I wrote previously about the battle over sexual harassment at Microsoft’s recent annual shareholder meeting. I pointed out that people who believe in private property and the superiority of market exchange should not let themselves be talked out of using their property rights, which includes voting authority. They should not accept the distorted view that capitalism requires the holders of capital to remain passive when a company fails to use corporate assets wisely or morally. It’s not a violation of the system for shareholders to vote; it is the system!
Another misunderstanding I see is the idea that conservative Christians should be dismissive of sexual harassment and abuse issues. Perhaps this idea comes from attempts in the past to use last-minute claims of sexual harassment against Supreme Court nominees who do not fall in line with abortion ideology. But I think it goes deeper than that. It's almost as though sexual harassment claims are seen as "their" issue, the left's issue. Not our business. When allegations were coming out against Bill O'Reilly and Roger Ailes, many conservatives, including those who associated themselves with "traditional values," etc., were quick to defend, until the evidence became overwhelming and undeniable. We can now add the late Ravi Zacharias to the list and many of his supporters who simply looked the other way and shared podiums and stages with the man long after credible allegations had come gushing forth.
Slow-walking and foot-dragging of abuse claims by Liberty University and the Southern Baptist Convention have been detailed by this publisher. And the pattern goes beyond one-off events, or even beyond allowing these things to happen in the first place. It seems to include a bias towards the alleged abuser and against the alleged victim.
There are, of course, legitimate concerns about environments in which (usually men) are presumed guilty and stripped of the presumption of innocence, but that is no excuse for a thumb on the scale in the other direction. Not every case is "Duke Lacrosse Team," a situation in which allegations were widely accepted by the press on the claim of one person and later failed to be pan out. But stories like that are regular fodder in conservative media. I have seen, over and over again, knee-jerk reactions against allegations that passed the Biblical standard of coming from "two or three witnesses," with off-hand references to Duke Lacrosse or some other case of false accusation that circulates in talk radio.
But the Bible is crystal clear on this matter. Sexual abuse is a sin, a personal sin and a social sin. Going back to the very beginning, it was the job of the man to protect the garden, including the most valuable thing in the garden, the woman, as I have argued here (Applying Biblical Principles to Our Epidemic of Sexual Misconduct); here (The Sexual Abuse Epidemic and the One Story That Can End It) and here (John MacArthur blames the woman, just like Adam did).
The Bible has many examples, but a few stand out to me as being of national significance. First the sons of Eli who engaged in systemic sexual abuse of women who worked in the Temple. This abuse caused the nation to lose confidence in Eli and in the governing class of Israel and fomented a serious shift in power (see 1 Samuel 2.) Later, God would warn about the dangers of a monarchy and hinted at sexual abuse in that the king would take sons and daughters into his household (though not explicitly for sexual purposes, but historical context suggests it) and of course there is David and Bathsheba, which led to "the sword…never departing from (his) house."
Christians should not be last in and first out when it comes to dealing with sexual abuse issues. Unfortunately, we have conceded this zone often to those who are not guided by the Bible, but who in this matter are more Biblical than we are.
I'm pleased to have been part of the process of approval for this resolution. I can only hope that in the future, Christians would take the lead rather than tag along.
Jerry Bowyer is financial economist, president of Bowyer Research, and author of “The Maker Versus the Takers: What Jesus Really Said About Social Justice and Economics.”