The Lodz Ghetto was emptied in 1944… Some 74,000 Jewish residents were sent on the last train to Auschwitz, leaving only 877 survivors in 1945 out of the original 245,000 Jews originally residing in that ghetto. I can hardly imagine what that section of town must have looked like when it was emptied, or what it must have felt like to see it. The citizens of Lodz who observed, and maybe even abetted, the regime that abused the Jews were left behind to consider what they had done and what their government had done. Perhaps, by the end of the war, there were more citizens who sympathized with the Jews than hated them… But by the time Lodz was cleared out, sympathy could do very little. The empty ghetto served only as a reminder of death, loss, hopelessness, and the depravity of the human race. Why did such an atrocity take place? Some call it greed, selfishness, or pride, but all of these things would not necessarily lead to thousands, hundreds of thousands, and millions, to be murdered. More than any one core vice, there was a superseding ideal or “justification” in the minds of the complicit; a dehumanization of the victims. The Nazis referred to “Jews as Untermenschen, or subhumans.”1 To some within Germany, Nazi-occupied Europe, and even America, Jews were seen as a nuisance, a burden, and some even viewed them as animals to be eradicated.
Today, we look upon the Holocaust as a terrifying example of the cruelty of man and the ability of the human mind and heart to become callous to mercy, love, and decency. No one is above such atrocities, but it is not as though such atrocities happen every day… Or, at least, we hope not. But if an individual, people group, or individuals in a certain period of development are dehumanized, it becomes that much easier to “justify” atrocities committed upon that people group and other people groups. We see it almost daily where some military power has brutally killed citizens or military personnel affiliated with their enemy. Sometimes, pictures are released of these atrocities with the victor posing triumphantly over their “kill;” just like the Nazis, those people dehumanized the ones they call their enemy.
War, in any form, is never pretty. Sometimes, to avoid the inner, psychological conflict, those involved in war or military actions suppress the truth that they fight against human beings who have hopes and dreams of their own. I am not saying that no one should ever fight or enter into battle. War is often a necessary thing in a sinful world full of lost, broken, and misled people, but there must be respect for human life, as well as for the end of a human life… Someone who commits murder cannot simply say, “I did not think they were human,” and suddenly be justified for their actions in the minds of civilized individuals.
In general, our culture seems to have lost respect for human life. Life, and the way a life is lived, is not held as sacred, hallowed, or set apart. Instead, life is a party, a series of treasures that must be found, or simply a selfish pursuit of pleasure and success. Life was once seen as a gift to be grateful for and treasured, but is now seen as a license to abuse others for the sake of personal gain. Regardless of the mentality of the general populace, life truly is a gift; no matter how small, seemingly insignificant, different, broken, or painful. So, having established that life is a gift, being angry with another human being or hating another human being is a strike against life. In Matthew 5, Jesus equated being angry with a brother to be the same as murder. 1 John 3, verse 15, equates hating another individual with murder. Though anger and hatred don’t actually carry out murder, they act as incentives to death. And I will take that a step further and say that hatred and anger go hand in hand with dehumanization. God made man, and He made all of them equally, with the same inherent genes, so to say that one is less human than another is like wishing that they were dead; that God had not made them. We all enter into the world in a most vulnerable and precious way. Though the entrance of new life causes pain to another individual, it also causes unspeakable joy that can be multiplied as the years pass. All of those within the womb and recently brought forth from the womb are seen as inherently equal, but we somehow forget that equality as life goes on.
More than hatred and more than anger, dehumanization serves as a “gateway drug” to the destruction and abuse of whole groups of people. Though psychologists, doctors, or scientists claim that someone with the genetic code of a human being is less human, that does not make them right. “Scientists” have stated that blacks are less human, or subhuman, but they are wrong.2 Nazis believed that the Jews were subhuman and only fit for annihilation, but that did not make them right. Some people believe that unborn human beings are subhuman and worth sacrificing, being torn apart, and stripped of all their rights, but they are wrong.
As for me, I know life when I see it. Even those who wish evil upon me have a beating heart and a living soul that is in desperate need of God’s grace; just as my heart is in need of God’s grace. When put to the test, I will defend myself and those that I love, but I would not destroy innocent human lives just to have my way. The Nazis are only one example of those who dehumanized people groups and destroyed them for their own selfish purposes. Along with Nazis, I could list others who dehumanized and destroyed other human beings; some slave owners from America’s past and modern day slave owners; the past governments of Armenia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur; and the Americas when they were first discovered. The governments that I listed dehumanized people within their countries and murdered thousands; this act has been termed as genocide. In a site titled Genocide Watch, there are eight stages listed that lead to genocide:
The first is Classification, or putting people into groups of “us and them:” German and Jew, Hutu and Tutsi, Sunni and Shiite, born and unborn. The second is Symbolization, where names or symbols are given to label people groups: “Jews,” “Gypsies,” the Star of David, darkies, crackers, “fetuses.”4 The third stage is Dehumanization, equating the group with vermin, insects, a disease, or a parasite. The fourth stage is Organization, usually by the state, but public militias or groups are used to provide deniability of state responsibility: the Janjaweed in Darfur, Hindu mobs, terrorist groups, and clinics. The fifth stage is Polarization, where the groups are further split by extremists and laws that encourage further polarization. The sixth stage is Preparation, where victims are identified and separated because of whatever characteristic or ethnicity that sets them apart. The seventh stage is Extermination, which would normally be termed murder or genocide, but is termed as “extermination” by the killers because they do not believe their victims to be fully human. Finally, the eighth stage is Denial, where the perpetrators of the genocide seek to cover up their atrocities and threaten anyone who witnessed those atrocities and/or seeks to expose the truth.3
Listing instances of genocide, as well as the eight stages of genocide, reveals the worst and most grievous genocide known to man; abortion. If abortion were seen for what it is, destruction of human lives, then there would be a lot fewer people in support of it. Of course, there will still be those who stand up to justify murder (hence, the eighth stage of genocide); just as people still justify the Holocaust, or deny it happened; just as people justify slavery; and just as people label human beings as being subhuman due to the color of their skin or the physical/mental characteristics they are born with. But I pray that the majority of America, especially the majority of those who claim to follow Christ, would not be linked to the people who dehumanize for matters of convenience and pride.
Daily, we fight a war against terror, against those who would threaten the innocent and the very livelihoods that we lead, but what war do abortion providers fight? Who are their enemies? Their enemy is a little soul that no human has been yet blessed to see, hear, or touch; the truly innocent. Why would any government support or stand for such an atrocity as innocents being torn apart and burned or thrown away, without even ceremony to commemorate their deaths? Little arms, little legs, little hearts, little brains… all up for sale to the highest bidder or thrown away as refuse; is one option really worse than another? They are both terrible and show, yet again, the depravity of the human race. No free government would justify the dehumanization of a people group or the brutal death and destruction of that people group… Are we free? I could say that I am free, but when one people group in my nation is dehumanized, what is to stop this government from dehumanizing an individual based on their skin color, age, religious affiliation, IQ, or job title? The thoughts stirred by that question are not pleasant, yet I stand unafraid, knowing that I have an advocate in my Heavenly Father. Though I am destroyed, my soul lives on, and the one who destroyed me will suffer the consequences for my shed blood… Just as abortion providers and those complicit to their actions will suffer the consequences for their brutal sins.
I, for one, am not complicit.
It is time that we, as free and civilized citizens, unanimously stand for life.
Fiat Justitia, Ruat Caelum… Let justice be done, though the heavens fall.
- “‘Less Than Human’: The Psychology Of Cruelty”
- “Fury at DNA pioneer’s theory”
- “The 8 Stages of Genocide”
- “The Language of Dehumanization”
- If you want to cry, read this.