The last several weeks have been captivating. The cascade of charges relating to sexual misconduct and the abuse of power began in Hollywood with Harvey Weinstein and then went on to various other celebrities in Hollywood. Then we heard of numerous U.S. lawmakers. Now, the next stage of firings for inappropriate sexual conduct are charges among newsmen, including Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer. I have just heard that Gregg Zaun, sports analyst for the Toronto Blue Jays, has been fired for inappropriate behaviour and comments toward female employees at Sportsnet, where he worked. I suspect the parade of famous firings will carry on for some time.
It should be remembered that this matter is not new. Long before Harvey Weinstein, there were multiple cases of the same thing. I am old enough to remember all the television evangelist scandals of the 1980s. Then there was the horrible case of the Mount Cashel Orphanage in Newfoundland, and the horrible revelations of Catholic priests abusing multiple young boys. I remember the Bill Clinton scandals. Some of us only remember Monica Lewinski. We might remember that allegations of everything from rape to gross abuse of power to obtain sexual favours came from women like Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and others. In those cases, the women involved were effectively silenced and ridiculed by a very effective political machine, calling them everything from tramps to words I won’t mention here. Furthermore, it was stated that the women had been as much the aggressors as had President Clinton.
More recently, on the Canadian side, CBC radio star Jian Ghomeshi was fired for accusations related to four counts of sexual and assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking the victim. As an aside, Ghomeshi was found “not guilty” of all the accusations in a court of law. But it should also be remembered that the conduct itself was not at stake, but whether the conduct was consensual.
The list goes on and on. But now, a new fervor has been reached and voices are now heard on all manner of sides. Some argue for the long-standing abuse of power that men wield. Others argue for a fair hearing before a person is fired. Still, others will argue for greater transparency in the process.
As a follower of Jesus, however, I want to remind believers of the standards that Scripture holds for all of us. Let me suggest three scripture passages that are especially relevant to the present day.
1. “For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do – living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you.” (1 Peter 4:3-4) (NIV)
2. “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds, and glorify God on the day He visits us.” (1 Peter 2:11-12) (NIV)
3. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7-8) (NIV)
If anything, the events of the last several weeks remind us of the seriousness of all of our sexual conduct. May these events call the church of Jesus to stress afresh what God wants of us as we commit to using our bodies to glorify our Saviour.