Is Murdering Children Wrong? The Left Isn’t Sure

Portrait of a Waiapi child in the Waiapi indigenous reserve in Amapa state in Brazil
APU GOMES/AFP/Getty Images

Is Murdering Children Wrong? The Left Isn’t Sure

The fatal flaw in the tolerance ideology

Hakani had one of the most traumatizing childhoods imaginable. She was born in 1995 in Brazil as part of the Suruwahá tribe. Her name means “smile,” but she had few opportunities for that.

At the age of 2, she had not yet learned to walk or talk. Tribal custom in this case was clear. The tribal elders declared that she had no soul and that she should be killed.

Her parents killed themselves, rather than follow through on the tribe’s custom. Her 15-year-old brother tried to bury her alive. But she kept crying, and someone dug her up.

The task then fell to her grandfather. He shot her with an arrow. He was so distressed by the experience that he too committed suicide.

Yet Hakani survived. So the tribe abandoned her in the forest. She was left to live like an animal for three years—staying alive only because one of her brothers smuggled her food. Her arrow wound became infected. She grew incredibly thin. She still couldn’t walk.

Then her brother brought her to Edson and Marcia Suzuki, a missionary couple working in the area. They rescued her, cared for her, and got her medical help. Within a year she was walking and talking. Soon she was able to attend school.

The Suzukis took Hakani back to her Suruwahá tribe. They tried to show them that disabled children did not need to be killed. But they could not find anyone in the tribe to look after her, so the Suzukis adopted her.

What happened to Hakani caused outrage. The Brazilian public prosecutor’s office decided to take action.

But not against those who tried to murder Hakani. Instead they attacked the actions of people like the Suzukis. The prosecutor recommended that all non-natives be banned from the lands of Suruwahá tribe so that it would be impossible for people like the Suzukis to rescue another child.

Should we allow indigenous tribes to murder children? Believe it or not, the answer to this question is controversial.

Around 20 tribes are believed to follow this practice. Victims of these killings include the disabled, children born to single mothers, and twins.

In 2007, Brazilian legislators introduced a bill to end child killings in tribal communities. It was called Muwaji’s Law, named after an indigenous mother who would not kill her disabled daughter in 2005. The law would require the government to look out for and protect vulnerable babies. As Foreign Policy wrote, “It immediately created tensions between those who champion universal human rights, which prioritize the individual, and those who support cultural relativism, which favors the freedom of communities to organize themselves according to their own moral codes.”

It took eight years to get the bill through the lower house of the legislature. It still has not passed the upper house.

That anyone could justify such practices is astonishing. But they do. Foreign Policy paraphrased an anonymous government anthropologist saying that “child killing among indigenous peoples must be understood in the context of the Amazon’s incredibly harsh environment.”

So government departments want to sweep it under the rug. Brazil’s National Indian Foundation says that even talking about child killing “is in many cases an attempt to incriminate and express prejudice against indigenous peoples.”

Brazil’s Folha de S. Paulowrote that some anthropologists argue that “the death of babies is part of the cultural identity of these indigenous populations, and white people don’t have to understand it.”

By saving Hakani, the Suzukis “stood in the way of the realization of a cultural practice filled with meaning,” according to one anthropologist who also accused the Suzukis of making a “big mistake” and doing irreparable damage to the tribe’s way of life. Because they tried to convince the tribe that murdering children was wrong.

But thanks to the Suzukis, others have been saved. In 2005, after the Suzukis’ “big mistake,” two Suruwahá families decided not to kill their children, but to ask for medical help instead. At least these two families put “the cultural identity” and their “cultural practice filled with meaning” second to the lives of their own children.

Welcome to the extreme of moral relativism. If a tribe thinks that murdering a child is good, who are we to disagree? We have to understand where they’re coming from.

This sounds like a hypothetical scenario. It sounds like a fiction invented by someone solely for the purpose of carrying moral relativism to the extreme in order to expose its flaws.

But it’s real. Serious, intelligent people out there are actually making this argument: We must never impose our culture of not killing children on cultures that do kill children.

This is the end result of promoting tolerance as the only absolute good. Everything else, even moral qualms about murdering babies, has to go. But the fact is, sometimes tolerance is evil. And this is why the Trumpet warns.

The West is also destroying its children. It may not be murdering them (except in the case of millions of abortions), but the facts are clear. Family breakdown harms young people. Rampant drug use and illicit sex destroy young people. A handful of scientists are timidly warning that the West’s embrace of transgenderism—and its encouragement of little children to experiment with other genders—is causing great damage to young people.

The left preaches (though it does not practice) tolerance. It uses every argument it can to justify any way of life—except those that align with the Bible. These ways of life—promiscuity, abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, pedophilia, atheism, materialism, cloaked racism and other “values”—do far more damage than infanticide in Brazil. Brazil has fewer than a million indigenous people. Each child murder is a huge tragedy. But far more children are being destroyed in the West by our corrupt lifestyles.

Even with the rampant moral relativism today, I’m sure it is clear to most that infanticide should not be tolerated. So why do we tolerate behaviors that destroy so many more young people?

“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins,” God says to those who serve Him (Isaiah 58:1). God wants us all to live a joyful life. If we warn people when they’re destroying themselves, they have a chance to turn it around.

The Suzukis’ example saved two children in one year alone. This message can save some from the way of life that causes all misery and suffering.

But the Bible reveals that God isn’t planning to save only the few who respond to the message today. He has a plan to save the entire world from the way of suffering. He will soon end the infanticide of indigenous tribes and self-destruction of the West.

This forms another core part of our message: the warning that God will not tolerate our evil way of life and the suffering it brings. He will soon end it—bringing in a world full of hope and of joy.

If you would like to know more about our mission and the message we get out, read our article “Why We Must Warn.” And if you want to know about what more you can do to help get this message out, read Trumpet executive editor Stephen Flurry’s article “What More Can You Do?” from the latest print issue of the Trumpet newsmagazine.