The Christian gospel declares that people are of inestimable value because they are the children of God, the concern of God’s love, created for an eternal destiny; not just people in general, but individual men, women and children, each with a name, each having priceless worth. This was made startingly plain by Jesus when he told his disciples ‘the very hairs of your head are all numbered’: an extravagant piece of imagery to drive home what he was saying. When we take his words seriously, we begin to realize how far-reaching their significance is. If they are true, if that is how things really are, if God does care for every single man, woman and child in the teeming millions that inhabit the globe, not to speak of the countless generations of the past and those as yet unborn, we cannot dismiss anyone as of no consequence; nor are we entitled to suppose that some are more important than others or that any should be sacrificed to serve some interest which takes precedence over their inherent worth. The consequences of accepting this basic presupposition are shattering, calling in question not only the way in which we commonly behave towards many of our fellow human beings, but the international, military, political, economic and social policies which have been and still are considered reasonable by those who are responsible for them.