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Professor Death, the life you didn’t take rebukes you

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“You should have killed your baby.”

No, that wasn’t a quote from Lycurgus of ancient Sparta. No, that wasn’t a quote from Adolf Hitler. No, that wasn’t a quote from Nathan Bedford Forrest, a member of the KKK, or even Margaret Sanger.

This maniacal little tidbit of parenting “advice” is offered to the world from University of Chicago professor Jerry Coyne (Department of Ecology and Evolution).

“It is time to add to the discussion the euthanasia of newborns,” he says.

Reading Coyne’s apathetic blog post is enough to make you run for the hilltops. Through a series of moral justifications, A.K.A. excuses, Coyne presents his case, arguing in favor of the murder of infants who aren’t up to par; all this in the name of morality and compassion. Infants qualifying for the death sentence include those who are severely “deformed or doomed,” or those infants who’s “life cannot by any reasonable light afford happiness.” Coyne lists several conditions, including spina bifida, a condition where an incomplete closure of the backbone and of the membranes surrounding the backbone occurs. It should be noted that a number of successful individuals have spina bifida.

The benevolent professor’s argument in favor of infanticide goes like this…

  • In spite of the fact that “suffering,” “quality”, and “happiness” are all undefinable terms as related to the lives of human beings, the good professor encourages a subjective (and guaranteed to be ever-expanding) understanding of “suffering” be used to quantify the value of a human being in order to determine whether he should be murdered or be allowed to live.
  • Equating human infants with animals, Coyne makes the claim that infants have “no rational faculties” and that, like dogs and cats, human children “don’t know about death and thus don’t fear it.” As a person degreed and licensed in child development, I am astonished at this biologist’s fallacious claim. Never mind the fact that a human baby is always more precious than a pet.
  • Euthanasia has become more accepted, thanks to “a tide of increasing morality,” and so we should all be totally okay with the murder of human infants. After all, euthanizing old people was frowned upon 50 years ago. As Coyne blissfully goes on to say, “I believe some day the practice will be widespread, and it will be for the better.”
  • Don’t worry your conscience, because no babies will be murdered without parental consent. The kindly professor fails to recollect the case of poor Charlie Gard, whose parents did not consent and were stripped of their parental rights by the state. Pay no attention to the man being the curtain.
  •  Religion is the one thing holding society back, it is society’s single obstacle, from engaging “widespread” infanticide. Woe to thee. The compassionate professor thus states, “When religion vanishes, as it will, so will so much of the opposition to both adult and newborn euthanasia.” It must be said that Professor Coyne’s indication that it takes “religion” to uphold the moral absolutes of right and wrong in this world is a direct and automatic indictment of the depravity of the human condition left on its own. Coyne’s statement is in fact a sound argument in support of religion, of the very belief system that prohibits the murderous tendencies of mankind.
  • The Netherlands does it, so it must be okay.

At least one medical professional, Lisa Dennis – a long-time nurse (RN, CCP, LP) and the mother of a disabled child (now a young adult) – isn’t buying into Professor Coyne’s murderous premise. I shared Coyne’s blog post with Lisa. Her rebuke of the spiritually near-sighted and morally bankrupt professor is both poignant and compelling.

My son with Down Syndrome, though non-verbal, is the most sociable young man at his school. Jeffrey gives all he meets the gifts of kindness, enthusiasm, and warmth. He exudes all the best of humanity. While pursuing confirmation at church, he spiritually inspired all who witnessed his journey. He personifies the quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, Spread the Gospel; use words if necessary,” she said.

“The professor states, that when religion vanishes, as it will, so will much of the opposition to both adult and newborn euthanasia. My response is that when religion vanishes, so will mankind. Future generations will judge today’s society, not for the respect for new life (even flawed and brief), but for the brutality of ending so many pre-term lives in the brutal practice of abortion. Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person.- Deuteronomy 27:25.”

“There is none so innocent as a babe in the womb or just after birth. Jeffrey was born with Trisomy 21, a PFO, VSD, and PDA. His first 16 days were spent in the NICU. His first year was filled with trials and tribulations. Where does the professor suggest the line be drawn between worthy and unworthy life? The gift of life is to be honored and cherished rather than dissected to find flaw and destroy,“ Lisa continued.

Jeffrey, though non-verbal, has learned to communicate with those around him, and he never sleeps on the job. On Sundays (dressed in his white acolyte rob)  Jeffrey raises his hand in the air as Pastor Hatcher said, “in classic ‘rock on’ configuration,” and takes his bow before taking his seat. In “what looks to some like a signal for Angus Young to keep shredding his Gibson SG is actually sign language for ‘I love you.”

Jeffrey has always been an ever-present, awe inspiring soul to countless other people. His pastor once recounted, “When Jeffrey gave his Confirmation essay last summer, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. God has worked a faith in this kid that goes well beyond his ability to articulate it. He doesn’t play football. He may not end up as an influential businessman or politician. He is, however, a shining paradigm of what it means to deeply love Christ.”

“God gives us many gifts.; one must only open one’s eyes to see them,” said Lisa. I wish Professor Coyne could meet Jeffrey. Perhaps then he could understand the real value, the real worth of a human life, regardless of how “doomed” or how “unhappy” that life may have first appeared to the benevolent professor. 

As Pastor Hatcher touchingly stated, “So, forth and short in the Red Zone, down five with thirty seconds left to go… Give me Tim Tebow. A faithful model of the love of Christ, on the other hand… I’d rather have Jeffrey Dennis.” Me too.


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