Welcome to Auschwitz


Living near the busiest airport in the world has its benefits. It is easy to explore the world whether for work or pleasure. I have visited nearly every state in our country and 40 others around the world.

Occasionally when I am traveling for work I take my children with me. Not every place we have traveled has been fun, but every destination has provided a learning and growing opportunity for them. I do my best to maximize those opportunities.

A small town in southern Poland I have visited often has afforded an unparalleled learning and growth experience for my two oldest. Perhaps you have learned important lessons from this town, too. A certain belief about humans is starkly modeled in this town unlike others.

You see, in some societies people actually believe that some people are more valuable than other people. They don’t believe that every human being is a deliberate, custom creation of God and so are equally and inherently valuable.

Some of these societies have treated those who are very young, old, unintelligent, infirm, disabled, weak, or those from the wrong religion or ethnic heritage as less valuable than the strong, able, intelligent, and those from the right heritage or religion.

Those societies who persisted in this way of thinking inevitably perpetrated some of the greatest horrors in human history. In the 20th century, tens of millions of the less valuable were exterminated by communist revolutions in the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, and Cuba, to name a few. The infamous society that got the most press, though, for treating some of its citizens as less valuable than others is Nazi Germany.

In September 1940, the Germans invaded Poland. In the little Polish town of Oswiecim — the Germans called it Auschwitz — you can still see what happens when a society considers others as inferior, subhuman, and less valuable.

I have stood with my children before the electrified barbed wire fences. We have seen the collection of shoes, teeth, personal care items, and even human hair stripped from the less valuable, and stored in vast warehouses for use by German industry and military.

We were speechless as we looked on the ruins of the gas chambers, the incinerators, and the huge open pits that still contain the ashes of the less valuable.

It was a learning experience for sure. It is also a sobering reminder that we must never treat some people as inferior and less valuable than others. We must never allow such atrocities to occur again.

Of course, most of us know about Auschwitz and the various ideologies like Nazism that lead to hideous barbarism. We think we are enlightened enough that it would not happen in our world today, especially in America. I only wish that were true.

While I have lived in Georgia for 25 years, I am originally from a small town in Oregon. Near where I grew up is the Covanta power plant in Marion County. It is an innovative piece of technology where solid waste is incinerated to generate electricity rather than going into landfills. It takes in garbage from not just western Oregon, but from all over the Northwest. The Covanta waste-to-power facility is a big help in keeping the Northwest clean. Environmentally sensitive Oregonians love it — well, until last week.

It seems that some of the garbage imported from around the Northwest comes from British Columbia, including refuse from the B.C. Health Ministry. Covanta has been processing their garbage for years, and Oregonians benefit from lower electric rates.

Last week the B.C. Health Ministry finally admitted that some of their garbage is biomedical waste. The crates of biomedical waste include “human tissue, such as surgically removed cancerous tissue, amputated limbs, and fetal tissue,” according to a Ministry spokesman.

That’s right. Aborted babies from Canada are not just being discarded as waste. They are being incinerated to generate power. Even the Nazis didn’t think of that!

The very act of abortion is treating one human being (the mother) as superior or more valuable than another (the child within her). The exact same ideology that leads to Auschwitz is alive and well in America.

KGW-TV in Portland reports now that Marion County officials know what is in the crates, they have stopped burning Canadian biomedical waste. That gives me little comfort.

What other less valuable citizens will be next? Don’t tell me it can’t happen here. It already is — in Marion County, Oregon!

If humans are nothing more than highly evolved animals, we inevitably will treat some as inferior and less valuable than others. If all humans regardless of their age, race, sex, intelligence, or capacity are not equally and inherently valuable because they are made by God — well, all I can say is, “Welcome to Auschwitz. Have a nice day!”

[David Richardson of Peachtree City is the executive director of The Assumptions Project. He has a master’s degree from Oxford University, and is a university consultant in education and culture. He is a recognized expert on the religious attitudes and beliefs of university professors. He, his wife and children have lived in Fayette County for more than two decades.]