The Ancient War Against Children

Since the beginning of time, children have been under attack. The human heart is desperately wicked, and, for reasons that I’ll never fully understand, children are often the undeserving victims of that wickedness. The tragic story of world history contains reprehensible acts of child sacrifice, sexual exploitation, holocausts, neglect, and abuse. Countless victims have been eliminated or deeply wounded before they ever had a fighting chance.

We like to tell ourselves we live in an enlightened age. We’re proud of the fact that we’ve left barbarism and brutality behind. Undoubtedly, there’s been progress in many areas. In our own nation, for example, we rightly celebrate the progress of eliminating slavery and securing equal rights for all races and all citizens.

But hatred and violence toward children persists, even if we’ve learned to sanitize it with medical terminology. We don’t call it “child sacrifice,” and we don’t do it out in the open on an altar to a god. But what other label better fits the practice of abortion? When pregnancies are terminated, children are being sacrificed on an altar to an unnamed god that goes by several monikers: freedom, convenience, rights. These beautiful image-of-God-bearers deserve their fate, we reason, for no other reason than being unwanted. They have committed the unspeakable crime of merely existing inside the unwelcomed birth chamber of their mothers. They’ve gotten in the way of good ol’ American hopes and dreams. We haven’t advanced as far as we like to imagine.

And now we celebrate children “transitioning” from their biological sex. For some strange reason and beyond all scientific reasoning, citizens in this country believe that children should be allowed to make life-altering and body-mutilating decisions before they even reach the legal age to vote. What name best fits this practice? What should we label the celebration of sexual mutilation on impressionable minors who have not yet developed the cognitive functions and moral reasoning historically required for momentous decisions? It’s perverse and evil. Any culture that celebrates it can no longer claim “enlightenment.” This is a dark age.

Recently, a transgender state representative in Minnesota introduced legislation that would remove language from the state’s Human Rights Act specifying that pedophiles are not protected under its “sexual orientation” clauses. Regardless of motive, any softening of pedophilia laws must be met with suspicion in a society that already sexualizes minors. Legalized pedophilia may seem far-fetched, but just ten years ago, legalized sexual mutilation of minors was, too.

Amid all the moral chaos that celebrates evil, we also have its opposite: the condemning of good. The two typically go together: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). The New Yorker recently published an article attempting to take down the practice of interracial adoption. The basic premise of the piece is that cross-racial adoption is traumatic for the adopted child and should be discouraged. According to the author, such adopted children are somehow victimized by their adoptive parents merely for adopting them. But here’s my question: What’s the alternative?

These children were already victims. For whatever reason or series of reasons, they were born into devastating situations. In the author’s worldview, the most important thing about a person is their racial identity—more valuable than having a loving family and a system of support and protection. I reject that premise. Adoptive parents are necessary in a world that already hates children. When children need a family, it shouldn’t matter that the one stepping up to offer it doesn’t share their race. We should be celebrating interracial adoption as progress in a world that used to segregate races, but we like to call good “evil” around here.

Moral confusion around adoption doesn’t respect partisan divides. Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene recently called non-biological parents “fake mom and fake dad.” This belittling of those who sacrifice to care for children is also unwarranted and disgusting. Greene’s comment proves that moral confusion isn’t partisan. It’s driven by the deep, universal depravity of the human heart.

The world’s hatred of children defies logic because its origins are otherworldly. From the very beginning, the serpent has sought to destroy the woman’s offspring (Genesis 3:15). That demonic spirit has manifested itself in child-destroying governments as far back as ancient Egypt (Exodus 1:16) and Israel (Matthew 2:17). It will continue to show up in political ideologies that supposedly champion “freedom,” cowardly terrorists who choose schools full of children to shoot up, and middle-aged perverts who trade in exploitative sexual images of minors.

But it also manifests itself more subtly in the normal citizen’s annoyance at the crying baby on the airplane and the “you know how that happens” jokes in the church fellowship hall. We need to do better.

Children will win in the end. Jesus invites the children to come to him (Matthew 19:14), and he tells the rest of us to look to the child for cues on how to live in his kingdom (Matthew 18:3). When he comes to judge, you won’t want to be among the ones who harmed them. It would be better to have a millstone tied around your neck and thrown into the bottom of the sea.

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