Recently, nothing has gotte my goat more than the state of the modern church (as we call it). Here’s a couple of lines to set you to thinking:
Last June, whenever Hope Witsell, a thirteen-year-old from rural Florida, walked into a classroom, someone invariably said, “Oh, here comes the slut.” No matter where she tried to hide at Beth Shields Middle School, kids taunted her. Turns out that Witsell had sent a photo of herself topless to a boy she liked.
A student advisor for the local chapter of Future Farmers of America (FFA) who went to church every Sunday with her parents and enjoyed fishing with her father, Witsell wrote in her diary that, “Tons of people talk about me behind my back and I hate it because they call me a whore! And I can’t be a whore I’m too inexperienced.
Let me start here: I’m very saddened by the end result here. The girl committed suicide. It drives me crazy that she had this entire support group around her, and she couldn’t find anyone to help her, to talk to her, to make her understand the underlying problem with sending nude pictures of yourself around on phones, even if you don’t intend anyone but “a boy you like” to see them.
Now, of course, the article’s point is that people shouldn’t go around calling girls these names, because, after all, sex is a perfectly natural part of life, shoudl never be restricted, and hence the idea of a girl being “bad” because she chases a boy using sex is all wrong. In fact, the article goes on to make this point explicitly.
Crucially, they get the idea that taking a picture of their naked breasts is empowering and a legitimate way to get attention. This is not an unreasonable conclusion, given the circumstances.
At the same time, there is also a bizarre prudery. Two years ago, three juniors at a public high school in suburban New York were suspended for using the word “vagina” during a reading of “The Vagina Monologues.” If you were a 13-year-old girl, wouldn’t you be confused?
As the sad, sad story of Hope Witsell shows, there shouldn’t be any distinction made between those who deserve a bad reputation and those who don’t. No girl deserves to be called a “slut.” After all, when was the last time a sexually active boy was punished by his school or harassed by his peers? Dividing “sluts” into the innocent and guilty reinforces the idea that male sexuality is normal while female sexuality is deviant at worst, defiant at best. Look what happens when this thinking is taken to its extreme.
Does anyone catch the problem here? The missing point? That our society does teach that it’s okay to make yourself into an object to get attention, whether it’s a sex object, or any other sort of object. The last lines of the article actually approve of this, and hence support the conclusion the author so bewails, that turning yourself into an object gives others permission to treat you like an object, too. “Expressing your sexuality” outside marriage is, specifically, making yourself into an object.
And the use of the church in the article, the impression that this girl must be a “good girl” because she goes to church, in a society, and magazine, that so hates the fundamental proposition that God exists, is about as stuffed with nonsense as you can get. Unless, of course, the church in question is one that allows people to say they hate the Scriptures, and that the Trinity is a leftover from ancient goddess religions.
But here is the question that really rankles me: Where was the church in all of this?
Do churches teach worldview any longer? Is our foundation in logic and Scripture so slight that we go along with the world on all of this? Couldn’t someone there explain to this girl why this was happening, rather than just making her feel bad? The church has lost its way, badly.