In 1940, Winston Churchill was Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for courageously confronting Nazism. In 2017, the sex scandal "Silence Breakers" collectively take the prize for unleashing one of the highest-velocity shifts in our society since the 60's!
The sexual assault/harassment revelations came with startling swiftness; casualties of the "rich and powerful" have jolted our nation; and, we're experiencing a cultural sea change. What triggered this cataclysmic event?
A couple of months ago, my wife, daughter and I united with tens of thousands of concerned Christians on the D.C. mall for an event entitled, "Awaken the Dawn." The final day, led by women, highlighted issues relevant to the women of America including heartfelt petitions for God's intervention amidst dangerous trends affecting them in our culture.
This surfacing of the sexual harassment scourge and exploitation of women that has continued unabated in America for decades has not come to light by coincidence but rather providence. God heard the heartfelt cries of the women (and us men) gathered in our nation's capital, and we're witnessing His work in bringing this sin into the light.
After decades of evil deeds done in darkness, this last month has been a great reckoning, with prominent individuals being exposed by their accusers. Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Garrison Keillor, Senator Al Franken, Congressman John Conyers, Russell Simmons and former President Bill Clinton are in this rogues' gallery. Allegations from 40 years ago have also been brought against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, but unlike those above, he categorically denies their validity.
Now we're hearing of the uncovering of "hush money" payments by members of Congress to assault victims from our taxes! Christian Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn cosponsored a bill after discovering the startling claim that over $17 million of taxpayer money has gone to 286 secret settlements.
Heightened Harassment Sensitivity
An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll of American adults conducted recently revealed that 48 percent of employed women now admit they've personally experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Nearly 71 percent of women, and 62 percent of men disagreed with the idea that harassment reports are overblown.
Whether egregious sexual imposition, indecent exposure, rape or simply "low-level lechery" towards women (sexual innuendo, raunchy humor and unwelcome advances), multitudes of women are becoming a part of the #MeTooMovement and speaking up.
Likewise, millions of God-fearing Americans are deeply disturbed to learn about so many sexual predators loose today.
Northwestern University professor Laura Kipnis, who authored the book, Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, says, "What's shocking about a lot of these revelations is the extent to which men in power have felt they have free access to the bodies of women who work for them, or aspire to."
Twenty-two years ago, the late Pope John Paul II prophetically addressed the degrading of women in the area of sexuality. "The time has come to condemn ... the types of sexual violence which frequently have women for their object, and to pass laws which effectively defend them from such violence." He instructed us to learn from "the attitude of Jesus" who transcended "the established norms of His own culture and treated women with openness, respect, acceptance and tenderness."
Identifying the Causes
Effective problem-solving consists of three components: define the problem, identify the causes and discover solutions.
The problem was surfaced supernaturally by God. The solution consists not merely of sensitivity training, stricter laws and "conversations." Only a gospel-transformed life is the ultimate solution. This why we must remain faithful in our lifestyle evangelism.
It's important we know the causes so we can engage intelligently and winsomely with people as confident, biblically-informed influencers. Here are the primary ones we need to know.
Five Sources of the Scandal
- Rejection of Biblical Standards
Judeo-Christian values, previously upheld in the church, government, education, entertainment and the family have been discarded for unrestrained sexual freedom. The result has been the acceptance of sexual immorality cleverly repackaged as "hooking up, living together, affairs and gay/lesbian lifestyles" resulting in skyrocketing out-of-wedlock births, abortions, STDs, AIDS and widespread sexual misconduct. Sexual interaction intended for marriage has lost its transcendent value and is viewed merely as a physical, recreational act.
2. Disrespect for Womanhood
Scripture heralds the high calling of womanhood, giving women value and an honored place in society, church and home. Jesus taught and modeled love and respect for women in a culture where the female sex was considered inferior and degraded. He ordained women to be first at the cradle, last at the cross and first at the crypt of his resurrection!
The Bible clearly directs, "Likewise, you husbands, live considerately with your wives, giving honor to the woman as the weaker [physically, not spiritually] vessel" (1 Pet. 3:7).
Peggy Noonan said recently in her weekly Wall Street Journal (Dec. 3, 2017) column, "At the heart of the current scandals is a simple disrespect and disregard for women ..."
3. Breakdown of the Nuclear Family
When fathers are missing, children lack role models of godly manhood and are deprived of instruction by dads on gentlemanly behavior. "Male by birth but man by choice" is not a cliché but a challenge all young men need to learn.
Regarding black children today, just 38 percent live with two parents, and 57.6 percent live without a biological father!
A couple of weeks ago, I spoke with my brother-in-law, and he thanked me for a book I gave him and multitudes of young men entitled Man of Steel and Velvet: A Guide to Masculine Development by Aubrey Andelin. During their family reunion, he was going to meet daily with all the men and go through sections of the book. How much pain and sorrow would be averted if young men sat in times like these learning from fathers how to treat women?
4. Influence of Movies, Cable TV and Music
Scripture tells of a society where, "They were not at all ashamed, nor could they blush" (Jer.6:15b). This describes the coarsening taking place in our culture today.
When women are portrayed as sex objects or frisky females aggressively seeking sexual activity, willing to engage in and initiate any type of raunchy behavior, is it any wonder that men take advantage of this perception? The new TV series by Spike Lee, She's Gotta' Have It!, and the megahit movie, Girls Trip are current examples of this sad reality.
On the opening page of the book, Every Man's Battle: Every Man's Guide to Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoker, Dr. Jack Hayford says, "There is no more common enemy of true manhood than the diversion or the perversion of our sexual capacities."
Because of the easy accessibility of what deceivers describe as "harmless," pornography is just a click away fueling lustful appetites. A plague has been unleashed in America, bringing devastation everywhere.
Here's the deal: America's only hope is a true spiritual awakening. Through prayer, proclamation of the gospel and clear presentation of truth, people can be brought to repentance, live a gospel-transformed life and America be changed. It's the only real way to shatter the shield of the high and mighty, because "power is the ultimate aphrodisiac," as Henry Kissinger once said.
Senior leaders across America recommend using the Bullseye Challenge to equip people on sexual issues plus all the hot button areas today. We must all do our part to prepare and foster reformation.
Years of cultural conditioning that the sacredness of sex is nonexistent, and it's culturally acceptable to exploit women shamelessly must change. God has intervened to bring all of this to America's attention. As Christ's ambassadors who are the "salt of the earth," let's be informed influencers making a difference at this opportune time.
Larry Tomczak is a cultural commentator of 45 yrs, Intercessors for America board member, best-selling author and a public policy advisor with Liberty Counsel. His new, innovative video/book, BULLSEYE, develops informed influencers in 30 days (see www.bullseyechallenge.com). Click (here) for his "Here's the Deal" weekly podcast.