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Sunday Morning Morality

June 12, 2016

Rally to raise awareness of sexual violence on campus, following rape report, Johnson Hall, University of Oregon, Author Kamala McCullum (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

Two campus rape cases have recently been in the news:

  • In the Turner case, a Stanford athlete convicted of raping an intoxicated woman at a fraternity party was sentenced to 6 months in jail [1].
  • In the McClure case (a Title IX action), victims at the University of Kansas assert the school took little or no action when they reported having been raped [2].

The vast majority of men would never inflict violence – sexual or otherwise – on a woman.  The question arises:  Why did ethics and morality not act as deterrents, when the crimes in question took place?  Why do some men who seem well-adjusted feel no compunction about raping the women in their lives, if the opportunity arises?

The violence directed against women arises from at least three distinct sources:

  1. The men who believe themselves “entitled” to sex from any woman in whom they express an interest.  With an inflated ego, such men may find it difficult to believe a woman would refuse them.  They view the women who do refuse as selfish, manipulative, and worse.  Athletes who have always been treated as exceptional may fall into this category.
  2. The men who experience violence in the family setting.  This group is, in effect, taught from childhood that violence against women is normal and acceptable.  Violence against women becomes an outlet for all their adult frustrations.  These are the abusive boyfriends and husbands.
  3. The tiny fraction of men who are sociopaths, born and/or raised without conscience.  These men are chameleon-like, making every effort to appear normal.  They may be charming, but lack real empathy.

Other factors contributing to sexual violence include the attitude toward sex in our society; the absence of objective standards of behavior; and our acceptance of a false morality.

Sex in Society

Pervasive in our society, sex has been reduced in value to a sales device.  Want to look sexy?  Buy these jeans.

While romantic love is viewed as the highest ideal, chastity is no longer considered a virtue.  Since sex is simply another bodily function, bodily fluids are casually exchanged.  Rape is not recognized as “a big deal”.

Lack of Standards

Ethics are no longer taught at home or in school…let alone morals.  Right and wrong are now seen as entirely subjective, so standards vary from one individual to the next.  Limits of any kind are viewed as negative.

Do we cheat on our expense reports?  On our wives?  Does sexting count?  Do we alert authorities to an employer’s fraud?  Do we leave an accident scene or stay to face the consequences?

The principles that govern our behavior, the belief systems by which we lead our lives, will impact these decisions and be revealed by them.  Being human, we can expect to fall short of our professed standards, from time to time.  How we react to those shortfalls will demonstrate – perhaps more clearly than anything else – whether we had standards in place, to begin with.

False Morality

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  For men will be lovers of themselves…without self-control, brutal, despisers of good…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3: 1-5).

Worse still, we have become accustomed to a Sunday morning morality, the kind on display for an hour then laid aside the rest of the week.

Politicians are well familiar with this sham.  It is the source of their outrage while posturing for the cameras.  But holier-than-thou is not holy at all.

We have forgotten that ethics and morality are not for dilettantes.  They cannot be adhered to part-time or “just for show”, not if they are to have an impact.

‘You are the salt of the earth.  But if the salt loses its savor, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men’ ” (Matt. 5: 13).

Ethics and morality need exercise, the way muscles do.  If not employed, they atrophy.  The salt, in other words, loses its savor.

Ethics and morality are the measure of our character – a garment that cannot be slipped on like a life preserver, whenever we expect to be tested.  Life rarely gives us advance warning of the icebergs with which we may be confronted.

Labels alone are insufficient.  Merely calling ourselves “Christian” will not aid us when we are faced with a genuine moral dilemma.

We may decide on a course of action with the goal of maintaining our image or self-respect; remaining in the good graces of a loved one (or authority figure); conforming with public opinion; or simply avoiding criminal and/or civil liability.  Not even these goals though will be reconcilable, in every instance.

Most important for Christians should be conformance with God’s laws (including the command that we love one another).  Of course, if the Golden Rule were more widely practiced we would have less violence overall.

Equal Value

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3: 28).

Women and men have equal value in God’s eyes.  Jesus Christ gave His life for mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, daughters and sons alike.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say one-half the human race is excluded from Salvation.

It is incumbent on Christians to model this truth, and teach it to the next generation.  From the looks of things, we are fighting an uphill battle.

[1] Washington Post, “‘A steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action’:  Dad defends Stanford sex offender” by Michael E. Miller, 6/6/16, http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/%E2%80%98a-steep-price-to-pay-for-20-minutes-of-action-dad-defends-stanford-sex-offender/ar-BBtUZpE?ocid=ansmsnnews11.

[2]  Daily News, “University of Kansas ‘Jane Doe’ identifies herself, speaks out about sexual assault” by Christopher Brennan, 6/10/16, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/university-kansas-jane-doe-identifies-article-1.2668049.

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://avoicereclaimed.com

14 Comments
  1. Amen! Well said.

  2. Excellent article Anna! I think the way our society views sex leads to huge social problems, including the breakdown of marriages. Some get tired of their spouse and move on. I think this also leads to much of the problem with number one on your list.

    Unfortunately in super conservative Christian circles women are often not treated equally. Women are often seen as servants to men, and men often view themselves as kings. They sometimes take the leadership role too, too far.

  3. tabitha59reachingout permalink

    Excellent post. Heartbreaking facts. Bless you, Anna.

  4. God’s scriptural limits on what is permissible and what is forbidden are expressions of His infinite love. As Creator, He knows us better than anyone else in the universe. The limits are clear and precise, because He knows that the natural consequences of stepping outside the limits are painful and often severe as well as long lasting.

    The overarching reason for God’s clear and precise limits is the preservation of our Judeo-Christian culture. Strong families living within the limits represents the only way of sustaining the culture from generation to generation. No civilization has ever survived the breakdown of the family. Ours won’t either unless believers become willing to take a strong, vocal stand for all things good and consistently oppose all things evil as stipulated by God.

  5. Indeed, we’re in an uphill battle of human disregard on steep decline! 😦 ♥ ❤

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