Disasters, and the Children
of our Pain
November 1970, Bhola cyclone, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
Death toll: 500,000
July 1976, Tangshan earthquake China. Death toll: 242,419
December 26, 2004, Indian Ocean earthquake, Indonesia.
Death toll: 230,273 – 310,000 *
hearts were broken
Believer and agnostic alike look to the Heavens and finding
no satisfactory answer, cry ...
all the children ...”
We are scandalized by this.
“How could God allow it?”
For some, their faith is shaken, for others it is a further
indictment of any faith in God at all.
After all, they were only innocent children ...
Selective Scandal: the Greater Scandal Still
enough ... for all our pain, our tremendous empathy, our
terrible outrage ... we entirely lose this sense of scandal
at the dark doors of the abortion clinics — where
millions of utterly, totally innocent
children are killed — with deliberation,
purposely, skillfully, and with the cooperation of their
very parents ... to say nothing of our physicians, governments
Quite suddenly, our sense of scandal is lost.
Here, we can do something ...
and do nothing!
Suddenly ... the children do not exist. The killing does not
occur. There is no death and we do not mourn.
Would we really turn our back on an approaching Tsunami
and, pretending it does not exist, equally pretend that it will
carry no one out to sea and death?
A far greater Tsunami has occurred;
one that engulfs nations, sweeps continents ... carrying off
the lives of millions of children — and we ourselves
even throw them into the sea! ... then,
stepping back, we turn around and pretend that the backwash
of death at our feet is an illusion.
What incredible hypocrisy and astonishing hubris!
is our outcry then?
How carefully we select our scandals, our outrage!
We keep it for God on the one hand — and wash our own hands
clean of any complicity whatever on the other.
We call God to the dock and we comfortably exculpate ourselves.
It is entirely acceptable, “correct”, to us, that we
encourage, allow, permit, legislate, murder in the millions,
the most innocent and vulnerable of all — our
own children by state-sanctioned abortion!
But if a disaster strikes, if a mass murder occurs, and the
lives of children are lost, we are furious with
We cannot stop earthquakes and
but WE CAN STOP ABORTION!
Why do we have no fury for God for allowing the far, far, greater
evil of abortion to exist, to endure? Why has it dissipated?
Where has it gone? We are rightly reluctant to call God to account
for evils of our own making — but we must account them evil,
Here we draw the line between what we will select
as a scandal, although the results are sadly the same. Children
die. Here, we are eager to quibble, and death acquires another
name, some euphemism more in keeping with our ... sensitivities
... and since we are eager to equivocate on death, it is only
natural that we equivocate on life.
As with our “scandal”, so with the lives of our children: we
choose what is a scandal and we choose what is a child,
and after careful consideration both had better correctly
accord with prevailing morals ... which is to say, none. Or
there will be Hell to pay.
I were God ...!”
“If there is a God ... if
I were God ... I would
never allow such things to happen!”
We are, of course, more enlightened, sensitive, compassionate,
merciful, more understanding, and by all accounts far wiser
than God. In a word, we are far better than God, as evidenced
by the sad sequence of events that have numbed us. “...if
I were God ...”
Sadly, you are not. Shall I prove it?
Here, at this time, in this place,
before these doors leading to death, we ourselves
can stop it! — and do nothing.
It is odd that we do not bless God for what we deem this “great
good” allowed us — to murder our children — when, on the other
hand, we curse Him for allowing them to swept into the sea.
In both cases the children are dead. But only in one is it through
our own will and complacency — and in untold millions.
We can stop it, on the one hand, and
do not; we are thankful that we are
permitted to kill our children — while on the other, if we wish
them to live, and they die, we curse Him that He permits this.
What is this madness?
We murder our own children in the
millions — willfully — and
we will indict God
if the lives of children are taken by any means
other than willful murder?
And you would that you were God ...?
Thank God, that you are not!
Our own hypocrisy, complicity, and complacency
are the only evils commensurable with the evil we permit ...
and even pay for!
Boston Catholic Journal
Printable PDF Version