Pastors Speak


Columbine High School - Littleton Colorado

Violence: The Fruit of Abortion

I am sure all of us have been affected in some way by the horrific tragedy that occurred at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado (April 1999). Certainly, our entire country grieves at the death of the many High School teens and faculty who were victims of meaningless violence. Sadly, the lives of 13 people were taken away by the bullets of 2 Columbine students; who in the end, took their own lives by committing suicide.

"This tragedy is an outrage", cries the public! . . . "These teens were innocent young men, and women who had their whole lives ahead of them." . . . "They will never have the opportunity to enjoy adulthood, and the wonders of life." . . . "There must be something done to curb this violence!" These types of comments, along with many others, are surfacing in our nation, as our country cries out in disgust and frustration."What are we to do?", we now ask of each other.

I am convinced that the answer to "What are we to do?" is rooted in the current situation in our country that permits and encourages "legalized abortion". Whether we realize it or not, "legalized abortion" attributes to the great loss of "respect for life" which shows its ugly face in so many ways in our country. The shooting at Columbine High is one of these "ugly faces".

Sadly, as "legalized abortion" continues, Pope John Paul II says, "There will be a darkening of our conscience, making it increasingly difficult to distinguish between right and wrong, - especially in regard to the respect of human life".

Is it a wonder that when mothers are able to freely kill innocent babies within their wombs, that others will also begin to think, "it is all right to kill innocent human beings?" Is it a wonder that when a child in a mother's womb is treated as an "object" instead of a "person", that other people in turn, will begin to treat others as "objects", using them only as a "means" to accomplish some end?

"What are we to do about this violence?", cries our nation.

In order to "curb violence" and protect innocent lives, our nation must come to understand that every individual is known and loved by God; that every individual has been willed by God and made in His image and likeness; that "human life" is under the special protection of God; and as a result - that every individual must be afforded the first and most fundamental of all human rights - the right to life.

Unfortunately, however, when the murder of an innocent human being is called a "right", as it is now with "legalized abortion", we lose sight of the fact that life is a gift from God, and thereby fail to affirm each person as an individual. Such blindness makes it difficult to "love ourselves". For how can we truly "love ourselves", if we do not think of ourselves as special persons, created and endowed with worth and dignity by God?

Another grave consequence of allowing legalized abortion in our country is that we have created an impersonal environment that makes it extremely difficult for individuals to reach out and truly "love others". If we do not comprehend that we ourselves - as individuals - are precious, have value, dignity, and worth; and are deserving to be treated with love and respect, how can we expect members of our society to treat each other the same way?

Clearly, legalized abortion has engendered in many of us a self-demeaning mentality that we have little or "no self-worth". This mentality, I believe, shines through in the tragic events that took place at Columbine High School. The two shooters, by their actions, revealed that they had little respect for themselves, or for their classmates and faculty!

Would things have been different if the shooters realized that they and their classmates were beloved children of God, loved by Him, and created with an incomparable value and worth? Might this violence have been avoided if the shooters were affirmed and loved more fully?

One thing is certain. If violence is to be overcome, there must be a new purity of heart! There must be an increased realization that the human person, regardless of one's size, health, age, gender, or color, has value because of the simple fact that each man and woman is a person created by God.

When the sanctity of human life is privileged and when our current laws regarding abortion are overturned, we will have a real chance to be able to realize and believe in the dignity of our own humanity, and to be able to love others. Only then will violence be curbed. However, given our present laws regarding abortion, we are a long way from acquiring such sanctity.

"This tragedy is an outrage", cries the public! "These teens were innocent young men, and women who had their whole lives ahead of them." Should not our nation be shouting similar words every time an innocent child becomes a victim of violence through the abortion industry? Should not our nation be promoting through its legislation the belief that all life is sacred, especially the most innocent -- the unborn?

Focusing solely on gun laws, the makeup of the mass media, or even inter-group hostility, will not bring about a significant reduction of violence in America. The problem is more generic than this. Our culture currently denies us the fundamental right to life. Such disrespect must be changed!

As we approach the new millennium, we must be persons who will bring about change if peace is to replace violence. Everyday, each of us has opportunities to help our friends, family, neighbors, and co- workers, come to know and appreciate the Truth about the "gift of life". Let us not waste these precious opportunities to proclaim that each individual, especially the unborn, has great dignity and worth as a person created and loved by God. With reverence and gentleness, may we always be ready through example to give an explanation why every individual must be afforded the right to life!

I pray that we'll go out and make a difference! Let's help everyone come to know and understand the Truth, -- that all peoples, especially the unborn, are loved by God, that they have great worth and dignity, having been created in His image and likeness, and that they have the right to life! I pray that the tragedy in at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado will lead our nation to reflect upon seriously, and ask ourselves some important questions concerning "Legalized Abortion":

1. How many people in our country are currently crying out in pain and sorrow every time an innocent baby is aborted? 
2. How many news agencies, politicians, parents, and town meetings are gathering together, discussing how "there must be something done to stop this horrible violence that is occurring in the womb of mothers?" 
3. How many of us are crying out in sadness saying, "these "young ones" will never have the opportunity to live to enjoy adulthood and the wonders of life?

It's a shame that our country does not act in response to the loss of "innocent life" that comes as a result of abortion, as we have been in regard to the recent tragedy at Columbine high school. Is there really any difference between these two acts of violence? If we're honest, we'll answer "No".

Certainly the age of the victims is different, but nevertheless, an innocent human being's life is being taken away by one who is so often selfish, or angry. Selfish - about their own wants and desires. Angry - at the situation one is in, and determined to do something about it. In both cases, the innocent victims are helpless to defend themselves against such violent force, and they are both not done anything to deserve this unjust treatment.

Perhaps this quote from a post-war German citizen will make my point:

"When they came for the Poles, I said nothing, for I was not a Pole. 
When they came for the Gypsies, I said nothing, for I was not a Gypsy. 
When they came for the Jews, I said nothing, for I was not a Jew. 
When they came for me, no one said anything, for there was no one left."

Fr. Bowan Schmitt

Associate Pastor of St. Thomas Church in Peoria, IL 05/99