School Shootings, Abortion and the Devaluing of Human Life

This is the last post that has to do with the tragedy that struck our nation last week. My prayers continue to go out for those families who are still suffering and mourning but after this post, it will not continue to come up on this blog. Prior to Sandy Hook there were 7 school related shooting deaths from 2010-2012 (3 of the 7 were suicides on campus). Including the Newtown shooting that goes up to 34. In that same amount of time roughly 3300 babies are murdered daily in the United States via abortion. That is a September 11th every single day propagated against the unborn. That adds up to 3.5 million abortions in those same years.  When students die people, understandably, scream for reform. When the unborn die at a nearly 100,000:1 ratio to school shooting deaths, it is celebrated as a woman’s right to choose. No need for reform. No need for new laws that restricting such barbaric actions. Instead we call the unborn “mistake”s and “punishment” and call such freedoms “progress”. We just keep devaluing human life by killing the most innocent and helpless in our society and then we wonder why people don’t think twice about murdering someone.

I couldn’t have said it any better than what our President said in his speech to Newtown yesterday (I just wish he could hear how is very own words speak volumes about the value of the born as well as the unborn),

With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves — our child — is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice. And every parent knows there is nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm. And yet, we also know that with that child’s very first step, and each step after that, they are separating from us; that we won’t — that we can’t always be there for them. They’ll suffer sickness and setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments. And we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear.

And we know we can’t do this by ourselves. It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize, no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself. That this job of keeping our children safe, and teaching them well, is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community, and the help of a nation. And in that way, we come to realize that we bear a responsibility for every child because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours; that we’re all parents; that they’re all our children.

This is our first task — caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.

And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm? Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know that they are loved, and teaching them to love in return? Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?

I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change.

We must apply these sentiments to ALL children and not let the act of delivery be a dividing line between those who are allowed to live and those who are killed. So let us mourn for Sandy Hook and Newtown. Let us also mourn for their would-be classmates who were not given a chance at life and for all those who die in the womb at the hands of a doctor every day in this country. It is all so very tragic. These are all just symptoms of deeper issues that we as a nation are not yet willing to face. We would rather just legislate it all away but that just won’t fix the real issue here.

About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

29 Responses to School Shootings, Abortion and the Devaluing of Human Life

  1. I also thought the President’s remarks were so well said

  2. Rob Vaughn says:

    I read you a lot Matt, and agree with you a lot. But, I don’t think it’s fair to equate abortion with shooting and killing 6 year olds. People have many legitimate reasons to not believe there pregnancy is actually a person at the time of their abortion. Even if myself or you do not believe that, I acknowledge the scientific and scriptural evidence others do believe and except that abortion is not such a cut and dry issue. A classroom of 1st graders is cut and dry and honestly I find it offensive that you would compare the two.

    • mattdabbs says:

      Rob,
      I figured someone would take that line of reasoning when I wrote that. Please be patient with me and let me address your point. Thank you also for making the comment. I appreciate your willingness to comment and even disagree.

      Here is my big question – How is it that for thousands of years no one was confused over a pregnant woman having a child in her womb? Then we got all sorts of technology that confirms that and even allows you to view that child and watch it move around while in the womb and now all of a sudden we are so confused as to what exactly a fetus is and whether or not “it” is alive. Strange, don’t you think?

      I think the answer to that question goes back to a few posts back on the narratives that we use to make sense of the world around us. I can and will say more about that when I have more time but I am sure you know where I am going with that. So, I would question whether or not there is a legitimate reason to not believe a pregnancy involves an actual person. Thanks for your patience, I would love to hear your response…not because I think I have won some disagreement but because I value these types of discussions.

      • Rob Vaughn says:

        My only specific point here is that you shouldn’t use such harsh and insensitive language, like calling it murder and equating it to what happened in CT, when talking about abortion. I wish you and many other Christians might accept the POSSIBILITY that we are wrong. I don’t mean to change your view at which stage a person becomes a person, but just allow that you might not be the authority on that subject. I know I have never seen anything definitive in the Bible, who knows, maybe you can show me that definitive text and then I will be convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt. But that is not my point. Ultimately I guess my point is to reduce abortions as much as possible, but I don’t think the tone and insensitive language in your post forwards that goal of reducing abortions.

    • mattdabbs says:

      Rob,
      How am I being harsh and insensitive? If what I am saying is true and done in an effort to save life then I don’t think I am out of line on this one. I think it is insensitive and harsh to tear a baby apart in the womb and not insensitive or harsh to call that murder. Help me see where I am missing something here. How sensitive should I be when it comes to the issue of killing the unborn? Should I be careful to not offend those who have decided fetuses are objects worth killing if they inconvenience your life? Were the prophets always tiptoeing around trying to not offend people? Jesus even used harsh language at times because he was speaking the truth and that was for far less than killing babies. What does it say about a society that they will kill their own offspring by the tens of millions in the name of rights and liberty? Seriously, where am I missing it here brother?

      • Rob Vaughn says:

        Matt, I get the feeling we are talking on different wavelengths here and am not sure this discussion through text is going anywhere. That’s probably my fault because I don’t express myself very clearly.

        You clearly believe you know for sure that a person is a person from the time of conception. After all, you are discussing abortion here and are not distinguishing between when the abortion occurs. This is an insight that many others don’t possess, myself included. Don’t misunderstand, I lean much closer to your belief on this issue then I may lead on here. But, I’m not positive because that is not what I read in scripture or from the science I have encountered. Therefore, I will not call mothers who abort “Murders” and assume they are “celebrating” their right to choose when they make the horrible life changing decision to abort.

        I think this kind of talk that you don’t see as harsh is counterproductive and particularly harmful to mothers who may read your post and have already dealt with the horrible reality of abortion in the past and are living with that decision now. These are women that I would wish to lead to Christ and to not promote abortion in any way in their future.

        Matt, assuming we both have the same goal, to reduce the number of abortions. Then I guess we’ll just have to disagree on what the best tactic is for reaching that goal. Although, I completely agree with your last sentence, “We would rather just legislate it all away but that just won’t fix the real issue here.” Legislation is not the answer!

    • mattdabbs says:

      Rob,

      Thank you for continuing the conversation. It is an important one. If you don’t mind, take a step back and re-read what you wrote. If I am reading you right, your comment has one big contradiction in it. I don’t say that to attack you or belittle you. I am sure I do that myself sometimes. But I think it is important that we point it out. Maybe I am missing your point and you can straighten me out.

      You wrote,

      “You clearly believe you know for sure that a person is a person from the time of conception. After all, you are discussing abortion here and are not distinguishing between when the abortion occurs. This is an insight that many others don’t possess, myself included. Don’t misunderstand, I lean much closer to your belief on this issue then I may lead on here. But, I’m not positive because that is not what I read in scripture or from the science I have encountered. Therefore, I will not call mothers who abort “Murders” and assume they are “celebrating” their right to choose when they make the horrible life changing decision to abort.

      I think this kind of talk that you don’t see as harsh is counterproductive and particularly harmful to mothers who may read your post and have already dealt with the horrible reality of abortion in the past and are living with that decision now.”

      If I am reading you right, your point is that we can’t really know when a baby is a baby/human/alive? and so we have to be careful not to call it murder for fear of offending someone. But then you also say I am speaking harshly because a mother who has had an abortion has done something you call a “horrible reality” and something you imply at the end of that quote to be a difficult thing to live with. I don’t understand how it can be both ways. Help me understand which it is. If it isn’t murder or even killing then how is it a “horrible reality” and why would such a decision be hard to live with? That very characterization and reality in the lives of women who have had abortions speaks volumes. It seems you are making my case for me by characterizing abortion as a horrible reality that would be, in and of itself, difficult to live with. Do you see my point here?

      I have a few more points I would like to make in reply to your comment but I will do them one at a time.

      • Rob Vaughn says:

        You are right, you probably see contradictions in what I am saying. But this part of my comment that you are focusing on is NOT my point. Since defending abortion or making you change your mind on it is not my intention in this conversation I will not dwell on it anymore.

        I will repeat again what my intentions are and my point:

        I do NOT want any abortions AND I want to introduce these women to Christ…to that end I think we are all served better (unborn included) to tone down language that is counterproductive (as I see it) and try to see things from another perspective and engage on a more humble and compassionate level.

        It’s as simple as that.

    • mattdabbs says:

      Rob,

      Fair enough. One thing I have failed to do in this discussion is be complimentary of our common ground and common purpose. Sorry about that. I have left that out of the discussion even though you have mentioned it several times.

      I want to make a distinction here between how I frame up an issue on a national level and the corruption and distortion of our worldview and culture as a nation and how I would deal with and speak to or discuss this with someone who has been through it. Those conversations don’t sound the same but both are very necessary. We don’t always have to have the same tone or the same posture in all conversations and with every person. We do have to treat everyone with love and respect all the while still speaking the truth into the situation. I hope that clarifies where I am coming from here.

    • mattdabbs says:

      I have a post being put up tomorrow that I really would like for you to read, explaining where I am coming from, or attempting to come from, in all of this. I value your feedback.

  3. andrew dabbs says:

    Excellent points. It is perfectly acceptable in our culture to preemptively kill a child if his/her arrival in the world will be a disruption or inconvenience. If you do not believe that people all have value because they are created by God, they only have the value you assign them. This is why liberal types cling so tightly to illogical and plainly false moral and cultural relativism. If we are not all equal just because academics and psychologists say so, how do you judge the performance of one group against another? Ethnicity? Intelligence? Ideological purity? Then how do you view the people who don’t measure up? This is the Hitlerian abyss this way of thinking will lead to eventually.

    • mattdabbs says:

      Once you fully embrace post-modernism you remove the teleological/eschatological component from the mix.

      You probably already know this:
      Teleology = “the fact or character attributed to nature or natural processes of being directed toward an end or shaped by a purpose”

      Eschatology = “a belief concerning death, the end of the world, or the ultimate destiny of humankind; specifically : any of various Christian doctrines concerning the Second Coming, the resurrection of the dead, or the Last Judgment”

      In other words, where this world is headed and what God has to do with it and say about it no longer matters once you remove all truth and replace it with relativism. People become agnostics who don’t really land anywhere. So what does all this matter if at the end of it all there is no God and that he really isn’t coming back to judge the world? And as you said, how does one evaluate the value of life whether one’s own life or the life of others from the post-modern perspective? What does it matter if you destroy life if you don’t believe God created the world and that he “knits babies together” in the womb as Psalm 139 tells us. The truth is, God is intimately involved in His creation but people ignore it, reject it or haven’t been taught it. Once you lose that piece, the rest falls apart.

  4. Radha-Govinda Swami says:

    In President Obama’s statement here, “And we know we can’t do this by ourselves. It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize, no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself. That this job of keeping our children safe, and teaching them well, is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community, and the help of a nation,” he left out the most important Person, God, the most important factor, under the guidance (and instruction) of God. Only when a society lives in accordance with God’s desires and instructions, can one be “kept safe,” “taught well,” be given proper help (“of friends and neighbors, the help of a community, and the help of a nation”). Only God, Who has created all, knows how things are to be kept running in perfect order. Thus, only when His instructions, His guidance is followed by us as individuals and a society, can there be proper protection, proper teaching, proper help.

  5. Radha-Govinda Swami says:

    God IS trying to guide our steps and give us information. Seems our prayers need to be that we will accept what God is giving in these regards. God is giving, but so many of us – from the leaders on down – are ignoring. Thus, the ugly situation we have which exists all over the world…

    We live in a society that glorifies violence – How many children are watching violent things on TV and playing violent video games… (desensitized to what such violence is); a society that teaches us to be greedy, to acquire more and more and more, and more, brand names being our “god”; a society that promotes illicit sex, intoxication, largescale slaughtering of animals, and slaughtering of other people to fulfil our needs (oil), and and and…

    For so many of us who put in prayers to God, it’s usually a “give me” (something materialistic) prayer, certain churches encouraging this (mailing out a picture of Jesus, telling the person to kneel on this “prayer rug,” and directing the person to “Pray for that car you want,” “Pray for that new house,” “Pray for how much money you want,” etc.)

    How many of us pray to God, “Please help me to fully love and serve you. Please help me to love and serve all others (including non-humans) in relationship to you.” (See Matthew 22.35-40)

    How many of us pray to God to become freed from whatever amount of greed, lust, envy, and pride that exists within our hearts?

    It is these things that we in our society, are being taught to be possessed of, as opposed to love, which is what God Himself teaches. At some point though, we will become awakened…

  6. Thank you Matt and Rob for displaying for all of us readers how to work through things in a discussion with honesty and mutual respect.
    I think it points to one of our bigger apologetical challenges in postmodern culture – how to offend people with only the gospel and not everything else (since people are so incredibly offended by any truth claim at all.).

  7. mattdabbs says:

    I realize that I never addressed one of Rob’s points in the comments here. I addressed it in a followup post but never posted it here.

    Rob wrote,

    “You clearly believe you know for sure that a person is a person from the time of conception. After all, you are discussing abortion here and are not distinguishing between when the abortion occurs. This is an insight that many others don’t possess, myself included. Don’t misunderstand, I lean much closer to your belief on this issue then I may lead on here. But, I’m not positive because that is not what I read in scripture or from the science I have encountered.”

    I am no scientist but I can address the point made about scripture. I am going to make one comment and ask one question to address Rob’s point in the above quote,

    Comment – There are many verses that refer to what is in the womb as a child. Here are a few: Isaiah 7:14, Gen 16:11, Psalm 139:13, Luke 1:31 (Mary will be with child and give birth…in that order). There are more but that is enough to make the point.

    Question – Can you find a verse that says babies are anything but living human children? In other words, please share what you are reading from scripture that would lead you to be uncertain over whether or not a fetus is a person.

    • Nick Gill says:

      The fact that women who endured accidental miscarriages were not considered guilty of manslaughter might be a step in that direction.

      If human life begins at conception, then every miscarriage must be considered a potential murder scene.

      • mattdabbs says:

        I am not quite sure how to read Exodus 21. I will have to take a closer look at those verses. BTW, we had a miscarriage a few years back and it was a death to us…we mourned and mourned. I had known people who had gone through that before and didn’t really know how tough it was until we went through it ourselves.

      • Nick Gill says:

        I don’t doubt that there is a death, especially after “quickening,” when the baby first moves so as to be noticed.

        But my point is more legal in nature — it is not up to the family; it is up to the police and the district attorney to decide whether or not a death situation is murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide, or a death by natural causes.

        What if you and your wife had been charged with a crime because of that miscarriage?

      • mattdabbs says:

        Nick,

        I see where you are going with this. It is an interesting line of reasoning. In our case, we believe it was due to what may have been an exposure to mercury so I guess we would be acquitted. Many times people don’t know what caused it. But there is a difference between miscarriage and abortion where you are taking a healthy/fully viable baby and choosing to kill, usually by suctioning it to pieces and then removing the dismembered baby from the uterus.

      • Nick Gill says:

        of course there is! I fully agree with you. Accidental/unintentional miscarriages and abortions are worlds different.

        The *only* thing I’m saying is that there are serious ramifications, which few people have either considered or talked about, to legal establishment of full human life at conception.

      • Crystal says:

        I disagree with this line of reasoning. People die of natural causes all the time and they are not considered a potential murder scene.
        An accidental miscarriage is the death of the unborn child by natural causes before birth. Saying that it is a potential murder is very insensitive… implying that the miscarriage is the fault of the mother. Women who have had miscarriages have enough feelings of failure and inadequacy without someone saying they’ve committed manslaughter.
        I don’t think there would be legal ramifications to life beginning at conception for the following reasons.
        1. Before abortion was legalized, there were no issues where miscarriage was concerned.
        2. A large portion of pro-choice groups believe the unborn child is a “child” at some point during the pregnancy and there is legislation outlawing late term abortions but when a woman has a late-term miscarriage, she is not charged with anything. There is no question of manslaughter. Saying life begins at conception wouldn’t change the legal portion as far as miscarriage is concerned because we would already have that problem. Do you see what I’m saying here?
        3. Miscarriages are already investigated by a doctor to find out what caused the miscarriage so that it can be prevented in the future. An OBGYN can tell if a miscarriage was forced. A naturally occurring spontaneous miscarriage would not be an issue.

    • robbiev says:

      Matt,
      While Numbers 5:12-28 doesn’t imply that a fetus is anything other then fully human, it does not only permit, but commanded by law that a women abort her pregnancy due to infidelity. Murder was against God’s laws, so I interpret this law concerning abortion as not murder.

      Now, I may be way off here and totally misunderstanding this passage…but again, I think it backs up my argument that we cannot be so dismissive of views concerning abortion not being equal to murder.

      • mattdabbs says:

        God frequently calls for the death of who sees fit all over the Old Testament. That doesn’t mean they arent human. That is God’s decision, not ours. So, as you pointed out, those verses say nothing of the humanity of that baby. God demanded the life of David’s child as punishment to David. Point being in my two examples God does not differentiate life base on which side of the Womb they are on.

      • robbiev says:

        Matt said, “God frequently calls for the death of who sees fit all over the Old Testament.”

        You’re absolutely right here. God does call for people to be Killed sometimes. He also out-laws murder. I think it’s clear that God considers murder and killing something different. As do most of us, unless you consider all of those killed in war, murders.

        I don’t see any contradictions to the 6th Commandment and God’s commands to Israel to kill thousands of people and livestock.

        I think it can be argued that God views Murder and killing differently and so can we.

        Let state again that I am not at all personally condoning abortion, I am playing devil’s advocate here a bit to argue the point the we don’t need to be so adamant about using words like murder to describe abortion when it can be taken quite offensively.

      • robbiev says:

        I guess in legal speak, I would say that one can come up with “reasonable doubt” that abortion, at least in certain situations is not prohibited by God. Not encouraged, but also not discouraged. I would almost say that this is one of those subjects that the God is silent on if it weren’t for the Numbers 5:12-28 passage.

      • mattdabbs says:

        I am with you on your position here and what you are doing in the conversation 100%. I also agree that there is a distinction between killing and murder. In fact, the dictionary definition of murder is that it is something done illegally. That definition doesn’t work in the case of legalized abortion. Now, is that how God defines it…based on what man says is legal or not? I don’t think so. For instance, there have been governments who murdered their people but would not have called it that…but it is still murder.

        Last, the distinction I would make here is that God can do what God wants to do and if God calls for it, it certainly is not murder. But we cannot say that if God says abortion is fine via some passage and circumstance in Numbers and that that means we can go killing babies in the womb at will and also not call it murder.

        I do get that people want to avoid the term murder because they don’t want to burden that term onto women who have done this. But it is also entirely possible that we as a culture have culturally and legally condoned and relabeled things away from the truth. Just something to think about.

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