The Low Country Sinks Lower
by Tom Neven
A common picture of Holland is one of windmills, wooden shoes, tulips and a brave people who stood up to the Nazis in World War II. And while you can still find a lot of windmills and such, the moral fortitude that distinguished the Dutch Resistance is sadly lacking in 21st century Holland.
Consider that full nudity is common on Dutch television after 9 p.m., and that one can find pornographic movies on television during weekends. Consider that homosexual marriage is legal in Holland. (That I could care less about...that is his opinion, not mine.) Consider that Holland also recently made euthanasia legal; it has been tacitly accepted for at least the past 20 years. Supermarket racks are full of magazine covers featuring photos of nude women — all in open view. And hard drugs are consumed openly in so-called "coffee houses." (If you’re ever in Holland, don’t wander into a coffee house assuming you’ll find the Dutch version of a double frothé.) And abortion is yawned at (Again, not my opinion).
Even the Christian church in Holland is not immune from the evidence of moral decay (This is what I'm getting at!), with professing Christians engaging in immoral activities in almost the same percentages as the surrounding culture. For example, divorce is accepted as normal by 60 percent of the Dutch, and that percentage is the same within Christian homes, says Rob Hondsmerk, director of Focus on the Family Netherlands. "Family life here is not family life anymore," he says. "There were more social structures 10 years ago and larger extended families."
Families are more isolated today, and parents need information on some very basic questions such as disciplining children. "Some parents believe a temper tantrum requires psychological counseling," Hondsmerk says. "And how do they teach sexual abstinence in a society with free sex?" The movement toward free sex began in the 1960s, as in many other places. "The children of those years are parents now," Hondsmerk says. "Add in a declining belief in God and it has an impact not just on society, but the church. Our children are the first generation where we have to explain God’s plan for marriage." And perhaps most shocking of all is the incidence of incest in Dutch culture, even within Christian homes.
In 1989 a national survey found that 1 in 7 girls and 1 in 20 boys were victims of incest. In 1999, a repeat survey found those figures to be 1 in 5 and 1 in 10, respectively. "We deal with one new incest case a day from Christian homes," Hondsmerk says. "It’s not even a big news story anymore.
In 10 years the penalties for incest went from, for example, 15 years in prison to 240 hours of community service." Many children already think incest is normal because their parents tell them so and they don’t know any better, he adds, and while the current age of consent is 14, some are trying to lower that to age 12.
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