Professor June Andrews, a former Scottish government official thinks that a coronavirus pandemic would be ‘quite useful’ in killing off hospital bed blockers. Bed blockers being the elderly in our community.
Telegraph journalist, Jeremey Warner, says that killing off the elderly could have a positive impact on the economy.
And, Dr Chris Luke1 of University College in Cork, Ireland, tells us it’s time to ask, “Are we going to prioritise intensive unit care of the young and productive as opposed to the elderly?”
In response to these moral dilemmas, Yascha Mounk, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University, writes, “I must admit that I have no moral judgment to make… I have not the first clue whether they are recommending the right or the wrong thing.”
There is nothing like a crisis to expose the vacuous and anchorless morality of our current culture.
By contrast, the Christian has both a fixed compass and a standard of morality that anchors the soul in times of crisis.
One of those anchors has to do with the believer’s priority when it comes to expressing love for our neighbour. From cover to cover it is not the strong and most productive people who are the immediate subject of charity and care.
It is the traveller (distant from his usual means of provision. cf, Job 31:32), the orphan (who lacks support. cf, Deuteronomy 14:29 ), and the elderly (who have no means. cf, James 1:27).
If I have withheld anything that the poor desired, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or have eaten my morsel alone, and the fatherless has not eaten of it… if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing or the needy without covering… if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep…
… then let my shoulder fall from my body, and let my arm be broken from its socket. (Job 31:16-22)
Dr Chris Luke believes we need to weigh up, “caring for people over the age of 75 versus caring for those in peak productively in terms of the state and social contract.”
As Christians, we have already signed on to another contract under the authority of another state. We are citizens of heaven and in Covenant with God through Jesus Christ.
This means that, as far as it depends on us, we will honour the temporary state under which we temporarily live. But we will not invert the word of God or abandon the Eternal Covenant we have with our Saviour. Instead,
We will rise up before the grey head and honour the face of the elderly, and so we shall fear our God (Leviticus 19:32)
This is what it means to be dead to the world and alive to Christ. This is where the gospel finds its hands and feet. As Christians, we are free to love and honour the aged and vulnerable among us without fear.
Look around. Who in your street or in your community need help to get the essentials? Who needs transport, medical support, food and friendship right now? Who among us has the least access to these things that we, the strong, take for granted?
What are their names and how can we honour those from whose hands we have inherited unnumbered blessings?
Whether they be the elderly in our midst, travellers, strangers, mothers, grandmothers, great grandfathers or widows without means, let us honour them by putting them ahead of ourselves. If not, our damnation will be completely justified (Deuteronomy 27:19).
1 Dr Chris Luke is an emergency medicine consultant and senior adjunct lecturer in public health at University College in Cork, Ireland. This quote was taken from an interview on RTE Radio 1 on the 8th of March, 2020.