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Rape culture and the sexual revolution

By Scott Tibbs, April 29, 2013

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. -- I Corinthians 6:18

Can you really separate rape culture from the sexual revolution and our "anything goes" attitude toward sex? I do not think you can. The former is a product of and feeds on the latter.

I have been following three shocking cases where teenage girls were raped. Either the rapists or bystanders took photographs of the victims and shared the photos on social media or by sending the photos to each other. Two of the victims (Rehtaeh Parsons and Audrie Pott) committed suicide due to the online harassment or widespread dissemination of the photographs of them in a vulnerable state. Pott's attackers allegedly wrote on her unconscious body. The photos shared on social media were critical in convicting the rapists in Steubenville, Ohio.

While I have been following these three cases, it has become increasingly obvious to me that our sexually permissive culture - brought about by the sexual revolution of the 1960's - is at the root of these rapes, and especially the callous and spiteful gloating about the crimes on social media websites.

While sexual sin has certainly existed all throughout history, it was not that long ago that American culture generally embraced the Christian world view that sexual activity is to be confined to the marriage bed. But over the last forty or fifty years, Christianity's influence over our culture has been deeply eroded to the point that most of the cultural and social expectations regarding the proper boundaries have been abolished - with more on the way. For one shocking example, see this post at BaylyBlog for a quote by a false "pastor" in New Mexico.

We have come to believe that we have a "right" to engage in whatever sexual behavior we wish, and that no one may judge us for it. Think about this for a minute: Were the attitudes of the rapists in the three cases I mentioned above fundamentally different than the attitudes of men who "hook up" with women on our college campuses? Is the attitude of the man who has a series of one night stands with various women fundamentally different from the two young men who raped those three teenage girls and then gloated about it electronically?

I would submit that the answer is "no." In both cases, the women and girls are little more than sexual playthings. These men don't care about the women themselves. They are the means to an end, with no more moral standing than a blow-up doll. They are used and discarded. When men see women as sexual toys rather than immortal souls made in the image of Almighty God, should we be surprised that the boundaries between consensual sex and rape begin to blur to the point that it does not matter what the woman or teenage girl wants?

If we want to address and fight against rape culture, then we need to get serious about undoing the horrific damage the sexual revolution has brought to our culture. From the broken families and economic consequences of no-fault divorce to the dramatic spread of sexually transmitted diseases brought about by widespread promiscuity, we cannot continue to ignore the consequences of the sexual revolution.

As with so many of our society's problems, the fault lies at the feet of the Christian church. Our churches have completely failed to preach, teach, rebuke and exhort on sexual morality and Almighty God's many commandments to be sexually pure. If sexual sin is not addressed by the Christian church, how can we possibly expect the world to respect Biblical sexual morality? They will rightly dismiss us as hypocrites. Revival and judgment must always begin with the house of God.