I’m pretty sure that we have all heard “Everything has a price” – as in: for the right price, anything can be bought or sold.
As I pondered that idea, I was reminded of a dialogue between a professor and fellow student in one of my history courses in college (a few years ago, wink wink). It went something like this:
Professor: Anything can be bought.
Student: Well, you can’t buy love.
Professor: Maybe. But for the right price, you can buy a pretty good imitation of it.
The class erupted in laughter, as the student conceded that the professor had a good point.
I think that memory moved to the forefront of my mind because I needed a light moment before tackling the really serious question that started my deliberation: How much is a human life worth? – $10 million, the EPA’s value of statistical life for 2016? a billion? $18 billion, the amount that the U.S. reportedly cleared in new arms deals with Saudi Arabia in 2017? a trillion? Or is it invaluable?
I choose the latter. I believe that life is a sacred gift from God; therefore, it is not to be treated like a cheap commodity. I believe that it is a mistake to disregard the value of human life, no matter what the circumstances.
I choose to respect and value my life and the lives of others. I believe the dignity of a human soul is worth more than any economic gain.
I was horrified when I heard an Evangelical leader say “you don’t blow up an international alliance over one person” in response to the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
I am not willing to give up my commitment to championing human rights for economic benefit. I am not okay with jeopardizing America’s global reputation as a moral authority that advocates respect for human rights in exchange for money from arms sales.