The value of a penny

By Christina Pallini | For The Compass | February 28, 2011

Without the penny, we have no foundation for all of our American currency. The million dollars begins with one tiny cent. Just like life, all foundation of respect and justice begins very tiny in the womb. So, no matter how it’s valued, that is where human life begins.

This foundational principle of love gives rise to how we treat other pennies — or lives. If we judge the value of a human life based on outside influence and opinion, then we have failed to include God as the creator of life — who has given a soul and a purpose to each human being.

As I walked through the halls of the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., for the March for Life, with over 400,000 people, I was amazed at the photographs and footage of Hitler, as he encouraged a culture to accept the discrimination of entire groups of people.

So, whether African-American slavery, or the Rwandan holocaust of 1 million Tutsis, or the Jewish people in Auschwitz-Birkenau, or the innocent baby in the womb, we have again and again devalued the person and allowed the killing to continue.

In this Black History Month, Martin Luther King, Jr., peacefully demonstrated against the injustices against African-Americans; people made in God’s image and likeness. At abortion clinics all around the country, African-Americans are still a target. Margaret Sanger’s eugenics continues through Planned Parenthood to kill more African-American babies than ever.

In the book, “Left to Tell,” Immaculee Ilibagiza explains how the Hutu tribe turned against their Tutsi neighbors, friends, cousins and teachers to kill over 1 million Tutsi “cockroaches” in 90 horrific days. Propaganda promoted by the media resulted in the 1994 genocide.

German citizens were not forced to kill, they were indoctrinated, from very young ages, as the government spewed propaganda to the people, causing them to believe that Jews, disabled adults and children — and Christians — were of “less value” and killing and torture was appropriate.

In all of these cases, good people knew what was going on behind “the walls,” but were fearful to stop the insanity. Today, the discrimination still comes in forms of killing the disabled children in the womb (90 percent of babies in utero with Down syndrome are aborted by their parents), African-American babies and all babies in abortion clinics. With euthanasia being thrust upon innocent families caring for elderly and terminally ill family members, these people face a premature death.

So, just like the penny, we can’t see the tiny embryo, but we are culpable for protecting this innocent person, the foundation of all human life.

Abe Lincoln took a stand against hate and discrimination. Martin Luther King, Jr., marched in peaceful protest. Americans, French and English (including Canada) came to the aid of the Jewish people being persecuted by the Nazis.

Change will only be made when we realize that we are the ones to speak for the persecuted and weak, not the media. Are you the next Abe Lincoln? Are you the next Martin Luther King, Jr.? Will you and I be the ones who make it possible to protect and defend the life of another or to bring freedom to a soul? Will we recognize the penny on the street, or the opportunity to see the dignity and sanctity of a human life in need?

Pallini is the respect life consultant for the Green Bay Diocese. Visit

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