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A View from the Altar / Lasciviousness at the 500-level
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Lasciviousness at the 500-level

The sexual morality of public leaders doesn’t look good these days with Weinergate going on, Arnold Schwarzenegger and his mistress getting outed, and lurid stories emerging about Senators Kennedy and Dodd simultaneously abusing a waitress. John “Breck girl” Edwards is back in the news and in jeopardy of becoming a felon, and the pompously named Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Gaul’s gift to international finance, forced himself on a hotel maid while wondering aloud if she knew who he was.

And going back a bit further, there were the countless misadventures of finger-wagging Bill Clinton whose exasperated staff bestowed the phrase “bimbo eruptions” upon American letters. Then follows the long, grey line of interns and pages with various episodes of “sexting” sent from the cell phones of congressional pervs to persons of tender years, a sin not available to lechers of ages past.

By now we all know about problems with LBJ, JFK, Ike, FDR, and Warren G. Harding concerning whom a history professor assured me that he executed his trysts in White House broom closets. Even Grover Cleveland (gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha), stands rather credibly accused of raping a widow and then instigating a campaign of slander against her to shield his political viability. When have powerful people not exploited their power to get sex?

And what do we do about a problem that is impossible to solve?

One reaction is to become connoisseurs of human folly (HT: Jane Austen) and guffaw at the show, especially when your opponents are starring in it. Like crossbreeding orcs with goblins, Our Time features grizzled old lust committing miscegenation with that swarthy and seductive young internet. I’ve never seen a more preposterous political suicide than Anthony Weiner’s, nor a faster one. A photo of his crotch went forth from his private Twitter account to the whole world exposing both his reproductive unit and his unconventional beliefs about what attracts women. Note One to Mr. Weiner: Normal women do not delight to receive a phone cam shot of a male privy member. Those things just aren’t that pretty, no, not even yours, believe it or not. Note Two to Mr. Weiner: With a surname like Weiner, you just freaken’ don’t do stuff like this.

A second possible reaction might be to try and ignore all this.  Good luck with that one.

A third possible reaction is the John Baptist approach.  The church has a prophetic role in denouncing evil so this needs doing.  However, you should know that it’s exceedingly rare for the prophetic role to bring about lasting repentance (John 5:35).  If it didn’t work for John Baptist who was, according to our Lord, the greatest of the prophets, it’s not likely you’ll outdo him.  So by all means do proclaim the voice of the seven thunders, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any craven image.”  I might even link your sermon on my blog.  Just don’t get the idea that you can do to modern rulers what John Baptist couldn’t do to Herod.

The final thing — and this is where we should put our Gospel money — is on living like the church ought to.  This generation loves the darkness, not uniquely, but just like others did (John 3:19).  We make the greatest impact when we maintain the greatest contrast.  Want to change your world?  Follow Christ.  Light up and live clean.  Find somebody that needs his grace and give it, expecting nothing in return.  We’ve got to trust the Master’s counsel that we do more good in simply following him than we ever do otherwise.  As a smart man once advised me, “Steve, you can’t fight everything; there’s just not time.”  We have to pick what we’re going to do, and felling a sap like Weiner just doesn’t make the top ten.  Besides, he’s doing well enough on his own.

otherbrothersteve@gmail.com

2 Comments

  1. hear hear!

    This is my earlier take on the same theme:
    http://dailyweaving.blogspot.com/2008/08/where-is-virtuous-man.html

    I’ve chosen this one as a battle worth fighting – and I see the root of it in what we teach our children. I feel blessed in being given the opportunity to teach at our Christian school …and with the mercy of God, I’ll have my chance to fully develop my program on virtue within relationships, honesty, integrity and what it means to be noble. Interestingly, a word that few 8-13 yr. olds recognize.

    Posted on 03-Jun-11 at 8:27 am | Permalink
  2. May the Lord bless your work in Christian school, and may all the kids come to know Christ as Savior and Lord.

    Posted on 03-Jun-11 at 14:00 pm | Permalink

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