Did you notice that? The surge of panic that rushed across America last week as Zika popped up on our screens has already slowed. There are some lingering articles, but the panic has drastically died down.
And I can’t help but sit here with the uncomfortable feeling that we’ve done it again.
Done what again? Well, take something big and scary and put it on another group of humans far removed from us and point and say “we don’t want that here!”
We’ve essentially de-humanized suffering persons and reduced them to a condition that is proof of panic because we’d hate to turn out like that.
Don’t believe me? Watch….
EBOLA (those contaminated Africans). MEASLES (those filthy non-vaxxers). ZIKA (those terrifying disabled babies).
We’ve become so accustomed to our neat and sanitary way of American living that we’ve forgotten we are first Christians.
Two things come to mind every time I see the news images of babies with microcephaly:
1. They are using the suffering of these poor babies as a manipulation tool to make people afraid.
2. These babies are being lovingly held by the arms of their parents.
And that’s when it hit me that our hearts need adjusting more than our mosquito control plan. These babies aren’t a disgusting defect or terrifying disfigurement of what was once a child. These are beautiful creations of God, intrinsically good, and worthy of love simply because they exist.
I’d venture to guess almost all the babies born with this defect are deeply loved. How would I know? Because I had a nephew severely disabled and my family loved him more than you could ever imagine. And I could share hundreds of stories like mine. Most families with a disabled child are madly in love and wouldn’t have them any other way.
Whether Zika caused these defects or not, these children with microcephaly are persons. They matter. They matter more than the ridiculously low chance you have of getting bit by a Zika carrying mosquito in the dead of winter and having a baby born with the same defect. It’s reminded me to take a break from researching bug spray and actually stop and pray for these children and their families.
I agree we need to find the cause. I don’t want any baby to have to suffer or family to have to carry this burden. I’m not saying we should just let them suffer. All I am saying is that our response to tragedies in the world should be more Christan and less fear based. And I’m grateful to Zika for reminding me of that.