Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Did you know that? I didn't. Until today. When I googled it I didn't find many major news sources covering it. I happened to find it on a NY Times Op ed. So what exactly are we remembering today?
"On 27 January 1945, the advancing Soviet army entered the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp complex, liberating more than 7000 remaining prisoners, for the most part ill or dying. Days earlier, the SS had forced nearly 60,000 prisoners to evacuate the camp and embark on the infamous 'Death Marches' in which many thousands lost their lives. In 2005, the UN General Assembly designated 27 January as the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, the day upon which, every year, the world would mark and remember the Holocaust and its victims." (source)
Basically we are remembering the horrific genocide of an entire race of people that happened little over 60 years ago. Monuments and museums have been built to remember this atrocity. The world has consistently said "Never Again!" But unfortunately the world has not lived up to their "never again" promise. The opinion piece I mentioned above talks about dangers currently looming in the Ivory Coast as well as Sudan. Not to mention atrocities we've watched happen since the Holocaust, in Cambodia (watch the Killing Fields), Rwanda (watch Hotel Rwanda) and the Balkans. This opinion writer mentions progress made and possible solutions to these looming genocides, including the work of the UN, the White House and NGO's. I agree. I've seen first hand the help that both governmental and nongovernmental organizations can provide. They both have the potential to save lives. However...
When I think about these atrocities taking place and dig deep into the underlying reasons, I ask myself why. How can man take the lives of other innocent human beings, by the thousands, and in most cases not feel guilty about it? It boggles my mind. Holocaust era movies fascinate me, such as Schindler's List and The Boy in Striped Pajamas, because I cannot fathom how this could have happened.
Then I realized.
If man places no value on life... if we were not created in the image of an Almighty God, placed on this earth for a reason and purpose... then there is nothing wrong with taking the life of another human being. It comes down to the sanctity of life. The inherent value given us by our Creator.
As we celebrated the Sanctity of Life this past Sunday all across America, I thought back to a few years ago when I had the opportunity to visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. It was quite the enlightening and emotional experience. Something that stood out to me were piles of shoes that belonged to these precious people. Not only that, but the hair that belonged to them, that was shaved off their heads.
And then I thought about a new born baby. A baby that is born with a head full of hair. What if we took the hair of all the babies that we have sacrificed because they were inconvenient, and put it in a pile? 50 million to be exact. How large would that pile of hair be?
The world has said "never again," yet we watch genocide happening not only in other countries, but in our own, masked in the disguise of "pro-choice."
Though the UN, White House and NGO's are doing their best to prevent genocide, the real change begins in ourselves, in our homes, in our communities. When we enter into a passionate relationship with Jesus Christ and see life as he sees it... precious. When we have the courage to go into under developed nations and proclaim the gospel. When we have the courage to go into our own neighborhood and share about the abundant life we have through Christ.
So on this day, as we remember the hundreds of thousands who were killed during the holocaust, let's not sit back and do nothing. Let's put our words into action when we say, "never again," by petitioning our God on behalf of our families, our community, our country and our world.