How Christianity Makes Sense of This Gerber Baby
A recent Washington Post article celebrated Lucas Warren being named as the 2018 Gerber baby. Every year, the Gerber Products Company selects an infant “who best exemplifies Gerber’s long-standing heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby.”
What makes Lucas especially newsworthy is the fact that he has Down syndrome. Lucas is the first such baby to be selected for the honor. He’s a welcome reminder of the importance of a Christian worldview. In fact, Lucas’ very existence represents the Christian faith’s triumph in shaping our view of human dignity and identity.
Christianity and Sanctity of Life
Lucas’s selection could be viewed as a uniquely American choice. Other, more secular countries are setting aside the Christian notion that humans are designed in the image of God. As nations move away from a Christian view of human dignity and identity, more and more babies with Down syndrome are being aborted. In the United Kingdom, advanced screening allows parents to find out if their unborn babies will have Down syndrome as early as 10-14 weeks into their pregnancy. As a result, nearly 90 percent of Down syndrome babies are aborted in the U.K.
Iceland has become a prime example of a fading Christian worldview and a culture that increasingly aborts its Down syndrome babies. According to reports, “few countries have come as close to eradicating Down syndrome births as Iceland.” Most women in Iceland (close to 100 percent, according to the reports) abort their babies if their Down syndrome screening yields a positive result.
Iceland was once a Christian nation, but that has changed drastically in the last generation. “Twenty years ago, nearly 90 percent of all Icelanders were religious believers. Today, less than 50 percent are.” Icelanders seldom attend church to learn their Christian heritage and its worldview. Only 10 percent of Icelanders attend church on a monthly basis.
A recent survey stunningly revealed that none — none! — of these religious Icelanders believe that God created the Earth. It shouldn’t surprise us, then, to find Icelanders treating babies with Down syndrome as something other than God’s image-bearers.
Affirming a Christian Worldview
Christianity makes sense of Lucas’s selection, because Christians have a long heritage of recognizing that every baby is God’s baby.
When a culture takes Christianity seriously, it takes its babies seriously. That includes those born with Down syndrome. Americans have allowed a Christian worldview to shape our view of human dignity in the past.
But we may not be so inclined in the future. Abortion statistics for Down syndrome babies are rising in the United States. Far fewer such babies are aborted here than in the U.K., but a battlefield is developing. Ohio recently enacted a law “prohibiting doctors from performing abortions in cases where tests reveal the fetus has or likely has Down syndrome.” The ACLU has responded by filing a suit in Federal court.
The fate of babies with Down syndrome still hangs in the balance, even here in America. And the trajectory is heading in the wrong direction.
We can still celebrate Lucas Warren today though. When the Gerber Products Company says it has a “long-standing heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby,” it is actually affirming a Christian worldview — whether they realize it or not. Christianity makes sense of Lucas’ selection, because Christians have a lon heritage of recognizing that every baby is God’s baby. That’s still something to celebrate.
J. Warner Wallace is a cold-case detective, senior fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, adjunct professor of apologetics at Biola University, and author of Cold-Case Christianity, Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith Find him via the web, TV, podcast, speaking, Twitter or Facebook