The Greater Good

Have you heard the phrase, “the greater good”? It refers to choices for the good of society, the good of a nation, outweighing individual rights. A high priest once spoke about the greater good for Israel.

Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up. “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” [John 11: 49-50] He was referring to Jesus.

There are two assumptions in Caiaphas’ statement. While it is true that the Romans were oppressing the people of Israel and there were outbursts of violence, the whole nation was not at risk of extinction. Or was he worried about the hierarchy? The priests and Sanhedrin?  

Next, he was assuming that the death of Jesus would solve the political unrest. He assumed the death of one man would be a simple solution for a complex situation.

Yet, Jesus chose to suffer and sacrifice his life to complete God’s plan of salvation. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross did not give the result that Caiaphas expected. It did not save the governing status quo. Jesus died and arose three days later to save individuals. Before his crucifixion he said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” [John 11:25]

Jesus was always concerned about the individual. He engaged with people that were despised: lepers, tax collectors, the Samaritan woman. He told the parable of the Lost Sheep as recorded in Matthew’s gospel. He spoke about the value of every child.

See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. Matthew 18: 10-14 

I am reminded of what happened in Germany leading up to WWII. The Nazi government decided that individual rights stood in the way of building a great society. Louise Fein wrote a well-researched novel, Daughter of the Reich. The story begins in 1933, at the start of the Third Reich. As the government became more and more authoritarian, the liberty of the people was increasingly limited. The Jewish people were separated from society and terrorized. It is a haunting tale. 

The determination of “the greater good” can be based on a false premise. It can be a power grab. It can involve deception. We should learn from history.

Our leaders need wisdom from God. We need to pray for our country. God is greater than the “greater good”.

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The above illustration is The Good Shepherd painted by Ruth Owen Pook. Photograph by DTGrandfield83, CC BY-SA 4.0  via Wikimedia Commons

The Hidden Child: Book Review

Whenever I visit the library, I check the display of new books. Recently The Hidden Child by Louise Fein caught my eye.

The Hidden Child

This historical novel, set in the 1920s, tells a story that connects the eugenics movement and the plight of a child with epilepsy. (Eugenics is a theory that the human race can be improved by preventing people with bad genes from giving birth.) Eleanor, Edward and their daughter, Mabel, live near London in England. Mabel is four years old when the story begins and by the time she is five she is having seizures.

The author researched epilepsy colonies in England and the Eugenics Society led by men in the United States and England. The goal of this society was to form a more ideal population and to limit the growth of population. With this in mind colonies of people with epilepsy and those considered “feeble-minded” were organized. If legislation could be passed, these people would be sterilized. 

The book is well written and thought provoking. Louise Fein has personal insight into the treatment of epilepsy because her daughter was treated for it. The author is telling a mother’s story, and as it unfolds, Eleanor’s growing courage and advocacy for Mabel is heartwarming.

While the main characters are fictional, historical characters are included. The case of Carrie Buck is mentioned in passing and I decided to check it out. Buck v. Bell was a Supreme Court case decided in 1927. Virginia had passed a law allowing forced sterilization of the “feeble-minded”. The Supreme Court upheld the law.

On May 2 of that year the court ruled that Virginia’s law was constitutional and that Buck should be sterilized. In the majority opinion Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes enthusiastically declared that the “principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes.” In an oft-quoted phrase, he concluded that “three generations of imbeciles are enough.” Consequently, Buck and approximately 8,300 other Virginians, including her younger half sister, were sterilized under the state law between 1927 and 1972. 

It is true that the state of Massachusetts passed a vaccine mandate for small pox that was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1905 (Jacobson v. Massachusetts). Persons that refused the vaccine were fined $5.00.

In 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court voted seven to two in favor of the state, ruling that although the state could not pass laws requiring vaccination in order to protect an individual, it could do so to protect the public in the case of a dangerous communicable disease.

The underlying belief is collectivism. In order to serve the greater good, individual liberty and health choice is sacrificed.

The discussion of vaccine mandates is back. In this situation the vaccine does not protect the public from the virus. Both the vaccinated and unvaccinated can become infected and transmit the disease.

I recently listened to a discussion of the inadequate safety testing of the Pfizer vaccine and the information that is hidden in the fine print of the vaccine trial documents. I am alarmed. You can hear the discussion of the Canadian Covid Care Alliance on Rumble.

In these trying time we truly need wisdom from God. I find comfort in this scripture verse. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

Join me in praying for the Supreme Court Justices. May they seek wisdom from God.

On my trip to the library today I picked up Louise Fein’s earlier book, Daughter of the Reich.

Updated: 1/10/2022

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