Imagine living in a world in which using your cell phone can get you arrested. Imagine living in a world in which reading the Bible could get you in trouble, or mentioning the name of Jesus could get you institutionalized.
Catholic author Michelle Buckman has crafted just such a world in harrowing detail in Death Panels: A Novel of Life, Liberty and Faith. The one refrain that was playing through my mind as I was reading this novel was, If we as a nation keep doing what we’re doing, if we as a people keep allowing atrocities to be written into our laws, this is the future we can look forward to.
Not a pleasant thought. Then again, the truth very often is not pleasant to face.
In Death Panels, Buckman gives us a wake-up call. This is a world in which not only are abortions prevalent but expected, in which developmentally deformed infants are euthanized and organs harvested, Christians live in poverty and squalor in ghettos separated from society. This is a world in which forces for good are forced underground and efforts for change are uphill battles.
David, a covert Christian doctor, steals away an infant with Downs Syndrome in order to save his life. Along the way, we follow his lonely struggle, escaping the peril of capture and arrest at every turn. Just when we think he has run out of options, he meets a whole community, hidden in the recesses of society, who think the way he does. This tells us that, regardless of whether we think we’re all alone in the struggle, we are never really alone.
Buckman masterfully crafts this society in frightening detail through the actions and dialogue of her characters. The short episodes keep the action moving.
I am reminded of one infamous line from the movie Casablanca in which a Nazi officer spat out, “You’ll remember that here in Casablanca, human life’s cheap!” Michelle Buckman draws the trajectory of our society’s mindset to its ultimate conclusion in frightening detail. In a world where human life is cheap, where comfort and convenience, as well as a false sense of tolerance trump everything else, including the dignity of the human person, those who are oppressed will rise up and plant the standard of Christ firmly back in its place.
Way to go, Michelle Buckman! Keep these stories coming. The world needs to be reminded of the dignity of all human life!
Find out more. Visit Michelle Buckman’s site.