Please bear with me on this one. It comes with a warning. This is gut-wrenching and nauseating, but needs to be aired.
After having worked for seven years with teen prostitutes at Covenant House in the 1980’s, I honestly thought that I had seen it all. It’s tough to live with the memories of all that I saw, especially as I am now a father and understand the fragility of children from the perspective one can only develop as a loving parent. Mostly I try to forget, because the memories are all the more horrifying when I think of my own children. Some of the most damaging experiences our kids at Covenant House had experienced, and from which they were running, were those of incest.
Teen prostitution, incest, abortion, IVF. What do they all have in common?
Control. Callous Disregard. Objectification. Commodification.
A prank on some blindfolded Rosemount High School athletes — they were unknowingly and at times amorously kissed by their parents during a recent pep fest — is collecting YouTube views by the tens of thousands and has the principal apologizing for what happened.
Here’s how the practical joke, originated by school staff members, played out during the assembly on Dec. 8:
The captains of the school’s winter sports teams — boys and girls — were lined up and blindfolded. They were told they would be kissed and then asked to guess who was on the other side of their lips.
Some of the parents during the 59-second YouTube video are seen holding the kisses for several seconds, cupping their child’s faces or embracing and swaying.
One mother moved her son’s hand down to her behind during the encounter. Another mom has her son down on the gym floor to the delight of two male students nearby.
The hoots, screams and laughter rolled on as the students pulled off their blindfolds to realize it was Mom or Dad they were smooching.
The story goes on to tell how the principal apologized because some people were offended (not because anything intrinsically immoral, illegal, or psychologically and developmentally damaging had occurred on his watch).
The article goes on to say:
Principal John Wollersheim said he received e-mails and phone calls soon after the pep fest from people who said they were offended by the display. This week, he said, the feedback he’s received has been more supportive.
The focus here should be on the giddy delight of the crowd in the video, and the general support of the principal.
We have imploded as a civilization.
Children are not viewed as autonomous human beings from the very earliest stages of their lives, with parents freezing dozens of their embryonic babies in IVF labs, mothers and fathers (married!!!) aborting their less-than-perfect babies with poor prenatal diagnoses, and now incest-as-pep rally fare.
At its core is the view of the child as property to be disposed of at will. They have ceased being persons to their narcissistic parents and school administrators, and contrary to protests from people around the blogosphere, this is NOT an isolated incident.
The cheers of the crowd and the preponderance of support for the principal tell us just how bad this has seeped into the collective consciousness of society. Need more proof?
The Star Tribune story is most notable for what it DIDN”T report: The arrest of the parents. The firing of the school personnel responsible. The involvement of child protective services. It didn’t report these things because they didn’t happen. Even if these students were beyond the age of statutory rape, what of the younger children present for whom incest was offered as wholesome pep rally entertainment?
When we come to the broader culture with an anthropology that values all human life with an intrinsic dignity from its earliest stages and we make little headway, we need to look at the impediments to our message in the broader culture.
This story, in all of its sordid dimensionality, is a chilling and sobering look into the soul of a civilization that has completely imploded. If we are to be successful in our life apologetics, we will have to take all of this into account. We need to rebuild from the ground-up, and it can’t be done without evangelizing with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.
God have mercy on us all.