This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Sin of patriarchy

I read with sadness “Every Child of God” (World & Faith, Dec. 3) about the pressure on Kenyan women to have sons. They are considered “barren and cursed” if they bear only daughters. Some church leaders are speaking out against this discrimination, but I fear little will be achieved without attacking the cultural traditions of patriarchy and patrilineal descent. As one local elder said, “These girls  . . . will never stay at their parents’ homes to take care of the remaining family members. . . . We demand that a woman gives birth to a son to take care of the home.”

Church leaders must encourage young men to have the ego-strength to join their wives’ families instead of the other way around, so that daughters can also care for their aging parents.

This seems to have been God’s original intent, according to Gen. 2:24: “Therefore, a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife” (repeated by Jesus in Mark 10:7). But then disobedience enters the world in Genesis 3, and the sins of patriarchy and patrilineal descent take over.

Although the article spoke of a few religious leaders in Kenya speaking out against female discrimination, Mennonites were not mentioned. Does anyone know what Kenyan Mennonites are doing about this problem?

Reta Halteman Finger
Rockingham, Va.

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