Children Are an Endangered Species

This is not new. Children have always been objects of discrimination and abuse. But with the enactment of child-labor and universal education laws during the past hundred years, and with the recent development of “child rights,” we have come to believe that the situation has changed.

It has not, as various ugly developments show. Things like a 50 per cent increase in infanticide between 1957 and 1970, the alarming increase in cases of child abuse, a 150 per cent increase in suicide by ten to nineteen-year-olds. Movies with children as victims or objects of exploitation (“Taxi Driver,” “Bugsy Malone,” “Omen”) attract large audiences, while the growth of child pornography is—surprisingly—the one thing that is beyond even the ability of our permissive society to stomach.

Now comes a soon-to-be-released film, “Pretty Baby,” in which Brooke Shields—a twelve-year-old—plays prostitute and child bride, with nude scenes, according to New York magazine.

All this in the glorious age of the evangelicals.

Do we have anything to say, anything to do about our country’s degradation of children?

Probably not. We may not like to admil it, but the God of evangelicals in 1978 is a lot more like George Burns than the God of Sodom and Gomorrah, of millstones, or even of William Wilberforce and Elizabeth Fry.

EUTYCHUS VIII

A Christmas Pause

I stopped for a moment in the middle of a crowded pre-Christmas day to read Eutychus VIII’s “A Christmas Wish” (Dec. 9). I found that moment to be the most beautiful and important experience of the whole week. Thank you.

R. E. HOLLIS

Friendship United Methodist Church

Walker, La.

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