Archive for November 15th, 2017

At one time, not so long ago, there was a battle over “sex and violence” in movies and the way movies should be rated for movie goers.  This battle almost seems antiquated these days but it is still here as we read the revelations of Hollywood and Washington and the current sexual abuse of women.

I work as a hospice chaplain for a non-profit hospice which is secular. The hospice employees are required to go on line to watch videos on all sorts of topics relevant to the post-modern workplace, and topics specific to hospice in terms of medical practice, e.g “bloodborne pathogens”.  As in probably most workplaces the number one training is in “Preventing, Recognizing, and Reporting Abuse”, especially sexual abuse.  I think this is necessary and good.

I realized today two missing aspects of this training to stop sexual abuse. 

First, the sexual abuser and those abused are never talked about as being married. A fellow employee starts “hitting on you” and you know John is married with 2 children.  The ramifications of his behavior not only affects you but also John and John’s wife Mary, his two children and even John’s own Father and Mother.  Besides saying, “No, this is inappropriate, so please stop”, but also to say, “Please remember John, you are a married man, you have children, think about what you are doing.”   This begs the question as to the reason why marriage is never mentioned.  I do not have a ready answer but maybe you do.

The second missing aspect is that sexual abuse is nothing new.  It is as old as Adam.  Remember the narrative of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, Genesis 39. The Church has always had sexual abuse manual for all sorts of sexual sins, the 6th Commandment:  You shall not commit adultery. Isn’t it devilishly convenient that there has been a philosophical and theological denial of moral law in our day as itself antiquated?  Isn’t it devilishly convenient that whole church bodies have rewritten this commandment to fit their desires?   Luther’s Large Catechism is a good manual for “Preventing, Recognizing, and Reporting Abuse”.  The 6th commandment is actually about marriage and isn’t it devilishly convenient that marriage between man and woman is denied and that we have no moral defense against pornography?  Isn’t it devilishly convenient that the 3rd use of the Law is denied to exhort Christians to live as Christ has redeemed us? Nevertheless, we see the rampant terror from the damage to marriage morality and in Christ, joy in marriage. From Luther’s explanation of the 6th commandment for preventing, recognizing and reporting sexual abuse: 

“…because among us there is such a shameful mess and the very dregs of all vice and lewdness, this commandment is directed also against all manner of unchastity, whatever it may be called; 203] and not only is the external act forbidden, but also every kind of cause, incitement, and means, so that the heart, the lips, and the whole body may be chaste and afford no opportunity, help, or persuasion to inchastity. 204] And not only this, but that we also make resistance, afford protection and rescue wherever there is danger and need; and again, that we give help and counsel, so as to maintain our neighbor’s honor. For whenever you omit this when you could make resistance, or connive at it as if it did not concern you, you are as truly guilty as the one perpetrating the deed. 205] Thus, to state it in the briefest manner, there is required this much, that every one both live chastely himself and help his neighbor do the same, so that God by this commandment wishes to hedge round about and protect [as with a rampart] every spouse that no one trespass against them.

I know this will not be cited in my next preventing sexual abuse seminar but this is taught in faithful seminaries and congregations and is a good place for the Church to prevent, recognize and report sexual abuse.  For the Church to “report sexual abuse” is to confess it before the Lord and a pastor for Christ’s forgiveness and amendment of one’s sinful life.


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