We’ve got a problem on our hands. A problem that shouldn’t be a problem, yet nonetheless, here it is. The circumstances are extraordinary but actually pertinent to each of us. This problem is an unnecessary predicament that has an immediate solution.
This problem is our confusion about the sanctity of life. Let me begin with a primer of sorts. Christians believe in the sanctity of life. That’s why we spend so much time attacking the abortion practices of our country and our world. We find it deplorable that hundreds of thousands of abortions occur each year in our country (to see stats from the CDC, simply follow this link). We believe life is precious, made in God’s image, and undeserving of such cruelty. Simply put, abortion is murder because it takes away that child’s inherent, God-given right to life.
I personally believe that life begins at conception and that the preciousness of life from the earliest parts of the womb is a Biblical-endorsed idea we must preach, teach, and practice (Job 3:3, Psalm 139:13, Jeremiah 1:5).
However, I also believe life is precious all the way to the tomb.
There is no “best by” date and we don’t just get to devalue life because it no longer serves a functional purpose. Christians must believe all life is precious from the womb to the tomb, and there must not be any exceptions, for any reasons.
All of that prefaces a unique occurrence that’s arising because of the CoViD pandemic. I’m not sure how it’s arisen in your neck-of-the-woods, but in mine, it looks something like this.
A local entity (i.e. school, business, church, etc) enforces the people who enter their building to wear a mask. Someone gets offended because of any one of these reasons, (1) their personal liberty is attacked, (2) it inconveniences them, or (3) they simply don’t want to. Then, they proceed to not wear the mask and be a bit perturbed when people politely (or directly) tell them otherwise. It’s happened all across our nation in gas stations, ballparks, schools, and even churches. While not every encounter has been Youtube-worthy, most have been unnecessary.
Maybe you made one of those scenes, maybe you didn’t. I’m not really concerned about that. What I am concerned about it what that behavior says about us as a society. We know the CoViD is passed “through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks” (see the link to learn more). We know that wearing a mask is a key component to stopping the spread of the virus and now masks are readily available. So why won’t some people wear them? Quite frankly, I’m not sure.
Personally, I don’t really care for the masks, but I also don’t have a problem wearing them. The simple reason I don’t mind is because of the dangers CoViD represents to many of the people I come in contact with weekly – my fellow Christians at worship.
I’ve got some numbers for you so we can see why that matters. The following details about CoViD come from the Santa Clara County Health Department in California. I know that’s a long way from where I live in Kentucky, but I used their numbers so we can see some patterns on a larger scale than where I live. We’ve had 120 cases in Monroe County, they’ve had over 16,000 in Santa Clara County. Simply put, more numbers means a better understanding of it in a big-picture sort of way.
In California, the highest percentage of positive cases came from the ages of 20-29. In fact, that small group represented 20% of all cases in Santa Clara County. That’s more than all the cases found in people between the ages of 60-89 (14.2%). That tells me quite simply more young people are testing positive than older people. I’d assume that has to do with behavior patterns including working, going out to socialize, or something else that requires a person to leave their house.
The death rate, however, is completely opposite in a scary way. If we measure the 20-39-year-olds, the percentage of deaths from CoViD is 2.2% while the percentage of deaths from the aforementioned 60-89-year-olds is 63%. Quite simply, when the elderly get CoViD in Santa Clara County, it’s bad news, while most young people recover without must trouble. If you’d like to see the full statistical breakdown, follow this link.
I make mention of those statistics for one reason I’d ask you to consider right now. What is the makeup of your local congregation? While there might be exceptions to this rule, I’d just about guarantee that most evangelical congregations across the south are predominately made up of those from 50-89 years old. Even if it’s not a majority, I’m sure there are quite more than you realize because older people tend to gravitate towards churches more often.
In fact, if you’d like you can go look at the statistics from the 2014 Pew Forum survey of church demographics by following this link. Here in Kentucky, the numbers are almost equal between those 18-29 and 65 and over (roughly 15-18% of our congregational makeup). That means, if the numbers from Santa Clara are indicative of most places, 15% of our church population runs a high risk of getting the virus while another 18% runs an even greater chance of dying from the virus.
And we all worship together each Sunday in a building that allows for social distancing but wasn’t designed for it.
If you’re wondering where I’m going with all of this, here it is. How much do you value the lives of the elderly among your congregation? Are they equally as important as the young? The children? The leadership? Of course. Everyone is of equal importance. We’re all members of the Lord’s kingdom, recipients of God’s grace, and worthy of the inherent value He puts on each life.
So, the question I ask you today to deeply consider is this – would you stop abortion today to preserve the value of those innocent lives? Of course, you would without any hesitation.
Since that’s true, wear your mask when you come to worship. When you’re surrounded by those in the most dangerous demographic because you also value their lives as much as the babies that are so violently murdered.
We must be pro-life from the womb to the tomb and take every step to make sure the sanctity of life is precious to us no matter the age. Care for the innocent babies but also for the elderly during this pandemic. They need you to stand up, act on their behalf, and value them as well.