The Opportunity and Peril of our Hollywood Moment

The American culture seems to be experiencing a moment. We are finally awakening to the widespread abuse by sexual predators among the rich and powerful. The many salacious allegations against Harvey Weinstein was the catalyst. These spread to include numerous other leading men of Hollywood effectively ending their careers – at least for the time being. Of course, many such allegations existed as rumors for years, but now that journalists are shining a light on these scandals, Hollywood is taking them more seriously. Indeed, “Everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed” (John 3:20). The truth contagion is now spreading to congress. It seems increasingly plausible that half of all men in Hollywood and Washington D.C. will be exposed.

This is an opportunity for Christians. Many in America seem to be taking a collective step back from the grossest excesses of the sexual revolution. This revolution sought to divorce sex from loving, committed relationships and from raising a family. Sex could be “casual.” Casual sex objectifies humans as an assortment of body parts, and sex as mere genital stimulation. Such an emphasis necessarily leans toward selfishness. The rich and powerful are especially prone to narcissism and are therefore more likely to abuse other humans as sex objects. As our Dear Leader noted, “when you’re a star, they let you do it. They let you do anything.” They could thrust their fantasies on others and get away with it.

We also need to note the connection between fantasy and real life abuse. Jesus said, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matt 15:18-19). This is common sense and logical. It is foolish to think that illicit fantasy is morally neutral. We restrain our actions. We ought also to restrain our hearts. Sexual predators act out the fantasies they have nurtured through years of pornography use. Moreover, graphic sexual assault is now frequently depicted in popular MA programming, along with torture, gore and murder. Are these images we should be putting in our head?

There is also great peril for evangelical Christians in this Hollywood moment. We know that the church is not immune from the corruption we see in Hollywood. We know that some have suffered abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest, or a handsy Protestant youth pastor. We have heard about the “Patriarch” and his maid, and the mega-church pastor that is now divorced after his serial adultery was exposed. In most cases (at least among Protestants) churches react swiftly and decisively against those that have abused their trust. We must guard against the impulse to conceal sin in an effort to “protect” our own.

This danger for evangelicals is especially acute as the focus shifts from Hollywood to D.C. The danger is that a “party spirit” will warp our judgment if we perceive that a member of “our team” is threatened. Liberals have not hesitated to crucify fellow Liberals, whether in Hollywood or D.C., straight or gay, when credibly accused of wrongful sexual conduct. Yet when Senate candidate Roy Moore is credibly accused of the same, the instinct – especially (and incredibly) for many evangelicals – is to take refuge in baseless conspiracies and fake information. It is one thing to not rush to judgment. It is quite another to exclaim “impossible!” and to invent stories about witnesses being “paid by the fake media from the swamp.”

We are not entitled to alternative facts. God knows. “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known” (Lk 12:2). This is true whether you are a pagan in Hollywood, a Christian from Alabama, or even the President of the United States.