Truly influential people are rare. In the history of the world, there have been few people that had an impact over significant portions of the world population. We think, perhaps, of Alexander the Great, and Jesus, and Mohammed. In modern times, truly influential people include Alex Bell and Thomas Edison, but they also include Napoleon and, for better or worse, Adolf Hitler. While the influences on Hitler, for instance, were varied (including Nietzsche, among others) he grasped the power to put those influences into action. Since that time three-quarters of a century ago, the ideas of a super-race, justifiable genocide, and the needs of the few overriding the needs of the many have taken a foothold in many aspects of society. General Eisenhower insisted that Army photographers document the death camps because he predicted the rise of the Holocaust-deniers. The super race today may not be defined by skin color or facial characteristics; still, many will try to use today’s technology to breed the most intelligent, strongest, or most beautiful people. While neo-Nazi sentiments are derided by most, it is still a significant movement, particularly among the criminal element.
That is the problem. Much of what Hitler believed leads to what society tends to think of as criminal. When the self is given priority, then society must take a back seat. If “I” am superman, everyone else doesn’t matter; there is no criminality, just self-realization.
In the last couple of years, because of laws being passed (Texas) or failing (New Mexico) banning “late-term,” “third-trimester,” or “pain-aware” abortions, some have revived the notions of some of the Nazi leadership. One prominent MSNBC analyst has proposed that life doesn’t begin until the parents have an overwhelming feeling for the child. If the parent is a Cathy Trask (East of Eden) that feeling might never develop, and taking the life of a child at any age might then be considered an acceptable abortion. Others have proposed that a child could be aborted as late as three months after birth. These “fourth trimester” abortions could be because of unforeseen physical or mental problems, or just because the parents no longer want a child. Many of these advocates either don’t see or don’t care about the slippery slope they are on. If a child can be aborted without conscience after birth, then what is to prevent euthanasia of the elderly, the maimed, or the mentally handicapped? Would such a person go quietly if they were paralyzed and deemed “useless” to society? Would we pass laws that certain diagnoses require medical termination? Such thought is selfish, as long as one doesn’t become part of the unwanted class.
Fortunately, another influential man was also the Son of God. Jesus taught that neither class, illness, mental health, nor any other factor determines the worth of a human being. Once born, if not before, all people are of equal value to God. “Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Lk 12:7) There are those that hold the life of an animal as more valuable than that of a baby, but those people are not God.
Many people that associated with Jesus derided him because he associated with those of an unacceptable class. The master race among the Jews, the Pharisees (p’rushim, separated ones), sometimes questioned Jesus for his practice of eating with “sinners.”
But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Lk 5:30-32)
We are all damaged, or unloved, or unlovable. Nevertheless, God loves regardless of how parents, doctors, society, or others feel. Nobody should be killed because they are no longer worthless, because their worth to us is not the final standard. Even the worthless of the world are of value to God.