A friend challenged me along these lines this week. What does it mean when the Republican party calls itself pro-life, yea, even has a pro-life plank in its platform, while running a candidate who says that, as commander in chief, he would consider giving troops a direct order to kill the families of terrorists?
Here is where a challenge can be issued specifically to Christians. Those who are not Christian believers, read if you like, but be aware this is not directed to you.
My friend’s first cut on this was that a terrorist’s kid stands more of a chance than your usual run-of-the-mill kid of growing up to be another terrorist. So . . . if you have to choose between, say, abortion of a random baby or targeted killing of a terrorist’s child, she thought maybe you should go for the terrorist’s child.
Only . . . God forbade that, even in the latter part of the Old Testament. He said the sins of the fathers would no longer be visited on the children. That each man or woman would bear responsibility only for his/her own personal sin. So . . . there is that. We can’t justify doing what God has forbidden us to do.
There is also a theological flaw running straight through this entire issue–we are missing the idea of total depravity being inborn to us all. Is a child in utero a sinner? Yes, for God said through King David “in sin did my mother conceive me.” That doesn’t mean that marital sex is sin. It means we are all born with the stain of original sin. We have it from conception onward because we are humans.
Babies are adorable and we long to protect them. That is good and right. But it does not mean that they are not born as sinners. They are. We are self-centered from the moment we emerge from the womb. We may even be that way in utero.
If we make the pro-life argument out of a belief that a child is born sinless until he commits an actual sinful act . . . we miss a huge part of our theology related to why we, as a human race, needed a redeemer.
Don’t you think that miscarried babies will sing of God’s grace in heaven someday, if they are not already doing so? Why is that? Because they, too, will be forgiven for the original sin they bore as humans, even humans who were never born.
Yes, His grace is amazing. Let’s not diminish it by a mistaken belief that children in utero or newborns are innocent and lack a sin nature.
So, in summary, we cannot preemptively kill a terrorist’s child in the belief that he might someday be a terrorist. God can gloriously save him. And we cannot kill a child in utero without having blood on our hands either. Both are equally bad. Both are murder.