“This is a moment that demands a frank and honest assessment about where we stand and more generally the safety of women. Let me be clear: There is no excuse for this alleged behavior. It is systematic and pervasive.”
With these emotional words, Norah O’Donnell reported Tuesday morning that Charlie Rose, her colleague at CBS This Morning, had been suspended after eight women accused him of sexual misconduct. The network fired Rose yesterday afternoon. PBS canceled his show shortly thereafter.
Meanwhile, the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives is facing an ethics investigation.
John Conyers has been representing Michigan’s thirteenth congressional district in Washington since 1965. Now reports allege that he paid over $27,000 to settle a complaint from a woman who claimed she was fired from his staff because she rejected his sexual advances.
Other staff members stated that they witnessed Conyers touching female staffers inappropriately and requesting sexual favors. The congressman has denied the charges: “I expressly and vehemently denied the allegations made against me, and continue to do so.”
This morning’s New York Times reports that Pixar co-founder John Lasseter will take a “six-month sabbatical” after unspecified “missteps” that made some employees feel “disrespected or uncomfortable.” In recent weeks, more than thirty men have been accused of sexual immorality.
According to a new poll, a third of women say they have been sexually harassed or abused at work. What will it take for such horrific behavior to stop?
How we got here
Our postmodern culture has decided that all truth is personal and subjective (except the claim that truth is personal and subjective, of course). In a society that denies objective meaning, people cannot possess objective or inherent value. Their worth is then determined by their usefulness to others.
This view is known as “instrumentalism“—a theory or object is valued according to its use. It is applied to unborn babies who are cherished or rejected by their parents as they choose. It is reflected in the euthanasia debate of our day—if life has no intrinsic worth, it can be ended whenever the individual wishes.
If there are no objective values, women will not be valued objectively.
If women claim they have been subjected to inappropriate conduct, all too often they have received unfair treatment that “puts the victim on trial.” If their story appears in the liberal press, conservatives dismiss it; if it appears in the conservative press, liberals dismiss it.
How God sees women
The Lord created humankind “in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). From the beginning, women were just as reflective of the divine image as men, just as valued by their Father.
Women such as Deborah and Jael were biblical warriors. Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Noadiah, Anna, and the daughters of Philip were prophets. A woman named Junia was such an important leader that she was “outstanding among the apostles” (Romans 16:7 NIV). Lydia was the first convert in Asia. Mary Magdalene was the first witness to the risen Christ.
Clearly, God sees women as equal to men and so valuable that they are worth the death of his Son. Men and women are one family in Christ (Galatians 3:28). Who are we to value our sisters less than our Father does?
Let’s close with two imperatives for this urgent hour.
One: Be who we want others to be.
Sexual purity is nonnegotiable for a follower of Jesus (Matthew 5:27–30). Seek holiness in your heart and consistency in your witness.
Two: Pray fervently.
Pray for our leaders to be godly and wise (1 Timothy 2:1–2). Pray for abusers to be stopped and victims to be encouraged and protected.
Pray for God to use this cultural moment to show us our need for biblical truth and moral character. Pray for pastors and churches to model the integrity our society so desperately needs.
St. Augustine prayed, “Renew thy Church, O Lord, beginning with me.” Let’s pray the same for our culture today.