Christians Need More Moral Courage
Remember WWJD? For those who don’t, WWJD or What Would Jesus Do? was a popular abbreviation on bracelets in the 1990s worn as a reminder of Christian morals. With all of the sexual misconduct scandals emerging every day, it seems a good time to return to that question: What Would Jesus do?
First of all, Jesus treated all women with respect. He would not condemn a woman of adultery and in fact, criticized others for attacking her when they themselves had sinned. He canceled marks of divorce against a woman, persuading a town about the protection of individual rights. He gave woman equal treatment.
He told his followers “man has no rightful authority over woman unless the woman has willingly and voluntarily given him such authority.” Jesus definitely knew that “no means no.”
While there are examples of sexual violence in the Bible, there is also swift retribution. Sexual assaults started three civil wars. God tells His followers “And whosoever shall offend one of [these] little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.”
And yet there this does not completely translate into the modern era. We have political leaders who use Biblical stories to justify Roy Moore engaging in sexual misconduct with children. We have political leaders who are silent about prominent politicians, including our president, being accused by multiple victims of sexual assault. We have individuals who claim to support human rights and are faithful Christians who don’t speak up about Harvey Weinstein until much too late. WRN has reported there are religious communities that use religious doctrine to justify marrying young girls or sexual violence.
By the time you have gotten to this part of the article a woman has been sexually assaulted. One in four women will become a victim of sexual assault in their lifetimes. And since around 16% of sexual crimes are reported, these are conservative estimates. Yet, there are still God-fearing Christians who blame the victim: “she was asking for it…why did she wait so long…she is a liar.” And let’s not forget that 1 in 6 men will also become victims of sexual assault. That does not even cover the amounts of degradation that occurs through catcalls, inappropriate comments, etc. If you don’t think that is true talk to any woman about their online dating profile and the responses they get, how safe they feel walking home alone, or the last time someone made a remark that made them uncomfortable.
Christians need to be more outspoken about their heinous attacks. This does not mean fighting hate with hate. You can forgive the person but still, call for retribution. The first step is being heard.
WWJD? He always spoke out against injustice, he always defended the vulnerable, and he had the moral courage to never stay silent. We should demand the same of ourselves and our leaders. The question might need to shift from what would Jesus do to what should we do.