Steve Heronemus

The Value Of Life

This will be hard. This may be controversial. This is certainly radical thinking and may spark arguments, but today I am going to write something that is truly central to who I am.
My last post was trolled for sympathizing with people being barred from entering the country. A few days ago I saw an interview with an administration adviser who, after being asked if it is right to keep children out of the country, turned the question around by asking the interviewer if he was willing to risk his children’s lives by permitting entry for the wrong person. That interview really set me off, but not just for the blatant fearmongering. Here’s why.
Behind the adviser’s question, and the interviewer’s answer, lurks a horrifying calculus: our children, our lives, are worth more than Theirs. The answer to the adviser’s question should be an unequivocal “Yes”.
I love my children. I love my wife. I love my extended family. I would do anything for them. But my life is no more valuable than that of a Syrian refugee’s. My children have no more worth than a Yemeni or Somali young adult. If I am unwilling to risk my life to save another’s, I am giving my life more value than that of that person.
As a Christian I am commanded to love all others as I love myself, and I am taught that there is no greater love than to lay down my life to save another. The immigration and refugee ban imposed by the administration, allegedly to spare our lives, is a direct affront to my religious belief.
This does not decrease the value of my life or my family’s; it elevates the value of others. People around the world are dying from persecution, from warfare, from hunger, disease, lack of education, and unequal status. Now people will die because of our policy, because of our fear, because of our lack of faith. I will not be quiet about this. 
Conservatives like to talk about religious freedom and American exceptionalism. Banning people from our freedoms because of their religion is exceptional only in its cowardice.