Thursday, September 12, 2013

Lost innocence: Muslim child brides and US sex education for children

In this post, I shall talk about two things: Muslim child brides in the Muslim East and US sex education for children in the Secular West--an education not only in schools, but also in movies and TV shows.  And lastly, I shall propose the Catholic remedy by discussing the 6th and 9th Commandments, together with the virtues of modesty and purity.

A.  Muslim Child Brides Today we learned that an 8-year old girl died during her wedding night with her 40-year old husband:
Al Nahar, Lebanon, has reported that an eight year old child bride died in Yemen on her wedding night after suffering internal injuries due to sexual trauma. Human rights organizations are calling for the arrest of her husband who was five times her age...In February 2009, a law was created in Yemen that set the minimum age for marriage at 17. Unfortunately, it was repealed after more conservative lawmakers called it un-Islamic.
Why un-Islamic?   Muslim's have Muhammad as a role model and Muhammad married a little girl named Aisha:
According to traditional sources, Aisha was six or seven years old when she was married to Muhammad and nine when the marriage was consummated. However, al-Ṭabarī records that she was ten. The sources do not offer much more information about Aisha's childhood years.
The issue of Aisha's age at the time she was married to Muhammad has been of interest since the earliest days of Islam, and references to her age by early historians are frequent. American historian Denise Spellberg states that "these specific references to the bride's age reinforce Aisha's pre-menarcheal status and, implicitly, her virginity." Early Muslims regarded Aisha's youth as demonstrating her virginity and therefore her suitability as a bride of Muhammad. This issue of her virginity was of great importance to those who supported Aisha's position in the debate of the succession to Muhammad. These supporters considered that as Muhammad's only virgin wife, Aisha was divinely intended for him, and therefore the most credible regarding the debate. (Wikipedia).
B.  US Sex Education for Kindergarten

Western media may decry such a practice in Muslim Yemen, but what does Western Secular Civilization has to offer?  In the US, Chicago has just made a law this year prescribing sex education to kindergarten students:
A new policy approved by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will require all public school students to participate in sex education instruction, beginning in kindergarten...In its announcement, the CPS explained that in the earliest grades students “will focus on the family, feelings, and appropriate and inappropriate touching, while students in fourth grade will learn about puberty, including the physical, social, and emotional changes that accompany it, and the causes and transmission of HIV infection.”...After that, instruction gets more intimate, said the announcement, with content in grades five through twelve including “information appropriate for each grade level on human reproduction, transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), healthy decision-making, sexual orientation and bullying, and contraception, including abstinence.” (The New American)
Unbelievable?  What is the reason for this law?
Stephanie Whyte, the CPS chief health officer, told the Chicago Tribune that the new sex-ed policy was prompted by statistics supposedly showing that a majority of the district's students are sexually active. “Fifty-two percent of our students have had sexual intercourse,” Whyte said, pointing to the school research. In addition, the CPS announcement said the new policy is designed to align with the Obama Administration's 2010 national HIV/AIDS strategy.
Scientifically, this does not make sense.  In order to determine if a proposed cure for the malady works, one has to make an experiment by choosing at least three schools A, B, and C with the same intercourse rate, and all other variables being equal--racial distribution, income brackets, neighborhood category, etc.  Then in School A, do nothing; this is the control group.  In School B, implement the sex education from kinder onward.  In  School C, implement abstinence only education.  Monitor the intercourse rate for 7 years and choose the method that significantly lower the intercourse rate.  The school board may be surprised at the results.  (Seven years is a Scripturally a good number because the Seventh Year is Sabbath, the day of abstinence from tilling the soil, allowing the soil to regain its fertility.)  Has abstinence education worked in the past.  Check out Uganda and learn how it dramatically lowered its HIV/AIDS infection by placing more priority on abstinence and monogamy than on condoms in its ABC program (abstinence, be faithful, and use a condom):
President Museveni said, "We are being told that only a thin piece of rubber stands between us and the death of our Continent ... they (condoms) cannot become the main means of stemming the tide of AIDS."[6] He emphasized that condoms should be used, "if you cannot manage A and B ... as a fallback position, as a means of last resort." 
C.  Sex Education through TV and Movies

Sex education of the little boys and girls are not just in schools (and soon it will also happen in Philippines once the RH law comes into effect).  Sex education is everywhere in TV and Movies.  What are the themes in TV shows and movies? Adultery, fornication, and homosexuality.  For example, is James Bond married?  Are the women he goes to bed with in each movie his wives?  In the Philippine movies, we have No Other Woman, a story about adultery, with Derek Ramsay, Christine Reyes, and Anne Curtis.  In TV we have My Husband's Lover, a homosexual TV drama series.  And there's that song, Nagmamahal Ako Ng Bakla (I am loving a gay) by Dagtang Lason (Poisonous Sap).  Had Ladlad won in the Party-List, we would have LGBT representatives in Congress who would perpetuate and institutionalize the gay lifestyle in the country.

These are the shows seen by our little boys and girls.  We may condemn the Muslim practice of child brides, but have we also looked at our own culture and try to see how far we have wrought emotional, moral, and spiritual harm to little children through our sex education in classrooms, movies, and TV shows?  As Christ said:
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye?5 You hypocrite,* remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye. (Mt 7:3-5)
Christ said that the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven is a little child.  That is why there are great punishments in store for those who scandalizes these little ones and cause them to sin:
“Whoever causes one of these little ones* who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.7
* Woe to the world because of things that cause sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come! (Mt 18:6-7)
D.  What is the Catholic Remedy?

In order to save little children from losing their innocence, one has to consider what we think what a human being is.  If we think only of a human being as an animal whose passions cannot be controlled, then we teach little boys and girls how to use a condom, because thinking that they'll do it anyway.  But if we think of a human being as a child of God by virtue of his or her Baptism, then things become different.  If one is just a child of a king, there are great expectations in your manner of living, that you have to display the most exemplary behavior befitting a prince or a princess.  So how much more if you were an adopted son of God Himself, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?  Then a child will have to rethink the consequences of his actions and weigh them if they are befitting his divine inheritance.

That is why we do not need sex education in schools.  Rather, we need values education.  No, not just any values education, but Catholic  values.  We can start with the 10 Commandments, which are very easy to memorize, and these Commandments already contain the seeds of the correct sexuality education: 6. You shall not commit adultery and 9. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.  The 6th is the act, the 9th is the intention, and both are sins.  These two laws can be expounded at different grade levels from Kinder to Grade 12, covering the sins of masturbation, fornication, homosexual acts, bestiality, and more.  It is still sexuality education, but from a different point of view: from the point of you of how to behave as sons and daughters of God.

The word "commandment" may be too negative.  Catholic sexuality education can focus more on virtues, such as modesty and chastity, before and after marriage.  This is what the Catechism teaches:
2521 Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.
2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.
2523 There is a modesty of the feelings as well as of the body. It protests, for example, against the voyeuristic explorations of the human body in certain advertisements, or against the solicitations of certain media that go too far in the exhibition of intimate things. Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies.
2524 The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man. It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject. Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person.
2525 Christian purity requires a purification of the social climate. It requires of the communications media that their presentations show concern for respect and restraint. Purity of heart brings freedom from widespread eroticism and avoids entertainment inclined to voyeurism and illusion.
2526 So called moral permissiveness rests on an erroneous conception of human freedom; the necessary precondition for the development of true freedom is to let oneself be educated in the moral law. Those in charge of education can reasonably be expected to give young people instruction respectful of the truth, the qualities of the heart, and the moral and spiritual dignity of man.
2527 "The Good News of Christ continually renews the life and culture of fallen man; it combats and removes the error and evil which flow from the ever-present attraction of sin. It never ceases to purify and elevate the morality of peoples. It takes the spiritual qualities and endowments of every age and nation, and with supernatural riches it causes them to blossom, as it were, from within; it fortifies, completes, and restores them in Christ."316
As you can see, the Catholic Church has all the material for a true sexuality education, far more complete and holistic than what the secular culture has to offer, yet the government refuses to listen, thinking it can do better than the institution that has survived 2,000 years with its doctrines unscathed, which is a proof of the Divinity of Her Founder.  As Chesterton said in Why I am a Catholic:
The truth about the Catholic attitude towards heresy, or as some would say, towards liberty, can best be expressed perhaps by the metaphor of a map. The Catholic Church carries a sort of map of the mind which looks like the map of a maze, but which is in fact a guide to the maze. It has been compiled from knowledge which, even considered as human knowledge, is quite without any human parallel.
There is no other case of one continuous intelligent institution that has been thinking about thinking for two thousand years. Its experience naturally covers nearly all experiences; and especially nearly all errors. The result is a map in which all the blind alleys and bad roads are clearly marked, all the ways that have been shown to be worthless by the best of all evidence: the evidence of those who have gone down them.
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