The recent exposure of sexual violence and exploitation in Hollywood, politics, in London taxis and many other places has resulted in a reaction among women which is firm and cannot be dismissed. It has moved on from “Me too” to Oprah Winfrey’s “Their time is up”. The era when powerful or drunk men, can use women as sexual objects is over, or at least it has been publicly defeated. Once again Jesus words, “There is nothing hidden which will not be revealed” have been validated. The evil is out. Weinstein and others cannot pay women off for silence.
There is now a cultural question over the type called an Alpha male, the man who believed that he can be the centre of the universe for whom women are props and merely to be used. The fact that one of them occupies the White House, believes himself a genius when he is merely an idiot, makes the downfall of this type even more poignant. Like the god Dagon, or Saddam’s statue, the alpha male is keeling over. Now they can be polite, listen, and in the case of Trump, learn respect for women.
Of course, the problem is world-wide and vast. For a century or more the West has led the world in paying for sex, and many of the women and girls involved are trafficked and owned by men using the god, sex, to serve the god mammon. It is a capitalist industry of abuse. In Islamic, Hindu and some christian cultures women are used and abused by men on a large scale. The challenge for Hollywood is whether it can link the glitterati with a sordid brothel in the far east under the same standards.
But the first requirement is that people know and understand what those standards are, for they have been deliberately untaught by those who have wanted the right to use women in bed or cannot admit that their behaviour is wrong. Note the word, “wrong”, eliminated from the language of those who want whatever they want to be right. Sexual exploitation is wrong because it is using another person and Hollywood has made the great breakthrough of recognising this kindergarten fact.
Christianity has been sidelined in this era of sexual exploitation. There is an obvious, but ignored reason for this which makes “sexual exploitation” merely the tip of an iceberg. Adulterers do not often go to church, and a high proportion of western men and women are adulterers, cheating on their partners, or serial sexual partners. They understand the Church accepts the commandment, “You shall not commit adultery.” They therefore stay away because they have chosen adultery, pornography or sexual freedom without commitment. Then, by middle age, most people revert to seeing that commitment to one’s partner – not cheating on them – makes deep sense. Actually, on a point of information, the Church, like Jesus, accepts prostitutes and adulterers as persons, and locates their particular issues as secondary; churches are full of sinners.
The Christian principles, however, guide us through life, and our lives together as men and women. Once the central move is made of removing the male ego from the role of god, a move which all idiot men should take immediately, God’s perspective on men and women identifies what is good or destructive in gender relationships, and it is time to recognise again what these principles are and why they are true and the way to live. Here is another attempt to restate what has run through human history creating healthy marriages and families for centuries across the globe and which more than two billion Christians more or less live in.
Women and men are created equal before God, made in the image of God. Neither can be subsumed under the will or identity of the other, for it is God’s will which is to be done.
Men and women are mutually humanity, bone of bone and flesh of flesh, created on God’s image and are called to live in mutuality and respect in all relationships including marriage.
The sharing of bodies is an act of love and possible procreation. It signifies the long term commitment of troth in marriage between two adults who accept one another for life.
Procreation, a participation in God’s great creative acts, needs to take place in a cradle of man-women love, where the child can grow in a pre-existent love to which they owe their birth.
Adultery, lust, female objectification, prostitution, sexual exploitation and pornography are all perversions of the truth of marital love and involve destructive and unjust treatment of others.
Marriage, the voluntary institution where the two sexes come together in each generation, is a choice of a person for better or worse, in sickness and health. Faithfulness is where person meets person also in relation to God.
Sex, itself a reified idea, is really a bodily expression of love and faithfulness which should be in kilter with marital love in the rest of life.
Sin, the idea that we ourselves are and have problems, is part of sexual and gender life. It requires some humility, repentance and forgiveness from God, to sort sins out and grow into better ways.
These Christian principles do, and can, guide us world-wide. They are not a moral code of judgement on others, but principles that we live in, under God’s providence, with failings, but with wisdom and patience. It is time they took centre stage. It is the stage beyond, “Their time is up” for all of us. They are a slow train coming bringing good things to all.