When it's no longer alright to defend life

(Photo: Unsplash)

Time was when the defence of life was regarded as something natural and noble. Whether defending the vulnerable from oppression and attack, standing out against totalitarian regimes, building a bulwark against terrorism, or fighting to preserve the life of the unborn, society celebrated those who sought to protect and rescue those less able to protect themselves.

But not anymore, it appears.

The precipitous pull-out from Afghanistan by the US, heralded by US President Joe Biden as a triumph, is rightly seen more widely as a humiliating defeat. The Taliban are euphorically back in power, and reportedly have promised to turn the Bagram airbase into 'a terrorist training ground to defeat the West by jihad'.

So, arguably, the West is now far weaker and more exposed than it was twenty years ago – but, in Biden world, that seems to be just fine. To borrow a catchphrase from the President's predecessor, Donald Trump: America first. But with the added spin that, under Biden, America is relinquishing its position as 'leader of the world', to focus on its own narrow self-interest ⎼ and let the devil take the hindermost!

Unquestionably, this ill-judged and chaotic withdrawal has made the world a far less safe place, turning the world upside down as Western nations scrabble to save face and preserve their assets. In truth, the helter-skelter evacuation has turned out to be not 'withdrawal', but ignominious defeat, leaving the Taliban euphoric victors in a country they have always claimed as their own.

But this is not just a criticism of Biden – rather, it is a criticism levelled against all of us. Because in the 21st century, sadly, it seems we no longer esteem nobility, duty, self-sacrifice, responsibility for others (including, but not limited to, the disadvantaged and vulnerable).

We no longer uphold truth and righteousness. Instead, we prioritise our own interests and satisfactions over anything and everything that might intrude. 'It's my human right,' we say. 'I deserve to be happy, rich, fulfilled ... '. Or whatever it is we want to claim – just fill in the blank. The point is, the interests, safety, and wellbeing of others cannot be allowed to interfere with our own short-term self-interest.

And of course, nowhere is this more apparent than in our attitude towards the unborn. Abortion is a woman's right, we say. She has an absolute right to choose whether or not she wants to house a parasite for nine months. And if she doesn't, then who are we to question her decision to end its life?

This duplicitous assertion of publicly acknowledged righteousness surfaced again last week when, in a triumph of woke supremacy, the University of Nottingham blocked the appointment of Catholic priest Father David Palmer as university chaplain. The reason? Father Palmer had expressed the altogether despicable view, on social media, that abortion was the slaughter of babies, and that assisted dying was nothing less than a licence to kill the vulnerable.

Now there will be many people of faith, of course, who will agree with Father Palmer's views, and applaud his courage in standing up and saying something. But, to the University, such opinions in these enlightened times cross the bounds of what is deemed acceptable. The god of self-interest prevails.

But again, as with the unintended but entirely foreseeable effects of US withdrawal from Afghanistan – which, let's face it, became a rout ⎼ the consequences of Nottingham's position can only be profoundly detrimental to the longer-term interests of society.

It's not rocket science. The unthinking acceptance of abortion for what are termed 'social' reasons is leading to a major demographic crisis; not just in this country, but worldwide. To spell it out, for any society to survive, there needs to be at least a 2.1 replacement rate for every woman within that society. In the UK, the fertility rate per woman currently stands at 1.7, and is falling. Elsewhere in the world, in countries such as Canada (1.5), Italy (1.3) and Japan (1.4), it is even lower. At one point, during the pandemic, in certain regions of China, the fertility rate reportedly fell to 0.98.

The truth is, that by our easy acceptance and promotion of abortion, we are slowly but surely killing off the human race. Nottingham University would do well to consider this and, far from dismissing Father Palmer, they should be applauding his courage and supporting him to the hilt.

And Joe Biden would do well to remember that America cannot simply pull up the drawbridge and thereby insulate itself from further attack. There will be repercussions that will endanger us all.

Humanity as a whole is in crisis. For the survival of all we hold good – and indeed for the survival of the human race – it is urgent we recover that sense of duty and responsibility we have lost; and that we seek to serve the greater good.

Rev Lynda Rose is founder of Voice for Justice UK, a group which works to uphold the moral values of the Bible in society.