Christian Living

wehispanics 09/29/09

Keeping Cultural Covenants

(Click here for Spanish) These days the American press is full of revolting details about the public exposure of a sordid secret of a family of Rock stars. A daughter confesses in a tell-all biography without compunctions or embarrassment, the incestuous relationship (”between consenting adults”) she maintained for many years with her father, in an atmosphere of fame, money, drugs and moral degradation.
It is a sign of social decadence that the media stumble without regret the conscience and the decency of others to satisfy of appetite for lucre, profiting from the lasciviousness that it has been cultivating in the vulnerable public. We already saw the political use of this subterfuge that appeals to lust under the guise of publishing “news” full of prurient details, when the Republicans in Congress placed the details of the entire investigation of President Clinton’s White House affair on the Internet. While pretending to be the guardians of the civic morality, they tarnished the conscience of generations, placing a stumbling block on the worldwide net, for short-lived political profit.  
God is judging us in America, showing us each day more irrefutably the evil that hides in our hearts.   Lord, bring us soon to the end of this reproach, so that before you pour your wrath you can inundate us with your mercy, allowing your children and those who will be yours to groan in repentance…!
Such thoughts impacted me especially this week, because I heard the dramatic story of two girls in Central America, leading me to contrast the direction of our two cultures.  One, founded on a Protestant, Covenantal theology, is abandoning its foundations, and collapsing into decadence.  The other, the culture of my ancestors, built upon a theology that barely knows the Covenant, moves slowly towards its transformation into a Covenant Culture, thanks to the Divine mercy that is teachings us a fresh reading of the Word of God, the Book of the Covenant.   
I heard the details about the two girls, barely adolescents at 13, who are, for their own protection, housed in a home for adolescent mothers that their government sponsors.  The father of one of the babies is the mother’s father, and the father of the other is an uncle.  
Unfortunately, such stories occur everywhere, as thousands of children and adolescent girls in the Americas are used by their fathers, relatives, neighbors or whoever may want to make use of them. Frequently these aberrant abuses are excused by alcohol, ignorance or crowding in tiny homes. Unfortunately, the majority of cases are still treated as “family secrets”, sometimes for life, hidden behind a series of “veils”,  by threats, guilt feelings, negligence, shame, accusations and deception.  They are incompletely revealed through stories whispered by children, as women gossip, crimes of passion or hasty deathbed confessions.
In a culture without Covenant the woman is little more than coveted prey.  “Machista” cultures see her as an object for the sexual pleasure of the man, depersonalized and dehumanized. That is why some Moslem cultures cover their women’s faces with veils, or their bodies from head to toe with “burkas”. If they show their body even a little, they are accused of provoking the male incontinence, and some families recur to “honor killings” to restore the family honor.   
Unprotected by the male, who should be her covering, in the culture without Covenant the woman is assaulted, violated and abused by anyone with the opportunity. And girls, being weaker, less experienced and dependant of their elders, exposed to their negligence or abuse, are the most frequent victims of these attacks of male lust, particularly at the hand of those who through family ties or proximity have a greater chance to accost them alone. And some mothers don’t believe them, hide it or blame them.     
Even the church could be complicit of these aberrations. I know of a case in which a girl confessed to a priest the sexual harassment of her brother-in-law, and was advised to tolerate it quietly, so as to “not ruin the marriage of her sister.”
Please send us your comments to blog@joselgonzalez.com and please read my other articles on our Hispanic culture at www.semilla.org. See you next week…