Earlier this week I was talking about college ministry with a friend over lunch at Chick-fil-a, when one of the workers interrupted to ask us if we wanted a refill.
Sort of startled at the interruption (I hadn’t noticed her approaching) I looked up and was surprised at what I saw. She clearly had Down Syndrome.
We started talking to her, and she told us about her dreams of possibly going to college, described how determined she was to feed her love of study and school. I was blown away at her ability to converse, and how articulate she was.
And then it dawned on me; she might be smarter than I am.
We shared the gospel with her, and she told us that she is a Catholic. She quickly insisted that she wasn’t a nominal Catholic, but one that actually knows her stuff. And did most certainly know (parts of) her Bible. She had obviously been catechized.
At one point she responded to me: “but James says faith without works is dead! That’s why you need the Pope and you need sacraments in order to be saved!” Later she explained why baptism was necessary for salvation.
I told her that she was one of the most informed Catholics I had ever met–I mean, she was more catholic than many of the priests I’ve talked to!
Later that day I saw this on Twitter:
And then later:
A woman whom I know & like said she’d be uncertain what to do if pregnant with Downs. I said what I’d do & why. Happens to be what most do. — Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) August 20, 2014
After understandably receiving major backlash from many (including atheists), Dawkins elaborated on a website. He said that if he had over 140 characters he would have put it this way:
“Obviously the choice would be yours. For what it’s worth, my own choice would be to abort the Down fetus and, assuming you want a baby at all, try again. Given a free choice of having an early abortion or deliberately bringing a Down child into the world, I think the moral and sensible choice would be to abort. And, indeed, that is what the great majority of women, in America and especially in Europe, actually do. I personally would go further and say that, if your morality is based, as mine is, on a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering, the decision to deliberately give birth to a Down baby, when you have the choice to abort it early in the pregnancy, might actually be immoral from the point of view of the child’s own welfare. I agree that that personal opinion is contentious and needs to be argued further, possibly to be withdrawn. In any case, you would probably be condemning yourself as a mother (or yourselves as a couple) to a lifetime of caring for an adult with the needs of a child. Your child would probably have a short life expectancy but, if she did outlive you, you would have the worry of who would care for her after you are gone. No wonder most people choose abortion when offered the choice. Having said that, the choice would be entirely yours and I would never dream of trying to impose my views on you or anyone else.”
What Dawkins says is obviously horrible. One avid pro-abortion advocate wrote that while abortion should be legal for any reason, he “frowns” on those who would allow discrimination against a person with a mental handicap–as if a frowny face of moral disapproval somehow means anything in the face of this kind of twisted thinking.
The culture of death is not supposed to be that open about its evil, but Dawkins was. And he did receive a lot of criticism from atheists, despite the fact (or because of the fact) that he was simply being consistent with his atheistic world view. Given no moral absolutes, then why not kill? But for me I didn’t get caught up in the logic of the thing. Instead, my mind went to the lady who had served me at lunch.
I am so glad her mom didn’t kill her.
In a perfect world Down Syndrome would not exist, just like cancer, Lyme’s disease and even sin. But we don’t live in a perfect world, and we must trust The Lord with whichever trial God allows in our lives.
I don’t want to minimize the struggle that parents with children who have Down Syndrome go through. But I have known many families with someone with DS, and have never met any that wished they would have followed Dawkins’s evil advice.
But it is not enough to simply not kill babies with DS. Instead Christians should be faithful to evangelize them.
I’m not certain what heaven will be like in every regard, but I’m sure that there will be people there who had Down Syndrome on earth.
Please Pray for the salvation of the girl I met Chik-Fil-A. She now knows the gospel, and pray that the Lord would use it to open her eyes to the truth. And the next time you meet someone with Down Syndrome, give them a hug and tell them about Jesus–He is their savior too.