A society’s treatment of children provides a clear window into its soul. Two news stories this week, from two disparate societies, make a startling contrast.
Seven-year-old Kyron Horman went missing from his rural Skyline Elementary School near Portland, Oregon, sometime on June 4, 2010. Fifteen minutes after his grandmother phoned 911, an organized search was underway. The FBI joined local authorities in the search before the day was out.
When Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue arrived the next morning at 5:00, teams of volunteer searchers were already on the ground. Later that morning, the Associated Press received an email, a web page devoted to the search was posted, and a phone tip line was created.
In the ensuing days, as Oregon’s famous rainy weather hampered their efforts, over 100 people participated in the search, while others distributed flyers, prepared food, posted on Facebook, donated money, and prayed for Kyron’s safe return. Concerned callers are lighting up local talk radio in Portland. Sadly, at this writing, no trace of the boy has surfaced.
Four days after Kyron disappeared, on the other side of the world, another seven-year-old boy made the news. The Taliban in Afghanistan tried a village lad, whose name has not been made public, on the charge of spying. They say he was passing information to foreign soldiers. He was found guilty, and promptly executed by hanging.
Moderate Muslims, including Afgan President Hamid Karzai, abhor such unspeakable cruelty, as they should. Nevertheless Jihadists like the Taliban consider themselves faithful Muslims, and operate from a worldview influenced by their scriptures. All human life is expendable in the greater value of submission to Allah. Jihadist culture loves death, Judeo-Christian culture loves life.
Most everyday Americans, on the other hand, function from a Biblical worldview. (Many are using “borrowed capital” from Christianity but are nevertheless deeply influenced.) Man is created in God’s image. Every individual has value. Children are vulnerable and should be protected from harm. When they disappear, everyone hurts, everyone cares, and many want to help. As these words are being written, thousands of Oregonians are thinking about a cute kid with a toothy grin they have never met.
Our worldview makes a real difference. Ideas have consequences. Followers of Jesus Christ do well to engage these points with their neighbors.
– Gary Brumbelow