Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Home / Perspectives / The case for a return to virtue
#metoo

The case for a return to virtue

The avalanche of accusations, revelations, terminations, resignations and other recriminations seems to be accelerating in our raw and exposed #MeToo era of national sexual shame. Clinton, Cosby, Weiner, O’Reilly, Franken, Conyers, Weinstein, Lauer, Moore and so many others have lecherously lurched past our collective psyches in a morally twisted parade of horribles. We get sick to our stomach when we see rich and powerful people treating others purely as sex objects for their personal pleasure and sexual gratification. Will it ever end? Yes and no.

No matter what your party affiliation is, we can hopefully all agree that sexual abuse in all of its forms, including harassment and assault, is reprehensible and unacceptable and must never be tolerated in a civilized society. The problem is pervasive. Each year on average, there are 321,500 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault in the United States. One in six women are the victims of attempted or completed rape during their lifetimes. Sex trafficking, child sexual predation, and sex abuse are also significant problems. Christians, however, should be both the most outraged and least surprised all of this.

We should be outraged because sexual corruption and perversion is devastating to our fellow human beings created in the very image of God—the Imago Dei. Sexual corruption and abuse, in all of its sick forms, leads to deep and lasting wounds. It leaves in its wicked wake despair, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, PTSD, suicide and many other visible and invisible wounds.   Early in my legal career I represented a young woman who was sexually harassed by a middle-aged business owner. I observed, first hand, how image bearers are profoundly wounded by the selfish and unconstrained libidos, often where there is a coercive power imbalance. But sadly, sexual abuse is not limited to power-wielding men. The spate of women teachers abusing high school and middle school boys recently in the news has been stunning.

Yet, neither should believers be surprised by the existence of sexual abuse. This is because as Adam’s sons and Eve’s daughters, we are all marred by Original Sin. We share a pervasive proclivity to be tempted by and succumb to our fleshly appetites. We, of all people should not be surprised, on this side of heaven, that sin exists and has real-life consequences. Yet it is not axiomatic that temptation must always lead to actual sin. We are free in Christ to flee temptation and refuse to succumb to the tyranny of the libido. Nor do we despair that redemption is impossible, if we do fall.

We live in an oversexualized if not hypersexualized epoch. Especially since the dawn of the sexual revolution, we have been feeding this ravenous beast, our libido, a steady and growing diet of rich foods. Yet we now feign shock and outrage that there are actual consequences to our collective lechery and foolishness — that our libidos have become tyrannical dictators. If we are truly honest with ourselves, we must admit that we fuel this beast with a steady diet nearly every day. Some feed it by watching soft-core pornography on television (Game of Thrones, anyone?) or observing racy films. Some gorge it with online pornography additions (a struggle for nearly 80% of Christian men and a growing problem for women). Some even feed it with visiting sex trafficked girls or sexually abusing co-workers or children. The beast we feed has grown and now threatens to consume us.

Is there any escape from this maniacal monster’s jaws? Yes, if we return to the ancient paths—the way of virtue. A person of virtue displays moral excellence — wisdom, courage, kindness, good manners, courtesy, modesty, generosity, and self-control in their life. A virtuous person exercise self-discipline and self-control over their fleshly desires and treats others with dignity and respect. Good must overcome evil. Love must replace lechery. Light must dispel darkness.

The death of the prince of perversion, Hugh Hefner, who tutored generations of young men to sexually objectify women, provides a positive excuse for us to put the perverted past behind us and move towards a better, more virtuous future. A time where every person is viewed as unique and valuable, created male and female in the image of God and therefore has inherent beauty, dignity and worth—which is respected by all (Gen. 1:27).

If we are to transform our sexually selfish, vulgar, dehumanizing and corrupted culture, we must repent of the collective wickedness we have permitted and invited into our communities, churches, and homes. Perhaps we also need to also start taking more personal responsibility and start a Christian #MeToo movement—but not a movement merely focused on the victims of sexual abuse, but also on our passive and active responsibility for our sick culture. Morality and virtue are good things—we need to make them popular again—even in the church—especially in the church.

The medieval Knights Code of Chivalry included defending the honor of women and protecting the weak and defenseless. Courageous Christians, of all people, should exhibit such virtues and should fight to protect vulnerable women and children from sexual abuse. We are not without hope in this good fight. We have the answer, and his name is Jesus.

 

— by Dean R. Broyles, Esq.

Broyles is a constitutional attorney serving as the President of The National Center For Law & Policy (NCLP), an organization fighting to promote and defend religious freedom. Copyright© The National Center For Law & Policy. Reprinted with permission.

Check Also

A Christmas Carol

The enduring power of ‘A Christmas Carol’ | A story of hope and redemption

One hundred and seventy-four years ago, a British writer was horrified at the conditions under …

X