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Holocaust Remembrance

January 27, 2019

If you’re on Facebook, you probably know that today (1/27/19) is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Auschwitz was liberated on January 27, 1945.

On our first trip to Europe, with our mentor (and the founding Executive Director of Open Door Libraries), Willard Black, Debbie and I toured Auschwitz. I will not forget this experience. Ever.

The gallows where a dozen or so inmates were hanged every day. The labs where experiments too bizarre and inhumane to imagine were constantly conducted. The mounds of shoes. The mountains of prosthetics. The gas chambers. The ovens. It was overwhelming.

On our first trip to Berlin, having had the Auschwitz experience a few years previous, we went to the Holocaust Memorial on a walking tour. It was equally profound, though in a different way. We’ve been back to the memorial 3 or 4 times, the last time with friends from Las Vegas. Every time, I get the same feelings. Always profound. Always deep and reverent. Always sorrowful. If you ever get to go, make sure you set aside time to spend there in reflection. A photo can’t do it justice.

Six million Jews were murdered. This number doesn’t count the Gypsies and the mentally ill and handicapped who were exterminated by the Nazis. Men, women, boys and girls. Talented and ordinary. Rich and poor. Educated (many highly educated) and uneducated.

So why would I want to make sure the world looks back on such a horrible moment in history? And why would I write about it in a blog that’s supposed to be about relationships and families and stuff like that?

Well, a couple of reasons. First of all, the old saying is true: those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Forgetting history is tantamount to refusing to learn from it. In both cases, it will result in repeating it. None of us could want that.

As for me writing about it in HomeworK, it’s about the value of every life, and making sure we connect the dots of history between Nazi Germany’s death camps and us. If a life – any life – is disposable, then all lives are. It’s a lesson parents must teach their children. It’s a value that every healthy relationship must model.

It seems to me ironic (at least interesting) that the New York House and Senate joined their Governor to write a law for the legal abortion of babies up to birth, just days before we remember the Holocaust. If you read into this that I am an anti-abortionist, and disgusted with this legislation, you’re right. Because I believe human life is sacred. Born or unborn.

I do not wish to open a debate about when life begins, or a political argument of any sort. But if these last few days haven’t provoked some serious discussion, beyond memes and comments on social media, of the sacredness of life, well, it would be shameful. Even if one doesn’t believe the Bible is a valid source of truth and morality, some kind of serious philosophical thought has to push a button in the conscience. Doesn’t it?

Apparently not.

This troubles me.

Forgive me for my candor, but I don’t think I can change the frightening trends I see in the world, this disregard of the sacred nature of life. I don’t have that kind of power. It’s frankly discouraging. I’m under no illusion that things will get much better on their own, either. I’m afraid I’m a pessimist about this.

There is something I can do, though. You could do this, too. It doesn’t involve writing legislation or carrying picket signs (although if God calls you to that, write the legislation and carry the picket sign). It is quite a bit less dramatic, but I think it could be as effective.

What if we acted like every person is valid, and their life is sacred? I mean down here on the runway of our lives where we have bills to pay and deadlines to meet and cars that don’t start and… I mean with the people you live with, work with, go to school with. What if we listened and talked and acted toward them as if we believed they were valid, even precious? Especially when they disagree with my point of view. Especially when they don’t treat me with care and value. What kind of different would that make?

For followers of Jesus Christ, this carries a special weight. Living this way, treating people in this way is essentially how we obey His command, “Love one another as I have loved you.” I wonder if there’s a way to be more pro-life?

From → Marriage

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