Friday, January 30, 2009

Everybody is Somebody

Tonight on the way home from work, I heard an interview on the radio. The lead-in was talking about a reporter investigating some strange circumstances surrounding a death.

Apparently, someone had called and told him that while in an abandoned building, they had discovered a body encased in a block of ice at the bottom of an elevator shaft. As the interview went on and the reporter described the case, he expressed how he wanted to bring some dignity to the deceased by burying the body properly.

His quote has been replaying in my head for the past couple of hours. "This was somebody's boy. Everybody is somebody's baby."

The interviewer repeated those words, faltering herself.

A small wave of emotion swept over me. If you're a parent, repeat those words out loud for yourself and you'll understand instantly.

Sit back and think for a minute.

There are wars raging on several continents this very minute. Genocides. Ethnic cleansings. Wholesale exterminations of millions of people because of their skin color, ethnicity, or religious beliefs. We're sending all our nation's kids to fight in places where we're not wanted for reasons that are unclear at best, and all we've got to show for it is a spiraling deficit and a wake of thousands of bodies--somebody's babies.

Hundreds of people in the Guantanamo Bay military prison. Political prisoners in China. Militia kidnapping victims in Columbia.

AIDS babies in Ethiopia. A cholera epidemic whipping through Zimbabwe. Children and farmers crippled by undiscovered mines in Cambodia and Vietnam, leftover from another generation's unrest.

So many Christians are passionate about the pro-life arguments. "50 million abortions since Roe V. Wade." "Life begins at conception."

I'm all for protecting the unborn innocents. But what about the ones that make it out of the womb? Why do we care so disproportionately for those in utero? If we are so damned concerned about life and how it begins at conception, why don't we care about when and where it ends?

We'll rally against the rescinding of the Mexico City policy, but we won't lift a finger for the kids in the Gaza strip being killed by Israeli tanks. We'll hold marches on the Hill on the anniversary of Roe V. Wade, but won't organize a canned food drive for crack babies in Baltimore. We'll chant witty slogans like "be a hero--save a whale; save a baby, go to jail," but won't serve chili at a homeless shelter or make goodie baskets for our troops in Afghanistan.

We'll pray that God will send help for hurricane or tsunami victims. Where's that help going to come from? Someone has to go. Praying that God will comfort those who've lost loved ones is great, but as a pastor friend of mine once said, sometimes the world needs God with some skin on 'em.

When's the last time you volunteered at an orphanage or senior center? Taken in a family who lost their home to foreclosure? Those lives are valuable, too. All those forgotten kids, all those abandoned elderly, all those dirty, smelly, homeless people.

Everybody is somebody's baby.

Filed from my Windows Mobile® phone.


  1. Thanks for stopping by BonkLand last week...

    Thanks for this post...I am an avid supporter of pro-life causes, but wonder, too, why we don't place such high importance on the millions upon millions upon millions of oprhans worldwide...why we don't care about all of the kiddos in foster care in the U.S.

    Love this quote...
    Sometimes I'd like to ask God why he allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid God might ask me the same question.

  2. By the way...I was just listing a couple of examples involving orphaned kiddos...I wasn't saying those are the only things we should be fighting for...

  3. Don't worry--there's plenty of things we should be concerned about. I think it's sad that Christians (at least many of the ones I know) hitch their wagon to the Pro-Life train without really thinking about all of the implications of such a stance.

    If you're arguing that every life is valuable (as I do), then you best be ready to answer the call to defend life at every level.

    So, an interesting juxtaposition:

    Obama, who is Pro-Choice versus Christians convinced that keeping detainees rotting in Guantanamo Bay without due process or who want to blow up Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Is one better or worse than the other?

    The pro-life versus pro-choice argument can pose a difficult moral dilemma (to a wide variety of folks--pro war, anti social services for the poor, etc.) if you really dig in and take it to its logical conclusion. It's not just abortion, since it cuts to the heart of what value a person places on life. And, if one asks what value a you place on life before it's born, it stands to reason that you should place a similarly high value on life after the womb.

    Placing such a value, in my opinion, should dramatically change the way you view the world and should drastically influence the way you not only treat others, but how you use your time and resources. Those values should influence your opinions on long-term health care, unemployment benefits, children's health care, medical insurance, discrimination, and more.

  4. I had another post a few days ago that I think dovetails in with the valuation of life types of thoughts ...