Recently my daughter Emory, a freshman nursing student at Purdue University, traveled through the night with friends to attend an event in Washington D.C. Upon her return, after I listened to her describe her experience over the phone in the tears and raw emotion of uncalloused youth, I asked her to put her thoughts into writing. They follow below.
The agonizing cries, which can only proceed from the most tortured of human souls, pierced the silence of my imagination. I could almost smell the reek of unwashed, decaying, and burning human flesh. Haunted figures and hollowed eyes presented themselves before me wherever I turned. There was no escape from the overwhelming sense that I was experiencing no small taste of hell.
Such were the thoughts and emotions which flooded over me as I walked through the National Holocaust Museum in our nation’s capital. After being confronted with the acute depravity of mankind, museum visitors are quoted saying, “This can never be allowed to happen in any form again.” We leave appalled, but comforted with the fact that we would never participate in such horrific evil. We think that our nation is so much more advanced and we have come so far as a society.
Yet, as we stand before our God as a nation, we do not have the blood of over 5 million but that of 10 times 5 million human beings dripping from our guilty hands. Why is it that we cringe in horror at the genetic cleansing Hitler instigated against those with Down’s Syndrome or any genetic abnormality, and yet not recognize the same desire in our nation when it comes to abortion? In a 2006 poll, 70% of Americans said they believed women should have a legal right to abort their baby if there was a strong likelihood the child would be born with a serious defect. What is the difference? The size of the human beings whose existence we believe we have the right to dictate?
One exhibit, which brought tears to my eyes, was the one that featured the hellish experiments the Nazis performed on human subjects. The utter disregard for human life was numbing. Yet, are we not doing that very thing when we fertilize eggs (human life has begun) and then proceed to freeze and experiment on the little lives that have been created? Again, I ask, what is the difference? The fact that they have not been born yet or that they are small gives us no warrant to defile the life they have. Rather, we should pause before even presuming to violate that most safe and sacred of places – the mother’s womb.
They are unwanted. They have defects. They are considered less than human. For these reasons, Americans deem it good, deem it wise to annihilate them as Hitler did so few years ago. We have killed them and they are dead – brothers, sisters, friends, moms, dads – destined to never see the light of day because of the laws of our oh-so-advanced nation. The American Holocaust has claimed more lives than the Jewish Holocaust ever did. Holocaust survivor Primo Levi acknowledges, “It happened. Therefore, it can happen again. And it can happen everywhere.” Yes, it can. And it is.
The question the Holocaust Museum asks of its visitors is, “What is your responsibility now that you have seen, now that you know?” I have a reply to that question: be saved from the same sin that abided in Hitler’s heart which also resides in yours. There is no answer to the intense reality of man’s depravity than the freedom from such sin in the saving and forgiving work of Jesus Christ. We must fall on our knees as a nation and plead His forgiveness and grace. Then, we must get off our knees and fight – fight for those too weak, too helpless to fight for themselves!
The day previous to my visit to the Holocaust Museum, I participated in the National March for Life. Standing there with 500,000 fellow advocates for the unborn encouraged me to never lay down my arms until I can say with the Apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course.” “Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up Your hand. Do not forget the afflicted” (Psalm 10:12).