Last summer, a twenty-year old tape surfaced of Donald Trump bragging about all the things you can do to women if you’re rich and famous. Billy Bush giggled like a middle schooler, but said nothing, and was promptly fired. Women came forward… lots of them, from all walks of life, describing in detail how Trump did to them precisely what he said on tape he could do. They were discounted and shamed. Trump went on to become president.
Roy Moore, during a run for the U.S. senate, was recently accused of sexually assaulting multiple women when they were children. Women spoke out from all over, with remarkably similar stories, having nothing to gain and everything to lose. A local mall indicated he was banned from the premises for preying on young girls. His supporters indicate that unless he’s convicted they will continue to support him… and conviction is literally impossible as the statute of limitations has expired. The Republican National Committee pulled their financial support… then gave it back when the race tightened. Alabama voters are repeatedly quoted as saying they need Moore in that position because he fights for the right of unborn children.
Greg Schiano was an assistant coach at Penn State when another coach was convicted of sexually abusing football players. In a deposition, another assistant coach said that other people, including Schiano, knew about the abuse. Schiano denied that account, was not in any position of supervision over the sexual abuser, and says he never witnessed or suspected any abuse. He was never accused nor convicted of any abuse or any crime. He was later hired by Ohio State and was a successful assistant under Urban Meyer, and received outstanding evaluations for performance, character and family values. He then applied for a head coaching job at the University of Tennessee. After initially getting the job, public outcry led to the university rescinding his offer and firing the athletic director. Multiple high-ranking state officials expressed moral outrage that Schiano would be considered for a role placing him as “the face of the state of Tennessee”. The same state that overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump, who was accused not of knowing about abuse but of actually committing it, to become the face of the United States.
Today Show anchor Matt Lauer was fired after multiple allegations from women of inappropriate sexual conduct.
Congressman John Conyers resigned after multiple accusations of sexual misconduct.
Producer Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis C.K., Fox News host and author Bill O’Reilly, televangelist Robert Scoble, CBS journalist Charlie Rose, and countless others across the nation have either resigned in disgrace or been fired for inappropriate sexual conduct.
So let me get this straight.
If you are not accused or convicted of sexual misconduct or any other crime, but fail to report what you deny you ever saw, then ten years later you are morally unfit to be the head football coach of a major university.
If you are accused of sexual misconduct and are the face of a major TV network or popular television show, a journalist, a congressman, or a low-ranking state politician, you must quit or be fired.
If you are accused by multiple independent accounts of sexually assaulting teenage girls, but promise to fight for the rights of unborn babies, you are fit to run for the United States Senate.
If you are video taped saying you can do whatever you want to women, including forcibly kissing them or grabbing them by the pussy, and then multiple women accuse you of those very acts and more, you are elected President of the United States with support from evangelical Christian leaders across the nation. You are then able to dismiss video tape evidence of your earlier statements as fake news, publicly endorse the senatorial candidate accused of sexually abusing children, and maintain the support of evangelical Christian leaders.
This world I’m living in… it makes no sense. There’s no consistency, no reason, no principles, no logic. It feels like up is down and down is up. The people who taught me morality, courage and wisdom are acting like amoral, foolish cowards. They preach grace and righteousness, but lack the tiniest crumb of courage to stand for what is right – opting, instead, to forge ahead with a “might makes right” philosophy that flies in the face of everything they claim to stand for. The shortest verse in the Bible is “Jesus wept.” I won’t be presumptive enough to say how Jesus feels about all of this… but I will say with certainty that I’m weeping.
My own “grown-up Christmas list” is that those who are alone and hurting will find healing and love… that those who hurt and lie and exploit others will be seen for who they are and stopped… that leaders who are brave enough to do what’s right regardless of consequences will emerge… and that ordinary people who see from differing perspectives will begin to find common ground and grow towards rather than away from each other.
During the holiday season… may we somehow, some way, against all odds, begin to get just a few things straight.