We are not sure of the exact date but in about 1BC a chap called Hilarion wrote a letter home to his wife Alis. Hilarion had left his wife and gone to Alexandria to find work, a sort of pre Christian “auf wiedersehen pet”! It appears that some of the guys that had travelled with Hilarion had already returned and had been spreading some gossip that upset Alis, who was pregnant; we don’t know whether Hilarion had been a naughty boy but he writes this letter to put her mind at rest.
First he explains that he has only stayed on to earn more money for the family, he assures her of his fidelity and then before his final declaration of love he comments on the impending birth of their child. “If it is a boy let it be, if it is a girl throw it out.” The instruction, sandwiched as it is between two declarations of love, is really shocking. To our modern sensibilities Hilarion is disgusting, probably evil. Yet in those days infanticide was common. One of the reasons it became so unacceptable was the spread of Christianity.
Men and women who believed that all people are made in the image of God could not condone the wilful destruction of that image made human.
So why am I reflecting on a scrap of a letter preserved preserved for over two thousand years? One of our national newspapers recently published a report of private clinics agreeing to perform an abortion purely on the grounds of the unborn child’s gender!
I am not going to make the case for why abortion is legalised murder we can have that debate another time. Abortions justified by gender are totally illegal they can only take place because the doctors are willing to stretch legal definitions. Since the abortion act was passed we have seen the gradual extension of what is considered a legitimate reason to murder a child. We should all be worried about this because the gradual erosion of societies morals diminishes each of us.
For most of us, probably all the readers of Strive’s blogs, this is an issue that we will never get involved in; it’s an issue for a different culture. Remember two things first every child, regardless of it’s parentage, is made in God’s image and is our sister or brother. Secondly what happens when those in power allow a law that does effect us? When economic worth is used to allocate health treatment? When euthanasia is legalised? When Christianity is set beyond the law?
The German pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was executed by the Nazis is reputed to have said:
“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”
Will we speak out for the unborn children?