Scrutinizing Consent: Sex, Politics, and a Christian Perspective
If you have been watching the news recently, you likely have noticed many headlines of political sex scandals. The generic template is this; a male is running for office and a female steps into the light of the media to share that she and this male political figure had a sexual relationship. The disclosure often tarnishes the reputation of the male while everyone gathers around the table to discuss if the alleged sexual act was consensual or not. In the generic template, the male usually now married with kids, either denies the action ever happened, or states that it was consensual. The female usually holds the position that the act was not consensual and forced.
Various questions are asked by the public as they seek to determine if this act was consensual or not. The thought is often, if it was consensual, then there is no problem; however if it was forced, then this male political figure should step down, withdraw his bid for public office, and be criminally charged. The first question which often is asked by the public is “why now?”. Some ask, why is this claim regarding a sexual interaction just coming to light at this particular time. Often behind the question, “why now?”, is the unspoken thought that this revelation of sexual misconduct is only coming to light now because of malicious political will. Another question often asked is “what was the role of alcohol?”. Many are aware that alcohol often impairs one’s judgment, therefore the thought is how much can sexual consent be truly consenting if it is given in an impaired state? For example, many college universities have instituted policies which states that an individual (usually a male) can be charged with a certain degree of sexual assault if he has sex with a female who is impaired by alcohol because consent cannot be legally given (in certain jurisdictions) when one is intoxicated. Finally, another question that comes up is, “why would a female lie about such an incident if it wasn’t true?”. Some share that for too long women were not been believed when such situations were disclosed and that now; it is time for society to start taking sexual assaults and sexual harassment more seriously. As a result, many may often air on the side of believing the statements of the female, though on paper our judicial system presumes innocence until proven guilty.
Three Shades of Gray
It likely is safe to say that there have been many situations in which men have been sexually inappropriate with women. As the culture is changing and woman are finding their voice, there a climate of comfort and confidence which is allowing for the disclosure of many repressed experiences. With that said, it is likely also safe to say that there have also been situations in which such political allegations have been false. Finally, there is possibly also a third category of gray in which one party feels that consent is given while the other participates out of fear or pressure, unknown to the other. Though all three categories are likely represented at times in these cases, the question that society wants to know is which category is most common.
A Christian Perspective
When it comes to sex, society often shames Christianity for its values of purity and chastity; however if people were to reflects upon these gems of truth, they would see that the WORD of God was true 2,000 years ago and is still true today. The Bible promotes sex only within the context of marriage. Unfortunately, we live in a society which promotes sexual freedom and expression. By following a Christian perspective whereby individuals exercise sexual purity, saving sexual interactions to the area of marriage, many of these issues would be eliminated. The scrutiny of consent would be less of a problem if we were not in a society in which sexual affairs and sexual harassment in the workplace were so common. The perspective that I share with you will not answer the question of which category is most represented in these sexual misconduct cases; however my goal in this article is not to answer that question. Instead, it is to share the basic truth that if society were to make a shift to promoting the essential value of sexual purity and self-control, in which sex is valued and reserved for the area of marriage; then many (not all), of these situations would not be an issue. Unfortunately, we live in a hypersexual culture in which we use sex appeal to sell products in advertisements, and we are more focused on teaching children all the ways to have safe sex rather than how to exercise self-control and purity. Our culture is so sexual that people, even some Christians, identify themselves based on their sexuality rather than spirituality. Furthermore, we live in a culture saturated by pornography in which many men view woman as sex objects and in a culture which also unfortunately encourages women to use their sexuality as an object of power, rather than a treasure to keep safe and value.
To summarize, it should be stated clearly that sexual assaults against women (against anyone) is wrong. And though society often feels that whatever is done between two consenting adults is their business, a Christian perspective tells us that if society were to promote sexual purity in which the consent of sex was encouraged to be reserved to the beauty of marriage, we would cultivate a culture in which there would be less of a need to scrutinize if sexual consent was given. This is not to say that sexual assault cannot happen in marriage, it does, and men need to understand that no means no. However, if society seriously wants to do what is best for men, for women, and for children, I encourage everyone to take a honest look at the basic Christian value of sexual purity and find that God’s ways are not only best they are simpler (less complicated).
Love and God Bless,