Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 64(4) November 2014
The Martyrs of Iraq.
The shocking genocide of Christians, Yazudis and many more in Iraq and Syria this year has shown a disregard for human life which is completely incompatible with Christian teaching or indeed civilisation itself. The world was utterly shocked at the beheading (by a British man) of James Foley, a devout Catholic journalist who had been taken hostage in Syria. In addition to that, and massively less well reported were the crucifixions, executions and mass murder of many Christians who refused to convert to Islam. We should note here that martyrdom is something that we should not seek. Martyrs accept death for their faith and, as with St Thomas More, should do everything they can to avoid it. Martyrs neither seek death, nor do they take the innocent lives of others in the process, as do the suicide bombers. Unlike those who kill, the Christians in Iraq are therefore true martyrs. But many are (rightly) concerned, that the genocide of Christians and their displacement in hundreds of thousands, has been grossly unreported by the Western media. The BBC hardly mentioned it.
Philip Hammond, the UK defence secretary described the British (Liverpudlian) killers of James Foley as being contrary to everything that Britain stands for . We certainly all believe that it is wrong to kill and that faith is to be spread by persuasion and not by force or threat of death.
And yet in the same week, Richard Dawkins [2} stated that is morally wrong not to abort an unborn Down’s child because of the suffering that that child would cause to its parents if it was allowed to survive. How bizarre that that statement is tolerated. Its implication is that life may be ended and that life should be ended if it is troublesome to the person concerned or even to others known to that person. Richard Dawkins is looking remarkably like a fundamentalist atheist. In the sick logic of fundamentalist Islam, having claimed that killing Christians, Yazudis, or other non Muslims is acceptable (as they are going to hell anyway), we all now know that that willingness to kill stretches across to fellow Muslims as well, if they are of the wrong sect. The many Kurdish and other Iraqi doctors who I am privileged to know, (some of whom have previously fled for their lives to the mountains) all know that this killing is wrong. But in the bizarre logic of Dawkins’ atheism, allowing life becomes immoral.
We discuss elsewhere in this issue the rejection and medical mis-selling of Down’s syndrome . Could it be that the underreporting (maybe even censorship) of the great contributions made by people with Down’s syndrome to society is in some-way analogous to the underreporting of atrocities against Christians in the Middle East? Are unpopular truths reported less well?
Pope Francis has said that he fears a “piecemeal" World War III may have already begun with the current spate of crimes, massacres and destruction. And yet we need a clear ideology to oppose the killing. As we look for that clear ideology with which to fight the appaling killing of hostages, we struggle to see how a Western secularism which tolerates the killing of innocent children and frail old people, can really, effectively, provide a clear answer to the evils we see so clearly in the Middle East.
Allowing someone to live can never be immoral. Seeing no value in the life of another must always be opposed. Denying the worth and value of other human beings is intrinsically evil. Christianity has an urgent message for all mankind. Allowing someone to live can never be immoral. Seeing no value in the life of another must always be opposed. Denying the worth and value of other human beings is intrinsically evil. Christianity has an urgent message for all mankind
The Martyrs of Iraq show us a way forward. Their lives were just as valued as the lives of any other one of us. Christianity proclaims the value of every human person in every stage and every state of life. None may be taken away. Allowing someone to live can never be immoral. Seeing no value in the life of another must always be opposed. Denying the worth and value of other human beings is intrinsically evil. Christianity has an urgent message for all mankind.
Let us pray that in our workplaces we can attest to the value of every one whom we treat and with whom we work. Pray that we can share a little good news about Down’s syndrome and other disabilities, so that people will reframe their views. May we help the great worth of each and every person to be seen, like a light shining in the darkness. By affirming the worth of the most vulnerable human lives, we also affirm the worth of every human life. And pray that with our help God will protect the innocent. After all, His salvation is offered to all.
- Richard Dawkins, Immoral_not_to_abort_unborn_children_with_Down’s_Syndrome https://www.spuc.org.uk/news/summaries/2014/august/Immoral_not_to_abort_unborn_children_with_Down’s_Syndrome_says_Richard_Dawkins
- Mis-selling of Down’s
- Pope Francis warns on 'piecemeal World War III' http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-29190890