The Slaughter of Innocents

Tis the season when we think about the visit of the Magi, more or less religious scientists back in that day, to the infant or toddler Jesus.  It’s hard to tell from the story in the Bible exactly where they found Jesus or when they found him. As it goes, they followed a star to somewhere but we don’t know exactly where. If it wasn’t Bethlehem, we are assured at least that they let King Herod think it was Bethlehem.

All that aside, the horrible conclusion to the story of the visit of the “Wise Men” was the political murder of an untold number of infants in the hope that one of them would be Jesus. In Christian history it’s called the Slaughter of the Innocents. It’s a devastating conclusion to an otherwise pretty, almost romantic, story and it makes me ask if it would have been better if the wise men had never come at all. That way the children could have lived.

Anyway, my years of being close to many homeless families have taught me that the great tragedy in our country today is the mental, emotional, spiritual, and in some cases physical slaughter of many more innocents than in Bible times. Homelessness affects children in all the above disastrous ways.  In a country as rich as ours, the number of homeless children (and it is a rapidly growing number) could be the devastating conclusion to the story of a once great nation whose politics allowed this to go on. It shouldn’t be this way.

I often think it wouldn’t be nice (nice is not the right word, but…) if organized religion in the USA, as powerful and influential as it is, would take on the challenge of pronouncing the official end of this modern day slaughter of the innocents, and do all in its power to intervene in the lives of children being crushed by homelessness and its attendant cruelties. If organized religion would just do that one thing, if need be at the expense of new buildings and the like, it might be at the risk of its own survival. Maybe churches would go bankrupt trying to intervene in the slaughter of our innocents, and it would be the end of them; but it would be a great way to go.


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