Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Central America's Crime Problem, and commentary

Turns out although Mexico gets most of the press, violence is other Central American countries is actually, in some cases, much worse. According to a recent article in the LA Times, Honduras has a murder rate that is 15 times what it is in the U.S., and (are you paying attention?), four times what it is in Mexico.

You can read the rest of the article by clicking HERE. There's an article today in a Spanish publication out of Honduras. You can see that by clicking HERE.

Bad press had an impact on our internship program this past summer, with only 3 interns braving Mexico City's peaceful streets. More students went to Guatemala and Honduras. Missionaries living there know...in most big cities in countries to our south, murder and kidnapping are increasingly common realities.

Just imagine this scenario...a policeman stops you and you're really not sure if he is a good guy or a bad guy. You experience a robbery...and hesitate to call the cops for fear that they might see what the inside of your house is like and come back to finish the job. You go to the police station to report an express kidnapping, and recognize one of the criminals seated at the first desk you encounter. This last story is true. The other ones certainly could be.

At the end of the day, all of this goes back to a respect for the law, and ultimately a respect for the Lawgiver. The rule of law, as the U.S. enjoys, is one of the privileges we inherited from the Pilgrims, the Puritans, the Awakenings under Jonathan Edwards, and many godly men throughout the last 225 years, who together created a salty society. As Christ's values are devalued, don't be surprised if you can't trust your local policemen. It all, after all, goes back to the Bible. Democracy is much more than giving people a vote, it implies that people have a conscience as well. Otherwise, it is just another method of manipulation, another way of dominance and control.

I want to finish this post by mentioning that we have never had a problem here with safety. Not once. Most of the craziness is centered in the northern border with the U.S. Ultimately, however, our lives are in God's hands, no matter where we happen to be.

1 comment:

Alan & Beth McManus said...

Thanks for the excellent commentary/post. Some thoughts that have been deep on my heart coincide with what you've just written.

The Mexico violence situation is simply true and certainly misunderstood in the USA. In the USA images and news reports abound from Mexico and the pockets of drug warfare. When was the last time such reports and images from a country like Honduras or Guatemala hit the mainstream media in the USA with any regularity or even at all? It is a rare to non-existent thing. Yet the violence figures are far worse from those countries. One or two borders away and it is a problem that "doesn't exist." Out of sight...out of mind.

Not that there is reason to be glad about the violence there versus anywhere else, but some relative perspective is helpful. I was told in Dallas a week ago that a couple considering ministering under CAM would not consider Mexico because it is too dangerous. Guatemala was their first choice. Ironically, it is far more dangerous there than in Mexico statistically.

In the end, if obedience to Christ in carrying one's cross is a matter of personal safety, then my opinion is that carrying a padded, protected cross and only to places where I feel safe in carrying it is perhaps not really carrying the cross of Christ at all. Perhaps such a cross is of my own making.

For the believer safety is primarily a spiritual concept rather than a physical concept. We follow Christ where He leads and if the valley where He leads us is that of the shadow of death, did He not still lead us there? Will He not be our source of spiritual protection throughout eternity and of physical protection to the point of death whenever and wherever He chooses to bring us to that point? We can't add or subtract to or from our number of days. It is wrong to try to calculate just when and how those days should be completed.

Commitment to Christ is not just about faith that saves, but faith that endures and faith that trusts in the protection of Him who works in us "to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose."

As my former college president Dr. William E. Brown has said, "It is better to have one truly committed to Christ than a thousand who are merely interested." (loose quote)