Silence Is Not Golden

I read an article in The Washington Post:

about the best ideas for ending sexual harassment, and it got me thinking. In each “idea” for ending sexual harassment there were elements of better policies and more women in leadership roles. I fundamentally agree with the ideas suggested in the article, I just don’t think they will work if something else doesn’t change.

Thursday night I said that the world walks in darkness and needs the light. While the ultimate light is found in the person of Jesus Christ, there is temporal light that is necessary for a moral and orderly society. That is what we are now clamoring for, a moral society.

But in so many ways we are unwilling or unable to actually fight for a truly moral society. There are many things that infect our culture and certainly exacerbate, and might actually cause, the very things we now wish away. If we want to end sexual harassment, we will have to deal with a broader issue.

We are willing to tolerate darkness as long as we believe it doesn’t directly harm us.

In the specific issue of sexual harassment. We allow women and children to be abused and objectified through pornography, sex trafficking and even main stream media and entertainment. We not only allow, but actually praise and reward celebrities and those with power for their entitled and egregious behavior. We promote a religion of tolerance that is a thin veil for getting to do whatever we want. Then we act shocked and outraged that the underlying ideology we have promoted for so long spills out into our daily lives in ways that harm us.

We cannot afford to be silent about abuse and harassment. But pointing out that the water in our lake is polluted without doing anything about the pollution flowing into it seems futile to me. We should be creating cultures that do not tolerate harassment or discrimination of any kind. This requires empathy and understanding and people willing to speak up, not just about the overt behaviors, but also about the darkness that is constantly creeping in from all sides.

Ultimately, if we value others more than we value ourselves, the path we should take will be clear (and well lit.) It is never the easiest road, but it is the one truly worth traveling.