This could be the beginning of a bad joke: What do a Palestinian sheikh, the Supreme Court, and an abortion center in Indiana have in common?
The answer: Life and death.
The Palestinian sheikh, Muhammad Salakh, is one of many Palestinian leaders urging Muslims in Gaza and the West Bank to slaughter Israelis. “Restrain the victim while others attack him with axes and butcher knives,” he said to his followers recently “as he brandished a knife in a sermon that was widely viewed within the territories. ‘Do not fear what will be said about you. Oh men of the West Bank, next time, attack in a group of three, four, or five. Attack them in groups. Cut them into body parts.’”
The “knife of jihad” has, thus far, led to “a dozen dead and at least 19 seriously wounded in 59 separate stabbing attacks, mainly in Jerusalem. Some 72 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces, including 45 who Israel said were involved in attacks and another 27 Palestinians killed in clashes between stone-throwers and security forces.”
Next, the Supreme Court: The Justices have agreed to “hear another challenge to the Affordable Care Act, this time to decide whether religiously affiliated organizations such as universities, hospitals and charities should be free from playing any role in providing employees with contraceptive coverage.”
“The court accepted seven cases from around the country, including one challenge involving the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington and the other from an order called the Little Sisters of the Poor, which runs homes for the aged,” reports the Washington Post.
The Post story excerpts an important comment by U.S. Circuit Judge Roger Wollman who, writing for a unanimous panel, “that the issue is whether the groups ‘have a sincere religious belief that their participation in the accommodation process makes them morally and spiritually complicit in providing abortifacient coverage. Their affirmative answer to that question is not for us to dispute.’”
Note the word “abortifacient.” This is not just about contraception, but about an Obamacare mandate that requires those with deeply held, faith-based objections to abortion to facilitate it. Abortion is a matter of life and death, and participation in it in any way would be heinous to millions of Christians in this country. It is wise the Supreme Court takes it seriously.
Finally, in South Bend, Indiana, that city’s last abortion center is shutting its doors—possibly permanently—tonight.
According to TV station WNDU, “Last June, the Indiana Department of Health moved to revoke the license of the Women’s Pavilion in South Bend citing numerous violations. Since then, the clinic has remained open as management appealed the license revocation. This week, the appeal was dropped on the day the clinic was scheduled to begin defending itself.”
Murder in Israel. Abortifacient drugs. The destruction of unborn life and the cruel abuse of their mothers.
All matters of life and death. All critically important. And all evidence that God-given human dignity matters wherever and however it is threatened.
The image of God we all bear is a thing of wonder. In the womb and outside it, all persons merit the protection of law and the respect of every culture. Christians must always bear in mind that their duty to safeguard life is a sacred one. Let’s never neglect it.