Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was outed as a sexual predator last week in a New York Times story. Or, more accurately, he was outed nationally and with corroborating evidence. His predations on young women have long been the rumor of the film industry. Thus far twenty-seven women have made public accusations against Weinstein, including Oscar winners Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Mira Sorvino. Many of the accusations involve a pattern: invite a young actress to his hotel for a meeting, have them sent to his room instead of a conference room, and then exposing himself partially or fully naked while asking to give or receive a massage. Others claim Weinstein crossed the line from unwanted sexual advances to full-out sexual assault. Rose McGowan alleges that Weinstein raped her, while other women have received legal settlements in the past for alleged sexual harassment or assault. Though Weinstein unequivocally denies any allegations of non-consensual sex, he was fired by the board of the Weinstein Company and criminal charges are possible. Currently, in a move so cliché his former studio would have cut it from the script, Weinstein is in an Arizona rehab facility seeking treatment for sex addiction.
Meanwhile, Hollywood has caught fire with outrage. Every A-lister with a Twitter account has expressed deep concern, anger, and shock at the situation. He is persona non grata in Los Angeles: his name has been stripped from film credits, he was fired and chased out of town, and no one is willing to stand alongside him in solidarity. It’s almost as if he’d been outed as a Republican.
But the pressing question is Why? Why is Hollywood so outraged? Why do they think he’s such a bad guy? Of course, not everyone in the film and entertainment industry is a liberal atheist or secularist, but collectively Hollywood represents such a progressive vision. For decades, Hollywood has been ground zero for forming an America without God. But having removed God from their consciousness and fully embraced a Darwinian view of the world, what basis does anyone in Hollywood have for characterizing Weinstein as a monster? As it happens, once you remove the floor, you have nothing to stand on. Once you remove the lawgiver, you have no law. And once you remove the standard, you have no ability to measure.
Perhaps Weinstein watched 50 Shades of Grey gross over $500 million worldwide and concluded that violent sex is the respectable norm now. Maybe he just has a natural orientation toward sexual violence. Or maybe he self-identified as having received consent. Who’s to say? Surely, we wouldn’t be so bigoted as to deny someone their deeply held sexual desires. Oh, we have to draw a line at consent, at sexual violence? Great; now why? Why draw the line there? Hollywood long ago relegated objective truth to the blooper reel, and now it has no discernable and logical reason for its outrage.
Christians, however, can account for both the outrage and the rightness of it. Even atheists are appalled at sexual assault because they are made in the image of the God they deny. They may suppress truth, but the truth is written into their bones. It is a common grace gift coming down from the Father of lights that cultures universally recognize violence, especially sexual violence, is desperately wicked. And people are right to feel angry. For sexual assault is an attack upon the dignity of the person and the image of God they bear. It is an assault against the body, soul, and psyche. We know this to be true because we have a standard by which to measure all our thoughts and actions. The Bible negatively forbids all sexual immorality, including sexual assault, and positively commands us to love our neighbors and count their interests above our own (Deut. 22:22-28, Mark 12:31, Phil. 2:1-4).
Christian sexual ethics are a common grace gift to the world. Societies thrive when traditional marriage and sexuality are honored, celebrated, and practiced as the norm. Cultures are blessed when a father and mother are faithful to one another and committed to raising their children in the fear of the Lord. But Weinstein’s Hollywood has made hundreds of millions of dollars mocking our sexual ethics. The film industry has trafficked in sex and violence, crowning them with glory and prestige. Yet, they are surprised when one of their own brings fantasies to life off camera? You reap what you sow. If you sow Sex, Lies, and Videotape, you get Harvey Weinstein. If you sow violence, you get Vegas. If you sow no-limit sex, you get rape. Christ is behind Door Number One and chaos is behind Number Two. There is no Door Number Three.
Hollywood also has the problem of trying to have its cake and hate it, too. That is, they want to celebrate one sexual deviant and crush another. I’m old enough to remember two weeks ago when Hugh Hefner died and was lauded as an American icon who captained the sexual revolution and rescued the nation from its priggish sexuality. Hefner exploited women and profited off their abuse. Yet, he could be passed off as a high-brow hero because he paired his pornography with jazz music and scored a few talented writers to publish alongside nudies. To shun Weinstein, but embrace Hefner is a contradiction that admits of having no real standard, only feelings. But conservatives should remember it is also equally morally confused for them to ignore or rationalize President Trump’s past sexual assaults while lamenting the careers of Weinstein and Hefner. God hates unequal weights and measures, therefore we should all refuse to tip the scales in our direction. We should hate what God hates—and God hates sexual immorality and sexual violence.
Sadly, secularism has no way to adequately deal with the Weinstein scandal. They know he is wicked, but cannot tell you why. They see the abuse of power, but their solution is just to put different people in power. Weinstein has no road to redemption, only an attempt at self-atonement in Arizona. He will enter the tomb for three months, but will only come out “rehabilitated,” but not resurrected. For there is no resurrection without death, and only one Death will do—that of Christ. Only in Christ can one use power is for serving others and find the acceptance and approval that will never come from sex or a prominent role in a popular movie. Acceptance comes from our being approved in Jesus Christ and from the declaration of the Father: Your sins are forgiven. This is the message Mr. Weinstein, Hollywood, and all of us need to hear.
Photo Credit: Unsplash, Martin Jernberg (@martinjphoto)