The Women of Ciudad Juarez

Since 1993 hundreds of women have been murdered around Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso. Most of the victims were young factory workers or students, between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four. Amnesty International speaks for many when it suggests that the government’s investigation of these crimes has been inadequate. Some of the violence appears gang related; some seems to stem from patriarchal disdain for working women. Whatever the motives, very few perpetrators have been brought to justice.   

The popular Mexican rock band Jaguares drew attention to this injustice with their song, “Madera,” released in 2005. It envisions a wood that would be resistant to weeping, which resurrects in Ciudad Juarez. It concludes with these plaintive words of hope:
 
mi ultimo suspiro 
mi ultimo aliento 
detras de las estrellas esta el nido 
detras de las estrellas esta el nido 
 
my last breath
my last hope
beyond the stars there is a hiding place
beyond the stars there is a hiding place
 
The song recognizes that earthly justice has failed, yet it insists that there must be a place, beyond the human, where the innocent will not suffer, where they will find refuge. 
 
When the Baptist appeared in the Judean desert, he raised the same hope.  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 3:2). John believed in a God who would call the evil to justice. If one stands outside his faith, that’s a hard notion to justify. The world doesn’t seem to work like that. So many wrongs are never righted, yet believers hear his call and continue to hope for justice.  
 
Those who think that evolution has eliminated a need for God would be hard pressed to explain how a mindless process produced creatures such as ourselves, the sorrowing who cannot stop believing that the universe is just, that good will triumph over evil. How do we even recognize evil for what it is, without the existence of that good-beyond-us that we have never achieved?   
 
Those who have never suffered from injustice often doubt God’s existence. Its victims find it almost impossible not to believe. Something deep in the human heart sees the world in which we live and then insists that there must be more.  
 
That “more” is God. That is the very definition of God, if one can be devised. We know God more in absence than in possession. If evolution alone created this longing within us, then evolution is malign, and those who see no proof of God have established the existence of an evil far greater than ourselves. For evolution to have raised such a hope in the human heart only to ignore it is to be positively cruel, not uncommitted.   
 
Isaiah prophesied a God who would
 
judge the poor with justice,
and decide fairly for the land’s afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked (11:4).
 
We received a Messiah who was born in a stable, who lived his life as a poor man, who was murdered upon a cross. Yet we confess that he rose from the dead so that “we might have hope” (Rom 15:4). If that isn’t true, if we need not concern ourselves with a God who will judge, who will right wrongs and destroy evil, for what then should we hope?  
 
Isaiah 11: 1-10   Romans 15: 4-9   Mathew 3: 1-12
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