Our current forms of child sacrifice

Here, in this post (from an email newsletter a while back I think), Gil Bailie does an excellent job of pointing out how child sacrifice is alive and well in the West.

It shows up in two ways, both largely imperceptible. One is hard to see because it’s mostly invisible (abortion), the other, because it’s so slow (massive debt and servitude).

As Christianity [according to Rene Girard] has progressively crippled the elaborate moral ruses we use to camouflage the vestiges of the scapegoating system on which cultures continue to depend, we have sought out victims whose suffering is less morally troubling and/or less visible to us.The sexual revolution, for instance, demanded that sexuality be unrestrained by moral scruples and that it have no serious consequences. The hidden victims that made that regime possible were the unborn children, whose elimination was required if the regime was to be sustained.

What I would like to propose today is a corollary: The profligate and irresponsible “way of life” that we and our political representatives have just insisted on perpetuating in the so-called “fiscal cliff” debacle, has hidden victims: namely, our children and grandchildren, who will inherit, not only a crippling debt that they had no part in amassing, but a culture in moral and material ruin thanks to the irresponsibility and selfishness of their predecessors. We are reverting, along with the sexual revolutionaries, to child sacrifice, albeit in the present instance at least a less ghastly and less bloody form of it. Nevertheless it is shameful. We may be beyond the point at which we can fulfill the responsibility that was ours – to pass on to our children’s children the cultural blessings that were handed to us on a silver platter – but we should at least do what we can to lessen the weight of the burden that will fall on their shoulders.

It is true that our descendants may well rediscover a more robust form of Christian faith than an affluent society tends to foster. We can pray for that, but that possibility does nothing to relieve us of the responsibility we are currently woefully neglecting.

For the most part, the bulk of this child sacrifice is being initiated and sustained by selfish men. Yes, the woman may be complicit in her “choice” to eliminate her child, but this is nearly always done under the duress of men, be they boyfriends or fathers, or the ghosts of fathers. This is true of the second sort of “slow” sacrifice of our grandchildren. This comes about by ambitious men living for the moment and investing every cent in themselves. They have no inheritance to give and in fact it’s often an anti-inheritance, passing only debt and trouble on to their kin after death. Women have gotten in on the act too when, under the guise of equality or feminism, they try to emulate the nasty behaviors of men and steal from the same pot.

Just like the exposing of infants in the age of Rome, or screaming fires in the days of Molech, these abuses must be put to an end as well. They have hidden themselves so we will be less likely to stamp them out. I’m with Stanley Hauerwas when he said in an interview last year:

I say in a hundred years, if Christians are known as a strange group of people who don’t kill their children and don’t kill the elderly, we will have done a great thing.