"Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD." Jeremiah 8:12.
"And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens." Ezr 9:6.
The people of Jeremiah's day faced a tremendous crisis but did not know it. It wasn't for lack of Jeremiah's crying. They were dulled by their deep apostasy. They worshiped idols. Their false prophets cried "Peace, peace" when there was no peace. Abominations abounded, yet they could not blush.
Similarly, our prevailing ethic discounts shame. We dare not blush in public. In the City (a rather uninspired imitation of Vanity Fair), images and self-images routinely assault the senses. Yet to exhibit sensibilities would be to admit weakness. Or worse, it would peg you as a prude.
Which brings me to the billboards, the bus-banners, and the radio advertisements. We are exhorted to pay $24.50 a head to see a traveling cadaver show.
"Bodies: The Exhibition", is a traveling exhibit of human corpses. We are assured that it is educational. The bodies have been preserved by a plasticizing method developed by a German doctor, Dr. Gunther von Hagens. He figures that some 20 million people have seen other similar exhibits he has put on.
The cadavers are placed in various poses and in various degrees of dissection for our edification and awe. Some of them are shown playing tennis or throwing balls. Some are on skateboards.
We are not to worry about the provenance of the corpses. They are "on loan" from an institution in China. We are assured that none of them were executed political prisoners. Instead, they were unidentified, and probably homeless, people who died on the street or in the hospital. We are told to trust the Chinese medical school in Dalian, considered the "hub of the corpse-processing industry."
They weren't always so careful. Back in 2004, Dr. von Hagens was forced to send seven corpses back to China from an exhibition in Germany because it was found that two of the "highest quality" specimens had been killed by shots to the head. The bodies had also come from a Chinese medical school. It is apparently located just down the street from a prison.
The notorious Oscar Wilde once said, "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between." He may have been right. Europe, for all its decadence, seems to have put up a greater fuss about these exhibits than any city in our country. Some people there still have the capacity for shame and outrage.
I have only run across two local news stories critical of the exhibition. One is a web-based news site run by a self-described Gnostic. The other is an article in the homosexually-oriented local weekly the Stranger (sic). The author of that article concluded his piece this way:
"I feel ashamed of myself when I look on his dead body. And when I think about the strategic location of his body—at the end of the tour and beside a sign that says "To See Is to Know"—I feel heartsick. The truth is, we don't know. We will never know. Only that man knows how he died. We can only wonder.
Unrest in Pieces, Dan Ruisi, Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 2006, the Stranger.
Millions of people have spent more than $20 each to gape. Tremendous profit is there for those who traffic in the fruits of death. Only a few leftwing souls seem to be outraged and ashamed.
Lest we forget, Death is an outrage. Mocking it will not mitigate its impact. The remains of creatures made in the image of God should not be hawked for entertainment value or to produce a sense of awe. Here, commercial return on investment is a blatant form of sin's wages.
"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." Matthew 10:16.
". . . but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil." Romans 16:19.
Being harmless is not to be silent. Being simple is not to be ignorant. We are called to blush and to be outraged at abominations. Let not our minds be dulled to the point that we cannot proclaim the need for repentance and faith in Christ.
All laid bare in "Bodies" exhibit. Seattle Times, Aug. 20, 2006.
Von Hagens forced to return controversial corpses to China. The Guardian ,January 23, 2004. http://www.guardian.co.uk/germany/article/0,2763,1129261,00.html
"Bodies: The Exhibition": an Ethical Nightmare, Oct. 19, 2006. http://www.snant.com/fp/archives/bodies-the-exhibition-an-ethical-nightmare/
Unrest in Pieces, Dan Ruisi, Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 2006, the Stranger. http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=93635