Sex Scandals Today: No One’s Calling It a Witch-Hunt

By Tom Gilson Published on November 26, 2017

I’m trying to imagine what the world would have been like if the Salem witch trials had been on the right track.

Impossible to imagine? Sure, for two reasons. First, we’ve got the facts securely in hand now. The accused “witches” of early Massachusetts were no such thing, for there is no such thing. Present-day Wicca is nothing like their supposed practices.

And a second reason we can’t imagine any truth to witch-hunt hysteria is because we can’t envision so many people being so bad. Europeans tried some 100,000 alleged witches in the early modern period. Could evil that horrible really be so widespread? It seems unlikely.

The parallels with Salem are striking. Except no one is calling it a witch-hunt.

Not a Witch-Hunt

Or it seemed unlikely, that is, until Harvey Weinstein’s downfall opened a torrent of sexual misconduct accusations. Now nearly 50 prominent men have been accused. Their numbers are rising at pace that shows no signs of letting up. The parallels with witch trials are striking. Except no one is calling it a witch-hunt.

The difference, of course, is that sexual harassment and violence are both real and wrong, unlike Salem witchcraft. The charges are supported by credible testimony, too. I seriously doubt they’re all correct, but the great majority seem credible and are probably true.

And there’s no hint of all this being fueled by hysteria. It looks instead like a lid’s finally been taken off. Women are finally finding the social support to say what’s needed saying for years.

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So we seem to be getting it surprisingly right this time for a change. What then might that mean?

Getting It Partly Right

What it doesn’t mean, unfortunately, is that we’ve finally got our moral priorities straight. Yes, we’ve landed squarely on one moral truth — and an important one. It’s wrong for the powerful to manipulate and to harm the less powerful for their own ends. Jeremiah 22:15-17 gives this warning to one who thinks himself great because he “competes in cedar” (the building-material of palaces and temples):

Did not your father eat and drink
and do justice and righteousness?
Then it was well with him.

He judged the cause of the poor and needy;
then it was well….

But you have eyes and heart
only for your dishonest gain,
for shedding innocent blood,
and for practicing oppression and violence.

So far so good. But the world is paying no attention to the other great moral crime involved here.

Could We Get the Rest Right, Too?

So kudos to our culture for getting a moral crusade halfway right.

I started here by trying to picture the unimaginable, so let’s keep going and try this one on for size: Consider the people and the media rising up united in moral outrage against the glorification of non-marital sex. When that day comes, then we can say our culture finally has its moral categories squared away. (Don’t hold your breath.)

Equality remains pretty much the only moral cause the left will stand and fight for. Today’s scandal-watching isn’t about whether sex outside of marriage is right or wrong. As a moral category, that’s been pretty much wiped off the mat — even though there’s plenty of evidence showing that reserving sex for marriage is the best of all possible ways to keep men from using women sexually, and even women from using men.

So kudos to our culture for getting a moral crusade halfway right. Real crimes are being brought to light. Real investigations are — mostly, I’d say, with reservations I need not bring in here — being used to determine truth or innocence.

If only we could go the rest of the way.

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  • Hmmm…

    This behavior strikes me as one of the inevitable results of pushing God out of our environment. That happened somewhat gradually, but it’s been a long time. A lot of people have less to no input from a moral code. Even the 10 Commandments posted around had impact. They inform of God’s attitude toward those behaviors and mindsets. For instance, Michael Brown, of this site, has mentioned that people have responded to some of his radio programs that they had never heard that homosexuality is wrong. But it is good that this first step is going forth, revealing the compulsion to behave this way and the hurtful effects. It opens a dialogue, which has the potential of leading to deeper probes into the nature and causes of this now exposed national sin. As this states, those who are protesting that this is just getting out of hand are missing the climate change and its import and utter necessity. As Christians, we can rejoice that corrections are coming, and pray that they be appropriate and sustained.

  • Paul

    “Could evil that horrible really be so widespread? It seems unlikely.”

    Considering there are people alive today who faught in a war with a death toll of 50 to 80 million depending how you count it, it really shouldn’t be hard to imagine such evil being widespread.

  • faithntrust

    IMO, there are very few females in this world that has not been sexually violated.

    • Ken Abbott

      You’ll have to define “sexually violated” if we are to evaluate that comment correctly.

      • faithntrust

        My intent was to make it generalized: from harassment/bullying for ‘favors’ to rape.

        • Ken Abbott

          So you maintain that very few women in this world have *not* been sexually harassed, bullied, or raped; phrased positively, that the great majority, perhaps almost all women have been so violated. Right?

          • faithntrust

            yes. some females are violated & do not know it & may never become aware of it i.e. voyeurism

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