Holy Innocents Day

Today, December 28, is Holy Innocents Day, the commemoration of the death of those children under two years old slaughtered by King Herod in his vain attempt to slay the Christ child.

Child sacrifice, as when parents would kill their infants as a sacrifice to Moloch, is a sign in the Bible of the most demonic kind of idolatry. So it is today in its new manifestations of abortion, the harvest of embryos, and the casualties of reproductive engineering. No ideology can be correct if it condones such evil. I propose that the Church use Holy Innocents Day as a time to pray against such practices, to work to make them illegal, and to persuade people not to slay little children as Herod did.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Jonathan

    Well put, but let’s also think of infants whose parents desperately want them to live, but who die from lack of adequate medical care. America’s infant mortality rate much too high. No ideology can be correct if it ignores such evil.

  • Jonathan

    Well put, but let’s also think of infants whose parents desperately want them to live, but who die from lack of adequate medical care. America’s infant mortality rate much too high. No ideology can be correct if it ignores such evil.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I really wouldn’t be surprised if we in the U.S. have the best neonatal hospitals in the world. I’m not sure Jonathan really knows what he’s talking about. I would like to see some stats to prove that our infant mortality rate is higher than which other nations? I’ll wait for Jonathan to post those stats.

    Anyway, great suggestion, Veith, for prayers for this coming Sunday in the 1-year lectionary. The Matthew account of the holy innocents is the Gospel for the day. Great idea.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I really wouldn’t be surprised if we in the U.S. have the best neonatal hospitals in the world. I’m not sure Jonathan really knows what he’s talking about. I would like to see some stats to prove that our infant mortality rate is higher than which other nations? I’ll wait for Jonathan to post those stats.

    Anyway, great suggestion, Veith, for prayers for this coming Sunday in the 1-year lectionary. The Matthew account of the holy innocents is the Gospel for the day. Great idea.

  • DonS

    Dr. Veith: Well put, PERIOD.

    Jonathan, it is most unfortunate when infants die, for any reason, but particularly evil when they are deliberately murdered. America’s seemingly relatively high infant mortality rate of 6.9 per 1,000 live births is misleading. Because of excellent neonatal units, a much higher percentage of extremely premature infants are born alive in the U.S. than elsewhere. Some countries don’t count live births before 22 weeks in their statistics. And, America’s relatively high rate of premature births is due largely to a higher rate of teen births, wherein adequate prenatal care is not sought because of factors wholly unrelated to the availability of adequate medical care, and because of a high percentage of older women conceiving with the assistance of fertility treatments of various kinds.

    Evil is certainly at the root of part of America’s infant mortality problem. But that evil does not seem to be a lack of availability of prenatal care, even to the economically disadvantaged and illegal immigrants. And to compare that evil to the evil of infanticide, euphemistically termed “abortion” is abominable.

  • DonS

    Dr. Veith: Well put, PERIOD.

    Jonathan, it is most unfortunate when infants die, for any reason, but particularly evil when they are deliberately murdered. America’s seemingly relatively high infant mortality rate of 6.9 per 1,000 live births is misleading. Because of excellent neonatal units, a much higher percentage of extremely premature infants are born alive in the U.S. than elsewhere. Some countries don’t count live births before 22 weeks in their statistics. And, America’s relatively high rate of premature births is due largely to a higher rate of teen births, wherein adequate prenatal care is not sought because of factors wholly unrelated to the availability of adequate medical care, and because of a high percentage of older women conceiving with the assistance of fertility treatments of various kinds.

    Evil is certainly at the root of part of America’s infant mortality problem. But that evil does not seem to be a lack of availability of prenatal care, even to the economically disadvantaged and illegal immigrants. And to compare that evil to the evil of infanticide, euphemistically termed “abortion” is abominable.

  • Jonathan

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/04/health/04infant.html

    The raw hostility of many white conservatives to the mere mention of the high American infant mortality rate always shocks me, yet it’s one of the best ways to see who’s a ‘pro life’ poseur.

    Next time we’re proving our ‘pro life’ bona fides with a anti-abortion lecture, let’s say a few words about the American infants who are born, but who die much too soon, due to a preventable lack of access to adequate health care. Let’s pray for them and for their desparate mothers, who love their dying children as much as we love ours. And let’s all spend some time away from our tidy, segregated congregations and go among the poor and the forgotten, where Christ really dwells.

  • Jonathan

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/04/health/04infant.html

    The raw hostility of many white conservatives to the mere mention of the high American infant mortality rate always shocks me, yet it’s one of the best ways to see who’s a ‘pro life’ poseur.

    Next time we’re proving our ‘pro life’ bona fides with a anti-abortion lecture, let’s say a few words about the American infants who are born, but who die much too soon, due to a preventable lack of access to adequate health care. Let’s pray for them and for their desparate mothers, who love their dying children as much as we love ours. And let’s all spend some time away from our tidy, segregated congregations and go among the poor and the forgotten, where Christ really dwells.

  • Joe

    nice – so now your implying were racists too? But you have not answered the points DonS made. No one here is suggesting that its just fine and dandy for babies to die, we just want to see the numbers once corrected for the differences in recording standards and adjusted for the fact that in America you have a much higher chance of making it to a live birth versus a miscarriage due to the very same healthcare system that is supposedly murdering babies.

    Answer those points with data that shows we are still way out of wack with the rest of the developed world after making the adjustments and you will probably win some people to your side. Answer them with implicit charges of racism and you won’t.

  • Joe

    nice – so now your implying were racists too? But you have not answered the points DonS made. No one here is suggesting that its just fine and dandy for babies to die, we just want to see the numbers once corrected for the differences in recording standards and adjusted for the fact that in America you have a much higher chance of making it to a live birth versus a miscarriage due to the very same healthcare system that is supposedly murdering babies.

    Answer those points with data that shows we are still way out of wack with the rest of the developed world after making the adjustments and you will probably win some people to your side. Answer them with implicit charges of racism and you won’t.

  • DonS

    Jonathan @ 4: The gratuitous racism charge really enhances your credibility.

    The NYT article you linked to pretty much says what I said in post #3.

  • DonS

    Jonathan @ 4: The gratuitous racism charge really enhances your credibility.

    The NYT article you linked to pretty much says what I said in post #3.

  • Carl Vehse

    Jonathan, would you please specify what “raw hostility” to the mere mention of high American infant mortality rate you are referring to either from your referenced article or made on this thread?

  • Carl Vehse

    Jonathan, would you please specify what “raw hostility” to the mere mention of high American infant mortality rate you are referring to either from your referenced article or made on this thread?

  • DonS

    And, Jonathan, it’s curious that you have chosen to deflect this thread away from abortion without addressing that topic at all.

  • DonS

    And, Jonathan, it’s curious that you have chosen to deflect this thread away from abortion without addressing that topic at all.

  • Dan Kempin

    trollin’ trollin’ trollin’

    (Sung to the tune of the tv show “Rawhide.”)

  • Dan Kempin

    trollin’ trollin’ trollin’

    (Sung to the tune of the tv show “Rawhide.”)

  • http://www.gethsemanelutheranchurch.org Gregory DeVore

    I am curious about Johnathans hostility toward white conservatives. Does he approve of say black conservatives but reserve his hatred for those who are of paler complexion? If it is just conservatism he hates why does he mention race? Race based hate has no place in the Christian church. Nor does the political fanaticism that dismisses ones fellow Christian simply because they have a different position concerning the ideal size and role of government in American life.

  • http://www.gethsemanelutheranchurch.org Gregory DeVore

    I am curious about Johnathans hostility toward white conservatives. Does he approve of say black conservatives but reserve his hatred for those who are of paler complexion? If it is just conservatism he hates why does he mention race? Race based hate has no place in the Christian church. Nor does the political fanaticism that dismisses ones fellow Christian simply because they have a different position concerning the ideal size and role of government in American life.

  • Gregory DeVore

    Johnathon at #4 seems to be arguing that everyone who does not agree with his belief in a large and invasive state is a poser when it comes to their pro-life views. This is empirically false. There are pro-lifers who are big government people and pro-lifers who are small government people. Ditto with prochoicers, there are big government prochoicers and small government prochoicers. These two sets of beliefs are not connected.One can believe that government should be small and should not involve itself in health care and believe that abortion should be illegal. The converse is also true. You can believe in a big invasive government and not believe that aborttion should be illegal. These are completely sperate positions. One could want better pre-natal care and be against the state being the agent in providing for this care.

  • Gregory DeVore

    Johnathon at #4 seems to be arguing that everyone who does not agree with his belief in a large and invasive state is a poser when it comes to their pro-life views. This is empirically false. There are pro-lifers who are big government people and pro-lifers who are small government people. Ditto with prochoicers, there are big government prochoicers and small government prochoicers. These two sets of beliefs are not connected.One can believe that government should be small and should not involve itself in health care and believe that abortion should be illegal. The converse is also true. You can believe in a big invasive government and not believe that aborttion should be illegal. These are completely sperate positions. One could want better pre-natal care and be against the state being the agent in providing for this care.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I think it’s pretty hilarious to see a bunch of white conservatives angrily opposing the charge (@4) of “the raw hostility of many white conservatives to the mere mention of the high American infant mortality rate”: “What?! What hostility? What do you mean, ‘white’?! And you’re wrong, wrong, wrong about the infant mortality rate!”

    I mean, raise your hand if you’re not white, but otherwise, I’d say Jonathan’s depiction is fulfilled right here.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I think it’s pretty hilarious to see a bunch of white conservatives angrily opposing the charge (@4) of “the raw hostility of many white conservatives to the mere mention of the high American infant mortality rate”: “What?! What hostility? What do you mean, ‘white’?! And you’re wrong, wrong, wrong about the infant mortality rate!”

    I mean, raise your hand if you’re not white, but otherwise, I’d say Jonathan’s depiction is fulfilled right here.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 12: Um, no. The hostility is not to “the mere mention of the high American infant mortality rate”. Rather, the hostility is toward the ridiculous equivocation of the “evil” of this infant mortality rate, which Jonathan demonstrably falsely blames on an evil failure of the U.S. health care system, with the true evil of abortion.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 12: Um, no. The hostility is not to “the mere mention of the high American infant mortality rate”. Rather, the hostility is toward the ridiculous equivocation of the “evil” of this infant mortality rate, which Jonathan demonstrably falsely blames on an evil failure of the U.S. health care system, with the true evil of abortion.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Let’s see. How have the white conservatives around here replied to Jonathan’s points?

    Bryan (@2): Without doing any apparent research himself, proclaims that “I’m not sure Jonathan really knows what he’s talking about” when it comes to infant mortality.

    Don (@3, 6, 8): Accuses Jonathan of “deflect[ing] this thread away from abortion without addressing that topic at all”, while ignoring that Jonathan said, “Well put,” to Veith’s original comment. Claims that the NYT article Jonathan linked to “pretty much says” what Don said earlier, which was that “Because of excellent neonatal units, a much higher percentage of extremely premature infants are born alive in the U.S. than elsewhere.” Except that the article doesn’t say that at all. The article actually said that “the smallest, earliest and most fragile babies were often born to poor and minority women who lacked health care and social support,” going on to discuss infertility treatments and the increase in Caesarean sections — all of which are impacted by problems with health care in America, not our “excellent neonatal units”.

    Joe (@5): Largely echoes Don’s points, apparently the one about how “Some countries don’t count live births before 22 weeks in their statistics.” But if you actually click through to the CDC report’s key findings in the NYT article (does anybody actually read the original data anymore?), you’ll find it saying that “Infant mortality rates for preterm (less than 37 weeks of gestation) infants are lower in the United States than in most European countries; however, infant mortality rates for infants born at 37 weeks of gestation or more are higher in the United States than in most European countries.” So the 22-week statistic thing is a red herring in this case.

    And Gregory (@10): You simply must be new around here. Claims that “political fanaticism that dismisses ones fellow Christian simply because they have a different position concerning the ideal size and role of government in American life” have “no place in the Christian church”, while true in theory, nonetheless are proved false by many who comment here.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Let’s see. How have the white conservatives around here replied to Jonathan’s points?

    Bryan (@2): Without doing any apparent research himself, proclaims that “I’m not sure Jonathan really knows what he’s talking about” when it comes to infant mortality.

    Don (@3, 6, 8): Accuses Jonathan of “deflect[ing] this thread away from abortion without addressing that topic at all”, while ignoring that Jonathan said, “Well put,” to Veith’s original comment. Claims that the NYT article Jonathan linked to “pretty much says” what Don said earlier, which was that “Because of excellent neonatal units, a much higher percentage of extremely premature infants are born alive in the U.S. than elsewhere.” Except that the article doesn’t say that at all. The article actually said that “the smallest, earliest and most fragile babies were often born to poor and minority women who lacked health care and social support,” going on to discuss infertility treatments and the increase in Caesarean sections — all of which are impacted by problems with health care in America, not our “excellent neonatal units”.

    Joe (@5): Largely echoes Don’s points, apparently the one about how “Some countries don’t count live births before 22 weeks in their statistics.” But if you actually click through to the CDC report’s key findings in the NYT article (does anybody actually read the original data anymore?), you’ll find it saying that “Infant mortality rates for preterm (less than 37 weeks of gestation) infants are lower in the United States than in most European countries; however, infant mortality rates for infants born at 37 weeks of gestation or more are higher in the United States than in most European countries.” So the 22-week statistic thing is a red herring in this case.

    And Gregory (@10): You simply must be new around here. Claims that “political fanaticism that dismisses ones fellow Christian simply because they have a different position concerning the ideal size and role of government in American life” have “no place in the Christian church”, while true in theory, nonetheless are proved false by many who comment here.

  • A.D.P.

    Something perhaps worth mentioning here is the very strong relationship between abortions and subsequent premature births.
    ( http://www.vcn.bc.ca/~whatsup/APB-Major.html )
    If we decrease the number of abortions, we will also, over the long term, decrease the number of preemies.

  • A.D.P.

    Something perhaps worth mentioning here is the very strong relationship between abortions and subsequent premature births.
    ( http://www.vcn.bc.ca/~whatsup/APB-Major.html )
    If we decrease the number of abortions, we will also, over the long term, decrease the number of preemies.

  • E-Raj

    I suggest that Jonathan’s comments are fueled by underlying guilt for supporting a platform that espouses the very evil mentioned in the topic of this thread. His was the first reply, and notice he did not even address the topic of abortion or holy innocents. Instead, he deflects the thrust of the thread and equates white conservative’s lack of support of the pork-riddled health care bill as racially-based murder, equivalent to abortion. In reality, his reply boils down to whining, “Conservatives hate babies, too!”

    It’s always interesting to note the lack of replies from the “resident liberals” whenever the topic of abortion is brought up. In this thread however, the scant liberal replies are merely weak diversionary tactics. Nice try.

  • E-Raj

    I suggest that Jonathan’s comments are fueled by underlying guilt for supporting a platform that espouses the very evil mentioned in the topic of this thread. His was the first reply, and notice he did not even address the topic of abortion or holy innocents. Instead, he deflects the thrust of the thread and equates white conservative’s lack of support of the pork-riddled health care bill as racially-based murder, equivalent to abortion. In reality, his reply boils down to whining, “Conservatives hate babies, too!”

    It’s always interesting to note the lack of replies from the “resident liberals” whenever the topic of abortion is brought up. In this thread however, the scant liberal replies are merely weak diversionary tactics. Nice try.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    E-Raj (@16), I believe I’ve made my views on abortion quite clear on this blog — and the same goes for several other “resident liberals” I can think of, depending on how that label gets slapped around.

    I didn’t realize that every time a post on abortion was made, I was required to reiterate my position in order to keep in your good graces.

    Well, I’d hate to ruin a good broad generalization like yours, so I’ll let you search for my thoughts elsewhere.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    E-Raj (@16), I believe I’ve made my views on abortion quite clear on this blog — and the same goes for several other “resident liberals” I can think of, depending on how that label gets slapped around.

    I didn’t realize that every time a post on abortion was made, I was required to reiterate my position in order to keep in your good graces.

    Well, I’d hate to ruin a good broad generalization like yours, so I’ll let you search for my thoughts elsewhere.

  • http://boundedirrationality.blogspot.com/ Doug

    I think there’s a reasonable difference between allowing the slaughter of children and children dying because of imperfections in the medical system.

    It is obvious that we all wish for children to survive infancy. There is disagreement about how the government can play a positive role in that.

    On the issue of abortion we have a large number of people who vote for politicians who subsidize and promote intentional slaughter.

  • http://boundedirrationality.blogspot.com/ Doug

    I think there’s a reasonable difference between allowing the slaughter of children and children dying because of imperfections in the medical system.

    It is obvious that we all wish for children to survive infancy. There is disagreement about how the government can play a positive role in that.

    On the issue of abortion we have a large number of people who vote for politicians who subsidize and promote intentional slaughter.

  • DonS

    tODD, you have indeed made your anti-abortion viewpoint clear, and quite eloquently, on a number of occasions. But, no one accused you otherwise, nor did you author post #1. Jonathan did, and I don’t believe he has ever stated his position on abortion on this blog. Though he indicated that Dr. Veith’s post was “well put”, he never expounded on that (does he agree with the post?), and then immediately transitioned to a non sequitur, namely, health care policy. I have seen similar tactics frequently used by liberal Christians who actively support the Democratic party (unlike you), and want to divert attention away from the party’s awful support of abortion, and I will always call such people on those tactics.

  • DonS

    tODD, you have indeed made your anti-abortion viewpoint clear, and quite eloquently, on a number of occasions. But, no one accused you otherwise, nor did you author post #1. Jonathan did, and I don’t believe he has ever stated his position on abortion on this blog. Though he indicated that Dr. Veith’s post was “well put”, he never expounded on that (does he agree with the post?), and then immediately transitioned to a non sequitur, namely, health care policy. I have seen similar tactics frequently used by liberal Christians who actively support the Democratic party (unlike you), and want to divert attention away from the party’s awful support of abortion, and I will always call such people on those tactics.

  • Carl Vehse

    Still waiting on Jonathan to specify what “raw hostility” to the mere mention of high American infant mortality rate he (@4) was referring to in the article he referenced or in Gene Veith’s post or in Comments #2-3.

  • Carl Vehse

    Still waiting on Jonathan to specify what “raw hostility” to the mere mention of high American infant mortality rate he (@4) was referring to in the article he referenced or in Gene Veith’s post or in Comments #2-3.

  • Rose

    The Nativity is ‘offensive’ to abortionists.
    See http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/dec/06121501.html.
    The photo of Mary and Jesus in police custody
    could have the caption: “Is Herod back?”

  • Rose

    The Nativity is ‘offensive’ to abortionists.
    See http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/dec/06121501.html.
    The photo of Mary and Jesus in police custody
    could have the caption: “Is Herod back?”

  • Joe

    tODD – if I ask some one for the data to back up a claim they are making and instead they instead give me an article that in turn links to a study, there is a pretty decent chance that I might not read it. If you are making a claim and are asked to support it I would think the burden in on you to pull out the relevant data and present it in the conversation.

    But since you asked I look at the study (as opposed to the key findings) and found something pretty interesting: In all categories of premature births except two the infant mortality rate was lower in the US than in most European countries. Of the two categories where it was not, one was the period of 22-23 weeks which the authors noted that the data “may be unreliable due to reporting differences” and the period of 37 weeks or older which does not seem to have any reporting problems.

    I thought this was interesting since the authors conclude that the reason the US total infant mortality rate was higher was due almost exclusively to high number of pre-term births. And looking at those categories the study can only solidly conclude that we are doing poorly in babies born in the 37-39 weeks. I guess I would conclude that we really are not doing that poorly. Especially when you consider the many reasons for pre-term births discussed in the article which include: Drinking and smoking while pregnant, fertility drug use, the drastically increasing use of c-sections (which is largely caused by doctors trying to avoid lawsuits) and babies born to poor minorities.

    I also thought this was interesting: the article singled out 4 minority groups that have the highest infant mortality rates – two of them already have gov’t funded and provided health care: American Indians and Alaska Natives. And, these two groups have a higher mortality rate than whites at all stages of life. http://www.kff.org/minorityhealth/upload/American-Indians-and-Alaska-Natives-Health-Coverage-Access-to-Care.pdf

  • Joe

    tODD – if I ask some one for the data to back up a claim they are making and instead they instead give me an article that in turn links to a study, there is a pretty decent chance that I might not read it. If you are making a claim and are asked to support it I would think the burden in on you to pull out the relevant data and present it in the conversation.

    But since you asked I look at the study (as opposed to the key findings) and found something pretty interesting: In all categories of premature births except two the infant mortality rate was lower in the US than in most European countries. Of the two categories where it was not, one was the period of 22-23 weeks which the authors noted that the data “may be unreliable due to reporting differences” and the period of 37 weeks or older which does not seem to have any reporting problems.

    I thought this was interesting since the authors conclude that the reason the US total infant mortality rate was higher was due almost exclusively to high number of pre-term births. And looking at those categories the study can only solidly conclude that we are doing poorly in babies born in the 37-39 weeks. I guess I would conclude that we really are not doing that poorly. Especially when you consider the many reasons for pre-term births discussed in the article which include: Drinking and smoking while pregnant, fertility drug use, the drastically increasing use of c-sections (which is largely caused by doctors trying to avoid lawsuits) and babies born to poor minorities.

    I also thought this was interesting: the article singled out 4 minority groups that have the highest infant mortality rates – two of them already have gov’t funded and provided health care: American Indians and Alaska Natives. And, these two groups have a higher mortality rate than whites at all stages of life. http://www.kff.org/minorityhealth/upload/American-Indians-and-Alaska-Natives-Health-Coverage-Access-to-Care.pdf


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