National Catholic Register


Do Our Children Belong to Us, or to God?

BY Jennifer Fulwiler

| Posted 4/4/11 at 3:54 AM


Below is a series of excerpts from articles that I’ve clipped for my “Culture of Death” file. Can you spot the common theme among all the following statements?

There’s much that could be said about the worldview behind these quotes. But the thing that jumps out to me the most is how much all of these statements hinge on the age-old question: To whom do our children belong? To us? Or to God?

I had never paid much attention to that question. I thought of saying that our children belong to God as nothing more than a nice little sentiment that you might cross-stitch on a pillow, one without much weight or importance. But the longer I think about the anti-life mentality that rages in our culture, the more I think it is largely rooted in a rejection of this concept.

When something belongs to you, you are free to determine its fate. Masters had the power to make life and death decisions for their slaves, because they perceived that these people belonged to them. We have the authority to take the family dog down to the vet and have him euthanized because he belongs to us. There is a presumption that if something belongs to you—especially if you also created it—you can determine its value. And that idea is the common thread in all those quotes above, the insidious message at the core of the culture of death: The worth of a new human being is determined entirely by his or her parents. An unborn child is does not have dignity until her parents say she does.

This process starts happening as soon as you take God out of the picture. Without God, couples perceive that they create new life entirely on their own. They think that they own their children—especially the unborn ones who don’t yet have voices. From there, it’s a short path down the road of temptation to value these new lives that you created according to whether or not they enhane your own life. If you find out that one of your creations has characteristics that would negatively impact you—the wrong gender, a disability, etc.—you feel like you have the authority to deem it less valuable, and maybe even altogether expendable.

And so as I read more and more of these disturbing articles about the erosion of respect for human life, I keep coming back to that concept: To whom do our children belong? Because I think our society will stand or fall depending on how we answer that question.