don't think there are many people that could see these atrocities and not see how wrong these acts were.

Yet, we are doing this today. It has been estimated that 90% of babies with down syndrome are aborted. This statistic doesn't even include the number of aborted children who test positive for other disabilities in the womb. I really would like to know how this is different from what the Nazis did during the Holocaust. How is almost completely wiping out children with different intellectual and physical abilities than the average person any different from the Nazi plan for euthanasia and extermination of those deemed inferior?

Of course, it doesn't end there. We all know from our history textbooks that Hitler and the Nazis set out to make the "inferior" races obsolete. 6 million Jews were exterminated because they were inferior, but that's not all. I think the numbers speak for themselves:

(The sources that Wikipedia used are listed on the main article thread.)

This toll doesn't really account for those that publicly and politically opposed the Nazis, although many of those can be accounted for in some of the above numbers. I am especially thinking about the many Catholic priests and laypeople who were martyred for standing up for the dignity of the Jews and others who were murdered.

Of course, the numbers differ depending on what source you use, but it must be recognized that none of these values are entirely accurate. How can one possibly track that many deaths? However, all in all, estimates for the total death toll from the Nazi genocide come to around 17-26 million individual lives lost from 1933-1945, or an average of 1.3-2 million deaths per year.

In comparison, there have been multiple statistical analyses tracking the number of abortions since 1973. An analysis in 2010 showed that 52 million abortions have been performed since Roe v. Wade legalized abortions in the United States, an average of 1.8 million abortions per year. How on earth can some humans be so blind as to not see that abortion has become our modern day Holocaust?

When we expand this to include the concept of inferiority, all you have to do is look at the numbers to see that abortion targets minorities. If looking at a map to see where Planned Parenthood builds most of their clinics isn't enough to notice this trend, you can also look at the statistics. Abortions are performed on more than 3 times as many minority children as it is on white children. From the census data in 2000, African-American women comprised 12.3% of the female population but accounted for 36.4% of the abortions in America in 2006. Hispanic women accounted for 25% of abortions in 2008, while they only made up about 12.5% of the female population in 2000. Meanwhile, 69% of America's female population check the "non-Hispanic, white" box on the census, but only account for 36% of all U.S. abortions. From 1973-2001, abortion alone has claimed more than 2.5 times as many African-American lives as the next five leading causes of death combined. Between Roe v. Wade and now, about 30% of the African-American population has been lost to abortion.

It is time for America to WAKE UP! We claim to be the heroes of defending freedom and protecting those who can't protect themselves, yet we are the leader in the largest genocide our world has ever seen. Yes, the latest action to try to defund Planned Parenthood is a start, but we have to go deeper than that. We have to appeal to the hearts of Americans. We can't do that with facts and numbers and percentages, but only by showing the reality of recognizing abortion as genocide. It can start with looking at the aftermath of the Holocaust that people still deal with today, but it ultimately has to come from a conversion of the American mindset and heart.

Where can we find the steadfast leaders we need to undertake this challenge?

The Catholic Church. Today. Yesterday. Every day.

One of the things that gave me the most hope as I walked through the Holocaust exhibit was that the Catholic Church was recognized as being the only one who consistently opposed Nazi programs of sterilization, experimentation, and extermination of the "inferior" races (despite the fact that many claim the leaders of the Church either ignored the Holocaust or were Nazi supporters). It gave me hope - especially as a Catholic - to see that we continue to publicly oppose these horrors still present in the more modern forms of contraception and surgical sterilization, embryonic stem cell research, and abortion. We will not change our tune - even when we are publicly criticized for it - because this steadfast spirit in opposition is the right thing to do. People can now recognize the horrors of the Holocaust, and so they recognize that opposing the Nazis would have been the right thing to do. I hope and pray that the time comes soon when people will see this opposition against the atrocities in our modern culture as the right thing to do now as well.

As I walked through the exhibit and saw a wall that honored many priests and laypeople, who devoted their lives to hiding the Jews, and as I saw pictures of priests being executed for publicly opposing the Nazi regime, I started to keep true to my pledge. I asked those priests that were in the photos, by name, to pray for us and an end to genocide. We can't do this alone, and who better to turn to in our time of need today than the army who opposed these atrocities during the Holocaus


Anonymous said...

What a great piece of writing. It's all so true. I never thought to pray to those that tried to stop Hitler to help stop abortion, until reading this post. I will begin doing this. I hope many of you will join me in prayer.

Anonymous said...

On changing hearts and minds..

In the movie Juno, there is a scene where Juno encounters a picketer outside the abortion clinic. As Juno moves past her, she calls out, "the baby has fingernails!" It is this phrase that changes the heart and mind of Juno.

Recently, I have begun writing subtle pro-life phrases on the front of envelopes that I mail, bills, etc. Maybe, just maybe, after reading these words, a heart or mind will be changed.