Thursday, January 22

American Hammas

Four thousand children were systematically killed yesterday. Four thousand children were killed the day before. And four thousand the day before that. And so it has gone every day in America for the last thirty-one years. Day after day after day. For thirty-one years. Costing some thirty-eight million lives!

It was thirty-one years ago today that the Supreme Court of the United States unleashed the forces that have wrought this horrific genocide--a slaughter that has now dwarfed the Nazi Holocaust or the Stalinist Purges. Roe v. Wade was perhaps its most divisive and controversial decision since Dred Scott. The court overturned the infanticide and homicide laws in abortion cases in all fifty states by legalizing abortion procedures from the moment of conception until just before the moment of birth.

Delivered on January 22, 1973 the decision sent shock waves throughout the nation--the effects of which are still felt. In a remarkably argued majority opinion, Associate Justice Blackmun introduced several creative constitutional innovations--including a heretofore unrecognized “right to privacy.” Like the Dred Scott decision before it, this case actually only exacerbated the debate the court set out to resolve. It has cost the world's richest and most powerful nation the moral high ground from which to exercise that wealth and strength. And worse, it has cost the lives of those millions upon millions of children.

The Minor Prophets of the Old Testament used a peculiar word to describe heedless, needless violence against the innocent--violence excused for the flimsiest of personal or economic reasons. It is the Hebrew word hammas. It describes a mad, cruel, and senseless sort of brutality; it is the violence of a drive by shooting; it is the violence of a car jacking; it is the violence of child abuse; it is the violence of a suicide bombing; it is the violence of abortion; it is the violence that warrants the wrath of God.

Despite the fact that for most Americans this nefarious anniversary of unflinching hammas is of little or no consequence, it is the sort of milestone upon which the woes of the prophets are built. And that should give us all pause.

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