One of the reasons that the God of the Hebrews was special in the Old Testament is because this God did not ask people to practice child sacrifice.
The point of the story of “the sacrifice of Isaac” is that the God of Abraham was different. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son – which was not an unusual request considering that the Amorites worshipped Moloch and the Moabites worshipped Chemoth – both fans of human sacrifice. When God offered a replacement sacrifice, it was clear that this Deity was different. Child sacrifice was not okay with this God.
Early Christians were known for their generous treatment of widows and orphans in a culture known for casting widows and orphans out. Early Christians worshipped a God who would rather touch lepers, eat with pariahs, converse with unfamiliar women, and even turn water into wine before allowing the sick to suffer, the unpopular to be ostracized, the powerless to be disregarded, and even the wine-less to be shamed.
With Jesus, love was introduced as God’s superpower. And it becomes our superpower when we follow Jesus.
Love makes sacrifices for others.
But we are extremely confused today. Instead of making sacrifices for others, we have reverted to sacrificing others to benefit ourselves.
We choose to sacrifice our children for the sake of the gun lobby. We choose to sacrifice the poor for the sake of corporate profits. We choose to sacrifice people fleeing from war and abject poverty for the sake of people who chant for a wall.
We all deserve to go to hell if we don’t stand up and declare that child sacrifice is not okay. Via the prophet Isaiah, God said this:
When you stretch out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your doings
from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan,
plead for the widow.
I would like every local, state, and national politician – especially those who call themselves Christian – who has ever voted to choose corporate interests over the interests of children to read and re-read this and recognize that their hands are full of blood.
And our hands are full of blood if we do not vote these people out of office unless they make it impossible for anyone to purchase an assault weapon.
Remember when child sacrifice was not okay?
Image of the Moabite god Chemosh from Wikipedia. Also, this post was inspired by this excellent Garry Wills article written after the Sandy Hook shootings.