Thursday, July 18, 2013

A response to Sal’s “Creationist support of eugenics and genocide in the past” - Denyse O'Leary

I posted this this morning at Uncommon Descent, and it features the work of another Canadian  Christian writer, Jane Harris Zsovan:

Thanks, Sal, for excellent sleuthing of creationist who supported eugenics.

It’s surprising, on the face of it, that any creationist would adopt eugenics; that amounts to saying that God regularly makes mistakes about the sort of people he creates.

That’s entirely different from saying that God regularly creates people we wish he hadn’t. His choice doesn’t make them a mistake because the world is not organized mainly to please us. J.R.R. Tolkien touches on this theme with the character Gollum in The Lord of the Rings. Everyone hates Gollum for good reason, even himself probably. But …
Frodo: It's a pity Bilbo didn't kill him when he had the chance.
Gandalf: Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo's hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet, for good or ill before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.
And so it proved.

The same would apply to dealing out sterilization. Not all creationists got the memo, it seems.

This area was actually documented here at UD a couple of years ago, in our interview series (links appended below) with Jane Harris, author of Eugenics and the Firewall, about the eugenics-based compulsory sterilization program in the Canadian province of Alberta, a program that was not actually abolished until the early 1970s:
Eugenics was widely accepted by the business, academic, medical and political establishment. Preachers – in evangelical and mainline churches – even preached it from the pulpit. One exception: Roman Catholics. And they were ridiculed for their ‘backwardness’ in not endorsing eugenic theory. Also, the Conservative Party in Alberta was the only party to consistently refuse to support eugenics legislation in Alberta after it was introduced.
Most of the lay folk who spearheaded such programs across North America were probably, in some conventional sense, creationists. It is fortunate that most creationists were far more concerned with improving sanitation and medical care, which did far more for the health of the population than eugenics ever could.

Eugenics and the Firewall: Interview with Jane Harris Zsovan I
Eugenics and the Firewall: Interview with Jane Harris Zsovan II
Eugenics and the Firewall: Interview with Jane Harris Zsovan III

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Interesting and informative interviews with Jane, Denyse.
Great work.
It's so true that in order to learn from the mistakes of the past we need to know what they are and acknowledge them. ~~+~~

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