Why is Syrian genocide intolerable while U.S. infanticide is protected?
By Dr. Robert Jeffress
Published in the Dallas Morning News
September 8, 2013
The attempt by President Barack Obama and progressives like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to stir up our outrage against Syrian President Bashar Assad for gassing several hundred Syrian children would be more effective if the president and his supporters demonstrated the same compassion for the lives of more than a million children in our country whose lives were ended through abortions last year.
Why is genocide in Syria intolerable while infanticide in our country is not only permissible but considered a constitutional right? By what moral authority do we deny the leader of another nation his “freedom of choice” to exterminate his own people, yet empower our own citizenry to kill their children and even provide hundreds of millions of tax dollars to Planned Parenthood to carry out the executions?
I can hear the liberal howl across North Texas as I type these words. “There is no moral equivalency between Assad’s heinous acts against his own people and the personal, painful choice of a mother to terminate a pregnancy.” But, alas, there is.
Nancy Pelosi recently related to journalists a conversation she had with her 5-year-old grandson about the reason for going to war against Assad. “They have killed hundreds of children,” the former speaker of the House told her grandson. “Were these children in America?” the little boy inquired. “No, but they’re children wherever they are,” Pelosi responded. Exactly.
Both the Assad atrocities and abortion represent attacks against the most vulnerable members of society: children. We are understandably horrified by the pictures of endless rows of Syrian children’s corpses. But if we laid side by side the remains of the millions of children who have been aborted in the last 40 years — many during the second and third trimesters with discernible features — I imagine there would be an even greater outcry from the American people.
Yet, the president is unapologetically the staunchest defender of abortion of any American president in history, priding himself during his first run for the Oval Office on his 100 percent pro-choice rating with Planned Parenthood. While an Illinois senator, Obama voted against restricting partial birth abortions — a particularly barbaric act that involves the crushing of a partially born infant’s head and removal of its brain matter through a suction device. Pelosi claimed to reporters that Assad’s actions were “outside of the circle of civilized behavior.” How could anyone believe that the murder of a child inside his mother’s womb would not also fall outside that circle?
Many progressives would counter that while they are not “pro-abortion,” they see “choice” as a fundamental human right. But why are they not willing to extend that same freedom of choice to Assad to exterminate the children of his nation? It is true that the Geneva Conventions prohibit the use of chemical weapons, but since Assad obviously does not believe in the Geneva Conventions, on what basis should he expected to follow a moral code to which he does not subscribe?
Assad’s actions are undoubtedly reprehensible. However, to make a convincing moral argument against genocide, abortion or any other injustice one must appeal to a moral code that transcends time and culture. And such a universal moral code can only come from God. As Yale law professor Arthur Leff asked, “Who among us ought to be able to declare ‘law’ that ought to be obeyed? Either God exists or He does not, but if He does not, nothing and no one can take His place.”
Every American should be praying for Obama’s success in making and executing the right decision regarding our involvement in Syria. However, as our nation grapples with what to do about the genocide in Syria, as well as the escalating and well-publicized acts of violence in our own country, perhaps it is time that we abandon the moral relativism that has infected our culture and reclaim God’s absolute and unchanging moral law that includes the words “Thou shalt not kill.” For, as Dostoyevsky observed, without God “everything is permitted.”
Dr. Robert Jeffress is pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas and an adjunct professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. Readers may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org