On Sunday, December 4, 2011, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran an op/ed piece by Mike Nichols. The central character of the piece is Andrew Gerbitz, a relative of our Christian Life Resources board member, Pastor em. Joel Gerlach.
The article, of course, catches attention because of the personal connection. Anytime we see a friend or family member in the newspaper we tend to read the article. The focus of the article, however, is how children in the womb diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome are aborted at a rate approaching 90%. In society’s subjective attitude about valuable lives these lives are lost and we are all the poorer for it.
I wrote on this topic when Sarah Palin was center stage as a vice presidential candidate whose youngest child was born with Down’s Syndrome. You can read that story from the Christian Life Resources website as it was printed in Clearly Caring, the official magazine of Christian Life Resources.
George Will, the proud parent of a child with Down’s Syndrome, called this practice, “Eugenics by Abortion.” It reflects a pervasive attitude infecting the psyche of the American population. It is eugenics sanitized to be a palatable for a society that refuses to learn from its past experience with eugenics and its ghastly manifestation during the Nazi regime.
Without a doubt life holds varying qualities for everyone. Sometimes there are dramatic intellectual differences and sometimes there are dramatic physical differences. We’ve become comfortable with our concepts of a “normal” or “quality” life without measuring its accuracy. When asked how receptive her “normal” children would be to Trig, their new Down’s Syndrome sibling, Sarah Palin responded, “Maybe Trig is the normal one.”
While the world measures quality by appearance, pleasure, and plenty, God measures it by faith and the resulting allegiance to Him in the worst as well as the best of times. Children with Down’s Syndrome often exhibit a faith far closer to the Biblical ideal than many of us who are “normal” by the world’s standards. Those with Down’s Syndrome trust God and they trust others. It is shame that for nearly 90% of them that trust is betrayed through decisions made their own families within a society comfortable with letting happen.