Monday, January 20, 2014

The Opposite of Sanctity

Some brief thoughts.

I sat in during a convicting and disturbing seminar from Saving Innocence, an organization that works with local law enforcement and social services to rescue and restore victims of sex trafficking. Their stats and stories were quite difficult to process. The speaker concluded with a curious charge to the audience of charity and ministry leaders: beware the spread of dehumanization in our culture.

Dehumanization isn’t a word I had heard very often at that point, but something occurred to me. Defined as “the deprivation of human qualities,” dehumanization is a recurrent thread in most of the “sin” issues making the global news. Sexual and all forms of abuse, murder and rape are all forms of dehumanization, when human life is treated without any of the respect and sacredness God gave it. And if we were to take into account Jesus’s words on anger and lust (Matt. 5:21-30), we realize there are even more ways where dehumanization takes place internally and takes root: pornography, racism and social/economic bigotry. The list goes on.

Yesterday was Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, an annual day that Christians in America set aside to dwell on just that, ever since Roe v. Wade (1973), disallowing many state and federal restrictions on abortion (another example of dehumanization). Today, of course, is the day we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for his work against a culture of dehumanization. Perhaps a good way to think about sanctity and communicate the idea of sanctity is to notice what sanctity is not.  

As followers of the selfless and sacrificial Jesus Christ, Son of the loving Creator God, we should see human life as very sacred, and should speak out and work against its desacralization, like we always have. The early Church spoke against the Coliseum’s games. Abolitionists spoke and worked against slavery in the South. Dietrich Bonhoeffer helped German Jews escape to Switzerland during the Nazi regime. There are more examples. We’re to be selfless and gracious like the cloud of witnesses, speaking Truth and working for the care of all of God’s children.

After all, isn’t opposition to dehumanization something we can all gather around?

Below is the video we showed at my church yesterday.