Christian Confusion on Sexual Ethics – Sexual Purity is For All Ages and All Marital Statuses, and Sexual Sin is Not Just Limited to Adultery – Rape is Not An Affair
Conservative Christians keeps presenting some very skewed views about sex and sexual sin.
While a lot of Christians have watered down the biblical teaching of “virginity- until- marriage,” the ones who still do bother to give it lip service seem to think that sexual sin only befalls unmarried people who are younger than age 25.
There is an ignorant assumption by most Christians that married couples will never commit sexual sin, because they are supposedly getting their sexual desires satiated on a regular basis with their spouse (which is false, see these links: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, for just a few examples).
In some recent news stories about rape, some Christians have been characterizing the reported rapes as being “extra marital affairs,” and one young lady, who was raped several times at age 19 by a co-worker, told her Christian college (B.J.U., Bob Jones University) about the rapes, and was told by college staff that she needed to repent of her sin of being a rape victim.
I wrote about the first story here:
(Link): Married Youth Pastor Jailed for Sexually Assaulting Teen Girl Writes Editorial About Said Abuse for Christianity Today, Uproar Ensues On Christian Blogs
One rape victim also made the comment in an interview that she thought in terms of sexual sin as being ‘adultery’ and did not have a concept of rape.
As one commentator over at SCCL Facebook group pointed out in regards to this news story about BJU’s mishandling of response to sexual assault victims (source),
- The lack of a working, moral vocabulary for sexual violation is a huge blindspot for faith communities. The Christianity Today article last week was also couched in “adultery” terms. The discussion of sexual morality has to grow outside the marriage/adultery frame. Also, that moral vocabulary has to do a better job in connecting to broader social justice. Less hush-up. More call-out.
It is true that often, in their stereotypes about sex and sexual sin, the Christians who do bother to preach against sexual sin any more (many do not preach against it), still often neglect to teach that celibacy applies to married couples (e.g., when one partner cannot perform, or the couple are apart for whatever reason), as well as to unmarried people, and that sexual purity applies to people of all ages, not just to teen-aged kids.
- June 18, 2014 1:00PM ET
by Claire Gordo
Raised in a conservative Mennonite home in rural Ohio, Katie Landry was a sheltered kid. She hadn’t even held hands with a boy when, at age 19, she says her supervisor at her summer job raped her. Two years later, and desperate for help, she reported the abuse to the dean of students at her college.
He goes, ‘Well, there’s always a sin under other sin. There’s a root sin,’” Landry remembers. “And he said, ‘We have to find the sin in your life that caused your rape.’ And I just ran.”
…But most damaging was how, through the language of Scripture, victims say they were told that their sins had brought on their rapes, that their trauma meant they were fighting God and that healing came from forgiving their rapists.
[Katie Landry discusses having been raped by a co-worker]
Landry didn’t know the word rape; she only knew adultery, and liked the man’s wife, she said. Afraid of her attacker and deeply ashamed, she said she failed most her classes first semester, and kept her assaults a secret until her junior year.
I do think there is something very amiss with any so-called Christian group, church, or denomination, that speaks of sexual sin only in terms of adultery, so that when a young, unmarried woman is sexually assaulted, she does not even have the terminology to describe it, or is not even familiar with the word “rape.”
I also wonder if the church Ms. Landry attended did not read aloud from the Scriptures, where episodes such as the rape of Tamar are discussed (see (Link): 2 Samuel 13:32).
Christians have idolized marriage to the point that it’s given them faulty views about sexual sin, where some of them think only un-married adults are capable of sexual sin, or others think that the only sexual sin married people are capable of is “adultery” (never mind all the married men who view porn, use prostitutes or who sexually fondle children, aside from men raping 19 year old women).
I see a lot of outrage over this B.J.U. story from left wingers, ex Christians, etc, and rightly so – but – these are the same groups who criticize sexual purity teachings, which I find a tad hypocritical.
If Christians supported and taught sexual purity across the board rather than only emphasizing virginity for females ages teen to 25, but also taught and upheld the biblical views that males are to remain virgins until marriage as well, and that any sexual activity outside of marriage (rape, consensual affairs, porn use, etc), was wrong, maybe some of these problems could be lowered.
(Link): Perverted Christian Married Couple Wants to “Wife Swap” (For Sex) With Other Christian Couple – Why Christians Need to Uphold Chastity / Celibacy For All People Even Married Couples Not Just Teens
(Link): Why Christians Need to Uphold Lifelong Celibacy as an Option for All Instead of Merely Pressuring All to Marry – vis a vis Sexless Marriages, Counselors Who Tell Marrieds that Having Affairs Can Help their Marriages