Category: Sex & Gender

‘It’s a girl,’ should always cause a celebration

Three of the best words I’ve heard in my life are, “It’s a girl.” Those words are right up there with, “It’s a boy.” No difference whatsoever. But I am a part of this culture, where the births of both girls and boys can be celebrated.

A new documentary titled “It’s a Girl,” has the subtitle, “The Three Deadliest Words in the World.” The film deals with “gendercide,” which is the forced abortion of baby girls in China, India, and some other countries. Eric Metaxas, in a column this week at breakpoint.org, brought my attention to the matter.

It is hard to comprehend the appalling nature of such thinking, but then I remember some of the attitudes I detected in my younger years.  Boys sure seemed to be valued more; even a kid could pick it up. This attitude sadly lingers among some today.

There is a great ethical distance between sexist attitudes and sex-based abortion, but sexist attitudes make sex-based abortion possible. And sexist attitudes have killed the spirits of many girls and women. I’m glad many others have not allowed such thinking to hold them back.

As a man and the father of three daughters (and three sons), I simply am disgusted with some of the attitudes men have toward women and girls. Scripture teaches it should be otherwise.

“But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:25-28 NRSV)

We need to work to bring international pressure against “gendercide.” Shadowline Films’ documentary tells the stories of women who are pressured to actually kill for a son and of mothers who would do anything to save their daughters. A trailer of the film is on YouTube, and there is a web site devoted to promoting and distributing the film to groups, including churches.

But as we work regarding this international situation, we ought also to look at our own attitudes about gender issues. We have come a long way, but we have farther to go.

Sex and the Dallas Cowboys

I wonder what Tom Landry would think. The Dallas Cowboys have a new tenant in their stadium–Victoria’s Secret PINK, a shop for young women.

“We think it’s cute as a bug and very in place to show it and sell it out there,” owner Jerry Jones said on KRLD-FM.

The store opened on the Monday night when the Cowboys hosted the Chicago Bears. The ‘Boys got whupped that night, so at least two things are different from the Landry years–the Cowboys are not respected much on the field and women can now buy underwear at the stadium. (PINK has other sports deals, but Cowboys’ Stadium is the first NFL venue to have a store.)

Forgive me, but in this culture when one talks about Victoria’s Secret, they generally are thinking about sex.

A few years ago, Baptist ethicist David Gushee gave a lecture on sex at Missouri Baptist University that was later adapted for the journal Christian Ethics Today. Gushee dealt with current attitudes toward  sex in American culture and, among other things, made the connection to advertisers and businesses.

“And of course there was the discovery of sex by the advertisers and businesses of America, who knew that sex sells. Loosening sexual morals would mean greater tolerance for selling products on the basis of what used to be called sex appeal.”

PINK apparently sells shirts, shorts, and other outer wear, so some may say I’m overreacting to call attention to it. Maybe so, but the reality is that American culture continues to move further away from biblical norms regarding sex. Gushee’s piece in CET does an excellent job of rather quickly stating what has happened in America over recent decades, how it is different from a biblical ethic, and the difference Christ can make in lives.

“On the matter of sexual morality, changing cultural patterns have mainly brought less stable relationships, more sex-related heartbreak, more exploitation of women, more unwanted pregnancy, more abortion, and a weakening of marriage as an institution.

“Christians need to develop a counterculture in which we reinforce biblical values with one another and learn to live differently from the world around us where necessary, as in this case. As we embody—not just talk about, but live out—a different way of life, we bear powerful witness to those around us of the difference that Christ makes.”

In such a counter-cultural world, it is doubtful Victoria’s Secret would have a store at the stadium. Of course, we probably would not even have such an opulent stadium. Two of my daughters would say that the Green Bay Packers are today’s America’s Team and have some of the old values to go with it–as in using local high school cheerleaders not skimpily dress adult ones. Life is complicated.

Pornography fueling human trafficking

Attention: Pornography is causing more pain and suffering than many imagine. The Internet is the latest means of encouraging sexual fantasies, but the devastating impact of pornography is anything but a fantasy. There are victims, real victims.

Ken Camp of the Baptist Standard has written a helpful story that connects pornography to human trafficking. Ken covered a recent “Freedom Ring” event at First Baptist Church of Commerce that dealt with trafficking. Freedom Ring is an alliance of Christians against human trafficking, and the Texas Baptist Advocacy/Care Center and Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas are key partners in the effort.

Pornography represents a form of commercial sexual exploitation with “branches and tentacles that reach into our homes,” said Noel Bouché, vice president of PureHope. Pornography constitutes 10 percent of the Internet’s content, and its creators use trafficking victims—many of them minors—in porn production, Noel Bouché, vice president of PureHope, told the Commerce gathering.

There is an evil at work here that is hard to comprehend, and it’s fueled by money, much of it paid by viewers of pornography.

Christians need to realize the magnitude of the commercial sex industry,  said Tomi Grover, founder of TraffickStop, which is supported by the Texas Baptist Cooperative Program and the Mary Hill Davis Offering for Texas Missions.

“Pornography in the United States makes more than the National Football League. It makes more than Major League Baseball. It makes more than the National Basketball Association. In fact, it makes more than all three combined,” Grover said.

“It’s a global problem that’s happening in our own country and that’s being channeled into every home,” Bouché said.

Grover made a staggering comment. “The average age of exposure to pornography is 8 years old,” she said. “Exposing children to porn is like putting their brains on opiate drugs.”

Bouché urged Christians to pursue a four-fold response–pray, understand, resolve, and engage.

Why respond? Because Scripture teaches that every person is his or her brother’s keeper, and God hears the cry of the oppressed, said Van Christian, pastor of First Baptist Church in Comanche. Churches cannot escape their responsibility to God when it comes to responding to issues of trafficking and sexual exploitation.

The Baptist Standard story provides more detail on the conference.

This needs to be talked about in our churches–from the pulpit and in smaller groups. It’s not easy to talk about, but the need is there. People are hurting and suffering. We need to care enough to do something.