September/October, 1999 Volume XIII Number 8

A log in our own eye

By Earnie

Not long ago, a southern California teenage boy hideously murdered a little girl. It occurred at a state line Nevada casino. Another teenage boy – a friend of the murderer, passively watched the commission of the crime and would not reveal what he saw to anyone. The murderer found himself surrounded by a society of head shakers and finger pointers whose usual verbal response was something like, “Can you believe this?” . . . or “Just when you think you’ve heard it all!” . . . or “What’s happening to our society?”
On the other hand, the friend of the murderer, who passively watched and did not report anything he saw until too much time had passed, was vilified for his hideous behavior even more so than was the actual murderer. Society seemed appalled that this “passive” person would not help or intervene on behalf of the person being murdered, and would “keep secret” his knowledge of the facts. Part of the public outrage and outcry suggested that he (the passive one) should be held in some criminal way, accountable for his shortcomings; i.e. “hideous-passivity.”
After considerable scrutiny, expressions of disappointment and disbelief reverberated throughout the radio and TV airwaves — not to mention the print media when it was learned that the “passive one” had violated no law. And in response to these expressions, movements to remedy by criminalizing this sort of passivity or act of omission in the years to come, were swirling into formation. Ah, but the inspiration to legislate quickly fizzled, and for all of the “normally expected” reasons:

(1) The memory of the horrible event quickly faded due to the absence of a trial. A trial was avoided because a plea bargain was struck guaranteeing sufficient leniency acceptable to the murderer, and enough justice for “the people” to assuage any so-called societal pain. We are after-all, a people who like to think of ourselves as having some sense of righteousness. The murder was solved and the “legal-deal” (plea-bargain) was consummated. Almost as quickly, the perpetrator of the murder was placed in his cell and out of our sight;
(2) Shortly after her death, the murdered child was dropped into her grave, and again, out of everyone’s sight. (Could this possibly have any relation to the cliché acute, “out of sight, out of mind”?)

Cut! Chase! The log!
Let us pretend for a moment, the above episode had not passed so quickly and “passivity” similar to that which is described here, became a crime. This could be a frightful message to send, especially to many who believe that “in-utero child murder” or the murder of a baby while he or she is being born (“ab . . . tion”) is, shall we say for our sensitive friends, “less than ethical” (a euphemism for wrong).
More specifically, criminalization of this sort would be society’s collective statement of belief that this sort of passivity is wrong or hideous. As a result of such legislation, the consequence to this non-action (hideous passivity), person/s accused of having engaged in this crime of omission would be dealt with in the criminal justice system. (“Ah” – again – doesn’t the scripture most quoted lately just jump to the fore?
But we as a society did not rush to criminalize passivity (after our initial natural “rush to judge the passive young man”), so we are safe!! Wow! That was a close one. We are safe in our minds because we did not criminalize this behavior (or act of omission). Most people with any conscience at all will see clearly that we ourselves, routinely behaves as did this young man; only “day-in and day-out”!
How is this possible? We commit this same act and level of hideous passivity as did the young man mentioned in the murder episode. We do it in the face of daily surgical acts of premeditated deliberate” murder of thousands of youngsters by parents and “doctors.”
Most would argue of course, that this killing is done with “mercy-aforethought.” If the “anti-passivity-law” had been “born” instead of “aborted,” some may have argued that God, Himself would eventually assent to the idea of “wrongness” regarding “criminal passivity” in the face of evil.
Many believers assume that God follows our lead. It is assumed that He will not hold society accountable for allowing evil acts as measures necessary for “the good of all.” Some believe that God suspends and perhaps even repeals some of His own laws for us. Some will argue that after all, God understands our dilemmas and will surely make allowances for how we collectively decide to “move forward” or “move on.”
Since there was no rush to legislate “anti-passivity” ordinances, everyone (moral) can breathe a little easier. We, in effect, can remain passive about child killing.
This acceptable “hideous passivity” within the so-called moral portion of society, is seen by God.
The minimal effort to fight abortion at arms length by talking, writing, voting and praying it away without ever calling for the collective “moral” portion of society to put itself at some level of risk to stop the slaughter needs to be explained. Sooner or later, God will demand it from us.
And then there is the so-called moral portion of society; pastors, priests, bishops and popes who not only fail to call the faithful into action, but compound their own level of hideous passivity by failing to talk about it at all.
News flash, we will be.

Alcohol, Abortion Law and a Sad Little Girl
Hugh Finn's death:
A log in our own eye
When rhetoric comes back to bite you

Copyright © 1999 AFLM