Dedicate yourselves to thankfulness. Colossians 3:15

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Faith transcends violence

Published in Cumberland Sunday Times, June 14, 2009.

"...peoples’ evil acts do not warrant condemnation of religion, nor
skepticism toward humankind."

An atheist views violence in the name of God as reason to reject faith (“There’s no compassion or pity in them,” May 6). A believer views all violence as godless.

Evil reigns in peoples’ minds and hearts when they commit heinous acts against innocents. But peoples’ evil acts do not warrant condemnation of religion, nor skepticism toward humankind.

Believers plumb the depths of their relationship with God to find the transcendent in the midst of godlessness. God’s love protects souls, and it changes minds and hearts to overcome evil. Our hope in God and in the goodness of humankind overcomes despair, and it moves mountains (Mt. 17:20).

Anne Frank was 15 when she died of typhus in a concentration camp, seven months after her arrest in 1944. She and her Jewish family, hunted by Nazi soldiers, hid for almost three years in her father’s office building in Amsterdam. An accidental noise in their upper chamber revealed their whereabouts to an incidental burglar and betrayer below.

Otto Frank survived (Nazis killed 6 million Jews and 8 million more civilians in three years). He returned to his family’s hideout and found his daughter’s diary. Published in English in 1952, Anne’s poignant words tell of her love for God and her unfailing faith in people.

Immaculee Ilibagiza was 22, a Catholic Tutsi college student, when the Hutu government set out to exterminate her tribe in a power grab in Rwanda in 1994. A family friend, a Hutu Christian pastor, risked his own life to hide her and seven other Tutsi women in a tiny concealed bathroom in his home.

For the duration of the holocaust, hunted by Hutu killers, Immaculee shared meager table scraps, prayed her rosary, read her Bible, kept a holy silence, and fortified her spirit. She and her sister prisoners were about to be betrayed by a houseboy when the pastor, who also survives (Hutus killed 1 million Tutsis, and moderate Hutus, in three months), made a bold move to transfer his captives to their French liberators.

Published in 2006, Immaculee’s story is vivid testimony to the power of faith. Her words to the man who killed her family, but couldn’t extinguish her God or her dreams, were, “I forgive you.”

Violence is man’s injustice against man. Genocide is mass-hysteria violence. The cure for violence is a change of mind and heart. It is found in God’s love for all human life and in our forgiveness and joy in living.

Modern-day holocausts rage in systematized abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Justified in the name of compassion, abortion conveniently kills a targeted segment of our population. Promoted in the name of humanitarianism, embryonic stem cell research creates and enslaves nascent life with the sole intent to experiment with it and casually destroy it. Children these days are holocaust survivors.

Who tells the story of God’s mercy for good people gone mad in today’s holocaust? Norma McCorvey speaks in two books about the industry that appalls her and her own conversion rooted in God’s love. Locked for 20 years in her identity as Jane Roe, McCorvey now runs her own pro-life ministry.

Her 1973 Supreme Court case legalized abortion in all 50 states. Ironically, Jane Roe never had an abortion. She gave birth to the child in question and to two more. In 1995, McCorvey became a pro-life Christian. In 1998, she became Catholic.

Fifty-one percent of Americans now are pro-life. Let’s keep faith in God’s mercy, and hope that His love will reform minds and hearts and move them to bring the genocide of innocents to a peaceful end.