Purity and Politics

Following the news the past few weeks, as it has been for the past year and a half, has been a shocking, sad, and emotional experience. I’ve been especially disappointed by Christian leaders who again and again have traded decency and justice for political gain.

It first became clear last October, when the Access Hollywood tape was released and then-candidate Donald Trump bragged about committing sexual assault. When that wasn’t a deal-breaker to the culture and leaders who shoved messages of purity and modesty down my throat throughout my teenage years, I knew. I knew I’d been lied to. That all their messages about “saving myself” and “not causing anyone to stumble” were just about power and control. All that sexual purity bullshit doesn’t matter when there’s a political office to be won. Never mind that a whole generation of us who bought their purity culture narrative carry around baggage and shame to this day because of those messages.

There’s been an avalanche of secrets finally being told, lies uncovered and men being outed for the horrible things they have done to women. This is a non-partisan problem, but it’s been so disheartening to see the Christian leaders who supposedly have the moral authority in this country bend over backwards to defend Roy Moore, a pedophile who is also running for a seat in the United States Senate. Last week, Franklin Graham tweeted,

“The hypocrisy of Washington has no bounds. So many denouncing Roy Moore when they are guilty of doing much worse than what he has been accused of supposedly doing. Shame on those hypocrites.”

Who is denouncing Roy Moore who is guilty of doing worse than harassing and assaulting teenage girls? Who? 

Back in August, Dr. James Dobson endorsed Roy Moore, saying,

“I often ask God to raise up men and women of faith who will govern the nation with Biblical wisdom. I believe Judge Moore to be such a man for this time.”

Dobson has not withdrawn any support of Moore since the recent allegations. Clearly, to these men, there is nothing worse than having a Democrat in political office, even if that means electing a sexual predator instead, as long as he’s a Republican. It’s disgusting.

I don’t want to care about Franklin Graham and James Dobson. I went to one of Graham’s rallies in college and even then, it creeped me out how his whole schtick was to get the most college students down for the alter call to be “saved”. And I’ve held a grudge against Dobson since I was a kid and one of his books told my mom not to let me play with Barbies (ironically, because of their bodies).

But I do care because these are men, along with men like Jerry Falwell Jr, Eric Metaxas, and Robert Jeffress who continue to push their political agendas in the name of Jesus, and so many people are falling for it. Meanwhile, there are thousands of women across this country saying #metoo (and now #churchtoo, which is even more heartbreaking and infuriating) and looking for support and healing. And when some of them look to the Church, they see these leaders defending the indefensible again and again, instead of standing up for the victims.

This morning, Rachel Held Evans posted a tweet that sums up everything I’ve been feeling for the past 18 months:

RHE

We have to do better than this, and be better than this. Christians and our leaders should be shouting louder than anyone about the sexual assault problem in our country. We should be refusing to support men like Donald Trump and Roy Moore, regardless of their political party platform, judicial appointments, or the economic advantages we may get from their policies.  And we have to teach our daughters about their sexuality in a way that doesn’t shame them or allow it to be used as a means to control them. Starting now, there should be #nomoore, and NO MORE.

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