Some people believe that the impact of 2017’s wave of sexual harassment allegations is already changing Hollywood and Washington D.C. through the politics in particular and, American culture in general. The sexual harassment scandals remind me of a similar but slightly different phenomenon that occurred a few years ago, when the NFL was at a crisis point with the mushrooming domestic violence incidents that involved many NFL athletes. At that time, some analysts were predicting that the NFL telecasts were going to suffer because of widely publicized domestic abuse cases. However, most football fans did not give up their appetite for football due to particular athletes punching their fiancées or beating their children. Some argue that the 2017’s wave of sexual harassment is different than the wave of NFL domestic abuse because the #MeToo movement has pushed show business and D.C. politics to impose zero tolerance to guarantee a safe environment. Whether they will do so remains to be seen.
It is worth reflecting on the sexual harassment and domestic abuse issue from the perspective of divine revelation. Revelation was designed with a sinner in mind, and, thus, it is filled with words like repentance, forgiveness, and salvation. What the public sees in the 2017’s wave of sexual harassment is a trend among our culture: sin is falling into grace and disappearing from our concerns. Most cases of domestic violence or sexual harassment in larger societies will go unreported and under-punished. The Hollywood establishment and DC politicians do not want to address the issue in the context of sin because it can be explained by psychology, sociology, or gender studies. It need not be forgiven because sin does not exist.
In the first reading from the First Letter of St. John, we hear, “Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness. You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who remains in him sins; no one who sins has seen him or known him.” So, until the secular culture admits that those actors, politicians, and athletes are sinners like all of us, they will not be able to address the real issue of domestic abuse and sexual harassment. When the secular culture takes away the divine presence from our lives, what is left but a license to commit wrongdoing and the ability to get away with it.
Before we finish today’s prayer, let us spend a few moments speaking to God about the sin and evil around us. What might God be able to offer us as we continue to deal with the reality of sin and evil?