The United States needs a viable sexual ethic –

The United States needs a viable sexual ethic


Not Matt Lauer too. I liked Matt Lauer. He looked like a man with his feet on the ground, someone who enjoyed his work and was good at it. Unlike some people on television, I never felt that Matt Lauer thought he was better or more important than his viewers.

Recall that the accusations of badual harbadment against Mr. Lauer are just that: accusations. They have not been proven and in our legal system a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. That would have been an easier presumption to maintain if Lauer had not been the last link in a long and fast-growing chain of powerful people who have been accused of immoral and even illegal badual behavior.

In the past, the nation was willing to overlook such accusations. The careers of Bill Clinton, Clarence Thomas and Donald Trump were not destroyed by their accusers. But since the revelations about Harvey Weinstein opened the floodgates, that seems to be changing, at least for now. Powerful men are losing their jobs and seeing how their careers and legacy dissolve before their eyes.

When I say powerful men, I am aware that women have also been accused. But let's face it: the vast majority of the accusations have been directed against men: Charlie Rose, Glenn Thrush, Jeffrey Tambor, Al Franken, Roy Moore, Louis CK, Steven Seagal, Kevin Spacey, George HW Bush, John Conyers and a host. of others.

Several times during this flood of revelations, I thought about the poem " Man in Space" by the contemporary American poet Billy Collins. In it he explains why women in science fiction films "are always standing in a semicircle, with their arms crossed, their legs apart, their bads protected by hard metal discs". The reason, of course, is men.

What can we learn from the deluge of accusations? That men are evil? That power corrupts? That there is a dangerous imbalance of power between genders?

We may need to relearn these old lessons, but we must also address America's need for a viable badual ethic based on a healthy vision of baduality. Such a point of view is profoundly absent in the culture in general, where badual pleasure has risen to a final good. Hollywood and the advertising industry are guilty of spreading this lie, and the consequences are evident everywhere.

The Bible and, from it, Christianity, provides a healthy view of baduality, but we are so far down in the rabbit hole that even Christians largely do not know it. The Christian vision is not a return to the ethics of the Victorian era, but an advance towards an ethics based on love and respect for God and people, a love and respect built on a basis of genuine spirituality. As Dallas Willard put it: "The human body becomes the main source of pleasure for the person who does not live honestly and interactively with God, and also the main source of terror, torture and death." Our culture is painfully aware of the need to build a new badual ethic, but it is largely unaware of the need for a foundation to support it.

There is another lesson to be learned from this, one that has implications for Christians. The idea that cultural necessity triumphs over God's standards of morality-that we must, for example, elect Roy Moore, even though he has committed horrendous acts because we can not afford to lose the Senate-is deeply unchristian. Did not St. Paul collapse the idea that we must "do evil so that good can result"? Did he not notice that evil can only be overcome by good, and not doing more evil?

The idea that a political agenda is more important than right and wrong is, as David Brooks has pointed out, a form of idolatry. Every time a person places their trust in some form of power (the democratic or republican parties, for example) above, they trust in God; every time a person is willing to sacrifice himself for that power, especially when his moral integrity is sacrificed; Every time a person acts with the idea that the ultimate good may come from secondary means, he or she is committing idolatry.

The last words of St. John's first letter are still disconcerting for our era: "Dear children, beware of idols."

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