In the natural world stronger animals defeat and often eat weaker ones. In oceans and rivers, on mountains and hills, across deserts and plains, throughout the air and sky—this deadly story plays out again and again with different actors. The dead rabbit on the suburban lawn, missing the larger part of its body, is a reminder that in the animal world the strong are pursuing the weak every minute of every day. No wonder nature is described as “red in tooth and claw.”
A majority of us reject the strong-dog-eats-weak-rabbit ethic. We build political barricades around the weak. Legal barriers are placed in front of those who would attempt to breech them. Moral walls are added. Spiritual reinforcements follow. All of this is done to protect the weak from the “tooth and claw” the strong might unleash on them. Such protections are a sign of civilizational decency—and respect.
Unfortunately, as many of our institutions unravel, powerful leaders are becoming overly confident. They appear to be more ready, willing, and able to exercise unbridled authority, more determined to get their way, less likely to be deterred by checks and balances, less respectful of those with little status and power.
This is evident throughout American society.
Federal agencies set aside their legislated, established mandates and take direction instead from cynical politicians. The FBI’s motto “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity” suggests virtuous self-restraint; however, under current leadership, agents willingly do the bidding of higher-ups—the rule of law be damned. So, for example, they crush pro-life protesters, who should be of no concern whatsoever to federal law enforcement.
This kind of bullying can be seen among religious groups. Protestant denominations, for instance, have divided and continue to divide. Disturbed by challenges to their power, too often denominational elites make it difficult for small congregations to break away. Sometimes elites will close the small churches’ doors rather than permit them to “get out of Dodge.”
Crime in the streets is another dramatic indication that the strong are pushing around and beating down the weak. Too often the bullies’ lawlessness is made deadly by guns and knives.
And, unbelievably, teachers, counselors, school administrators, and medical personnel are advising children—with or without the approval of parents—to seek gender-altering drugs and surgeries. Today, the strong guide, and harm, the weak who are entrusted to their care.
Some public figures speak as if all of America can be divided into the strong and the weak. In their telling, the strong are white, male, heterosexual; the weak are non-white, female, LGBTQIA+-affirming. Sympathetic social support, they insist, should always go to those they identify as needing it.
However, this oversimplified take on American society misses the most horrific exploitation of the weak by the strong—what happens in abortion. In an abortion, those who are strong—who have names, standing, status—act against nameless little ones who have nothing. All the little ones have is total dependence upon their mothers. In the matter of abortion, the strong do not just defeat the weak, they remove the weak from the world of the living and destroy the evidence.
Protect the weak. That is what Christians, faithful to the Lord of Life, do.