Herod’s Slaughter of the Innocents is one of the few ways a man can get close to proving the existence of sin by mere example. The story has haunted me since I was a child.
And it haunts me now because it still goes on, in abortion clinics across the world, at a morbid, clinical pace of 4000 innocents a day. When Herod sent his soliders out to kill every boy under the age of two in Bethlehem and its surrounding area, he unwittingly spat out a blackened prophecy for our times.
Herod’s massacre was an attempt to kill the Christ-child. He could not bear the possibility that his own power be infringed – that he would ever have to stoop before another King, and a greater King at that. He was possessed by a prideful sovereignty; a panic over losing his kingly position. He was – by all available standards – a control-freak.
If we Catholics can say nothing else of the Culture of Death, may we not say she is the most rotten of control-freaks? Contraception and sterilization destroy fertility for control. Euthanasia allows us not to worry about treating or healing, and gives us ultimate control over our elderly. The overuse of the death penalty allows us to ignore justice and mercy in favor of easy control. Even the language – birth control, population control, safe sex – all of it demands control. Control of our situation at any cost. And where is this more apparent than in the act of abortion?
The false conception of “sovereignty” seems likewise apparent in the person of Herod. He was a king. As such he had authority, and it seems that his authority was legitimate. It was good. But to maintain that authority he – in true Roman fashion – had his own family members executed, his wife included. He was Jewish, but had rabbis killed who told him that he – in his brutality – was not living like a Jew at all.
The Culture of Death provides with a twisted concept of self-sovereignty. “My body. my choice,” as the mantra drones. To have power of one’s own body is a good, true and beautiful thing. But we have applied that to another body, and another person. Out of love for our own authority over our body, we kill. Out of Herod’s love for his own authority, he killed. In both cases there is a falsehood being followed, that the authority over one thing – our bodies, the state – is control over another – the lives of the Innocents, the lives of our family members.
Herod saw the Christ-child as an enemy. He could not have known that Christ came not to condemn the sinner but to save him, that Christ sought no earthly kingdom to rival his own. He simply misperceived Jesus as a threat to that most precious to him – earthly power and control. He flailed out viciously, in an effort to eliminate the threat. He slaughtered in fear; murdered in anxiety. His assumption – probably as a result of being so wrapped in the elite Roman culture of assassination, execution and betrayal – was that the Christ was nothing more than a potential infringement upon his life.
The Culture of Death – so wrapped up in the ‘me!’ – refuses to acknowledge the possibility that an unintended child might be anything but an enemy. There is no acknowledgement of the telling lack of women who, having avoided abortion, regret the existence of their child. The Culture of Death does not acknowledge that women who decide against abortion see their newborn as a gift. Does the child infringe on their lives? Oh, absolutely. But so do husbands, wives, friends, and any relationships worth calling a relationship. And so abortion marches onward against the child, refusing to acknowledge the possibility of a bad situation’s beautiful outcome.
Herod and the Culture of Death, they hold hands. At both sets of princely feet lie what can only be considered the greatest tragedy human history can bear – slaughtered Innocents.
Herod died in a mess of burning fever, ulcerated entrails, foul discharges, convulsions, stench, etc. (Josephus). In what certainly was a bitter, divine irony, he died of that which he could least control. All his life he killed to maintain his authoritative control; he died unable to control his bowels. So the Culture of Death will die by that which they are least able to control – us. The Culture of Life.
It is a beauty to see life making gains on every side; in legislation, in Planned Parenthood’s speedy decay, in education, in media, and in the majority opinion of the American people. We are winning, because we cannot and shall not be controlled by the tyrant Culture of Death. No, “Death, thou shalt die!”