Massacre of the Innocence Nicole Scott Free Inquiry

After the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, Christian apologist Dr. William Lane Craig said the massacre of those children was a reminder of what Christmas is all about. Craig equated it with the myth of Herod’s infamous massacre of the firstborn children. Presumably because the birth of Jesus came afterward, this was a good tragedy even at the expense of twenty innocent children and six adults. He has made many similar statements characterizing tragedy itself as a sign that God is with us all the more, rather than a sign of God’s negligence; tragedy and evil are God asking us to “freely” come to him. Coercion is somehow an invitation to exercise free will. He has made similar statements on COVID-19 and maintains this unswerving point of view on suffering there.

As with most of his arguments, these sentiments rest upon whether one believes the Bible to be completely true. If you believe everything you read in the Bible, and God shows signs of being the inscrutable, dyed-in-the-wool bastard plainly demonstrated there, then you simply keep your selfish whining or audacious problem solving to yourself and accept misery while awaiting the arrival of the even greater horrors found in the Book of Revelation.

But not all massacres are created equal, it would seem, neither outside of Christianity nor within it. The 9/11 attacks were committed on the word of the “wrong” God, according to Craig, implying that had the Christian god ordered it, it would have been fine. I find this idea of allowing suffering in defense of faith obscene, and it is the principle reason I reject religion and embrace any method that produces the demonstrable alleviation of suffering. The difference is that Craig’s apologetics accept suffering that can be prevented or at least ameliorated, while the unfaithful, rational mind accepts only suffering that cannot be avoided or wished away with a fairytale.

I am not just pro-choice but pro-abortion. I don’t “like” or even by definition “approve” of abortion, but I also don’t see this civilization of ours surviving without abortion. I view abortion the same way its opponents look at ten-year-long wars motivated by revenge and allowing deadly viruses the freedom to kill and mutate motivated by ideology. The difference in our thinking rests upon who benefits: my beliefs or civilization. With all the furor concerning abortion rising to a crescendo that has now led to its demise as a constitutional right, I am irritated with the double standard of Christian belief. Could they not simply view abortion itself as another one of these “acceptable” massacres that should be dismissed with an apology? Legal or not, abortion will continue, after all. Perhaps is it precisely because abortion is not mentioned or addressed in the Bible (at least not explicitly) that they feel it is outside of God’s control.

I admit that I could never match Craig in a discussion of religion. He is far better educated than I am, which means in the simplest terms that he has read and experienced more within his discipline. He keeps his realm tightly within the text of the Bible and its corollary texts, none of which (but for the Bible) have I taken the time to read closely or at all. His is the epitome of circular “reasoning.” One cannot argue about the weather outside with someone who sits in a windowless room. But I feel anyone can call hypocrisy in such a case; it is the greatest offense Jesus himself called out in the Bible: pointing to the Pharisees to diminish their power was the true reason for his execution, so the story goes. Similarly, January 6, 2021, showed us that those who cry for freedom, support the police, and scream against dictators do so not for all but rather only for their own freedom even if at the expense of others. They support only the police who aren’t “traitors” as they see it, and they scream against the other team’s dictator, not their own. The religious see fit to choose their favorite insurrection, protest, or massacre in solidarity with their home team. In the name of societal harmony, I would like to offer them one more choice for their consideration.

The “original” Massacre of the Innocents, had it truly happened at all, lasted a single day according to the Good Book, killing between 40 to 14,000 to hundreds of thousands, depending on who is speaking and how badly they wish their listeners to feel or praise the lack of God’s foresight. The far less efficient “murder” of 60 million “unborn babies” in America alone has gone on since 1973, as framed by the enemies of Roe v. Wade. For forty-eight years, God has allowed this to go on, despite having the power to have done it himself in forty-eight hours—never mind that God could have chosen another, more spectacular and stylishly biblical manner, such as a flood or a plague, or perhaps even prevented it altogether. I know he works in mysterious ways, but such inconsistency doesn’t evoke mystery but rather a lack of agency.

I am squeamish about abortion and defending the presence of it within reality. I don’t take the idea lightly at all, which is precisely why I want it to be legal and accessible; it cannot be avoided or wished away with a fairytale or legislation, so I prefer transparency and oversight because God cannot seem to handle it with either wrath or gentle intervention. Yet I do not embrace it as a happy reminder of what freedom of choice is all about. It is a form of suffering that is increased by opposition and ignorance (primarily for the women who endure it, safely or not, or are not able to due to shame, limitation of birth control, or illegality). Dogma multiplies the problem, not the solution. I am squeamish at so many more unwanted children being funneled into the orphanages that we once abhorred for the multitude of horror stories about abuse, particularly in orphanages under religious control. I am squeamish about ignoring the reality that abortion will go on increasingly and dangerously regardless of what the law or the pulpit decrees, killing “unborn babies” as well as desperate women. The terrifying overpopulation of this strained, closed system we call Earth shall continue.

If enduring evil is a mere question of shrugging one’s shoulders and accepting God’s will, then opponents of abortion should do that in fine Christian fashion because God’s indifference, prohibition, or even adoration of abortion shows that there is nothing anyone can do about it. Opponents are not so willing to follow Craig’s unintentional directive because abortion literally is proof that their God doesn’t exist, that their Pope is fallible, and that the bet they’ve made with their lives—and doubled down on—is a bad one. Beyond trying to bolster their empty faith, the motive for prohibiting abortion is telling people what to do with their own lives, the dirtiest of religious fetishes. With how righteous they feel after waiting in vain for a long-overdue and false prophecy to come true for 2,022 years, the illusion of halting fifty years and 60 million fetuses will provide a more affordable license to intimidate the rest of us across the board. Empowered by a powerless god, they will go to greater lengths to fool themselves.

As Roe v. Wade has been decimated by the latest onslaught of political and (mostly) Christian hypocrisy in America, I take on the gracious mantle of Craig, however unworthy I may be. I ask that the faithful choose to view all massacres as created equal, especially the massacre of their own innocence after being misled for so long in exchange for their tithes and ballots. I ask that they see this as either an opportunity to thank God for the chance to deepen their faith by shutting their mouths and going back to praying to end abortion in their churches rather than through force in public office, or else take it for what it is and has always been: an opportunity to push in the empty chair at the table and call off the homecoming party they’ve been hoping to throw for over 2,000 years. When an overlord taxes too deeply with no benefit, leave his service—a solution as American as apple pie, trans fats, and wearing camouflage at the Walmart.

After the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, Christian apologist Dr. William Lane Craig said the massacre of those children was a reminder of what Christmas is all about. Craig equated it with the myth of Herod’s infamous massacre of the firstborn children. Presumably because the birth of Jesus came afterward, this was …