Harvey Weinstein in the Whirlwind

Theatre Photography ID: 151700458 Copyright: SharpShooter

The Harvey Weinstein gale has caused a firestorm on the scale of the natural disasters in California, Montana and Canada, except this is no natural disaster. It is far worse. The dirty little secret is out, but how in the world did this monstrous tornado remain a secret so long?

We get angry with the perpetrators, as we should. We get angry with a culture in which men are emboldened to exploit women and in which those dirty little secrets can be kept dirty little secrets. But there is far more about which we should be angry.

There is a huge disconnect. We cry out for justice when we hear about sexual exploitation and abuse. We rightly condemned it, and we rightly condemn the perpetrators of it, but we have a culture that feeds it. We are the culture that feeds it, because “sex sells”, and we are buying it. We have created a culture that feeds the fire of monsters like Harvey Weinstein.

Our culture is saturated with sex. We see sex everywhere we turn, even in commercials for cars, even in family shows on TV, and sexual restraint and abstinence it has become almost a taboo topic. People who are virgins and are vocal about the intent to remain a virgin until marriage are marginalized as abnormal. We send a message to our children that sex can’t and shouldn’t be controlled.

According to an article on Webroot, Internet pornography by the numbers; a significant threat to society,

“The societal costs of pornography are staggering. The financial cost to business productivity in the U.S. alone is estimated at $16.9 Billion annually ; but the human toll, particularly among our youth and in our families, is far greater.”

….

“Pornography hurts adults, children, couples, families, and society. Among adolescents, pornography hinders the development of a healthy sexuality, and among adults, it distorts sexual attitudes and social realities. In families, pornography use leads to marital dissatisfaction, infidelity, separation, and divorce.”

Read the statistics in the article. They are staggering.

We say, though, that kids are going to “do it” anyway. In effect, we are saying that the sexual urge is so strong that we can’t and shouldn’t try to curb it; we can’t even curb our own sexual appetites; we should only encourage children to try be safe. In a culture in which we make fun of people who talk about the virtue of virginity, and in which we constantly feed our sexual appetites with everything we see and hear, is it any wonder that some people step over the line?

This in no way exonerates, excuses or discounts what any perpetrator of sexual exploitation or abuse has done. Just the opposite, as we rightfully condemn sexual exploitation and abuse, we need to wake up and rethink how we approach sex in our society. We are culpable too.

We can’t exalt sex as the ultimate in self-satisfaction and be shocked by the Harvey Weinsteins of the world. We have created the monster. We opened Pandora box in the 1960’s, and we are reaping the natural results of what we have done. This doesn’t excuse the Harvey Weinsteins of the world; rather it implicates us – all of us.

Years ago, in our churches and in our social structures outside of  church, we held to a standard of sex within marriage, sex between two consenting adults who have committed their lives to each other. We didn’t always get it right, certainly not even in the church, but we all knew what was right, what was best.

We have fueled a fire and and left it to burn. The boundaries of sex in our society have been pushed back like an overstretched condom to the point of bursting.

I am not advocating for the church-in-government plan (or for the government-in-church for that matter). This isn’t a religious issue that I’m addressing now. This is a social problem, and we have allowed it to happen. We have not only allowed it, we have fueled the fire.

“Free sex” was the battle cry in the 1960’s, and it has become the standard today. Anything goes…. as long as it is consensual… but the message about sex is this: it isn’t for the expression of love toward another human being anymore; it’s about gratifying me!

Sex is no longer about love in the context of family. Sex is about nothing more than self-gratification.

But, the problem is that sex  outside the bounds of a committed and loving relationship is a counterfeit. Sex for the sake of sex isn’t the fulfillment that is advertised.  It’s nothing but a physical appetite, like eating or drinking, and some people have insatiable appetites.

Sex outside of a committed relationship is messy and “complicated”. We step on each other’s feelings. We objectify people who deserve our love, treating them as objects of our own satisfaction. Sex outside a committed, monogamous relationship is like a fire allowed to burn without containment. Without fire, mankind and civilization itself,  would not long survive, but fire that isn’t contained and harnessed for our benefit can cause damage.

Another issue is that we are so politicized and polarized that we can’t even talk to each other productively about these issues. We all condemn Harvey Weinstein, but some of us not without a dig at Republicans if we are Democrat; and if we are Republicans, we heap on condemnation on Harvey Weinstein, while ignoring and trying to explain away Donald Trump.  We use our righteous indignation only as it serves our own purpose.

The parallel is striking to the way we view sex. We view sex as a means of self-gratification, and we use our righteous indignation as it suits our own agendas.

If we want to change our culture and make our culture safe for our daughters, our sisters, our wives, and our mothers, we need to stop being hypocrites. Every time we watch a sexually exploitative commercial and don’t turn it off, we are part of the problem. We can’t watch porn and condemn Harvey Weinstein because we are thinking what he is doing.

We can’t laud Hugh Hefner and condemn Weinstein. We can’t give Donald Trump a pass while we rail against the liberal left who allowed a monster like Weinstein to thrive under their pompous noses. We have no basis to be self-righteous on either side.

We have sown the wind, and we are reaping the whirlwind.

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