Rev. Koole is pastor of Faith Protestant Reformed Church in Jenison, Michigan.
Willingly Blind to What’s Really Behind the Scandal
The recent exposure of what Rome’s clergy have been involved in, both in sexual scandal and in hierarchical cover-up, has become a ‘double-exposure.’ What is being exposed (once again) is not only Rome’s scandalous inner workings, but also the bias and sheer hypocrisy of the liberally-trained news media. There is something that the news media do not want to address, namely, the real sin that has prompted the reprehensible behavior of Rome’s priests. And it is not the sin of pedophilia, defiled as that may be, but the proclivities of homosexuality. The simple fact is that in the vast number of the cases coming to light, the victims are not young children, but post-adolescent, teenage males. It is this (sinful) mentality and behavior that the news media do not want to touch with a ten-foot pole. What! And give homosexuality a bad name? In print? Under the heading of our nationally acclaimed newspaper! Harvard (Yale, Prince-ton, etc.) forbid!
In an article in Citizen Magazine (published by Focus on the Family) entitled “The Media’s Pedophile Problem,” Tim Minnery points out this willful blindness.
To be sure, the revelation of sexual abuse by Catholic priests has been a true page-one story. But no less astonishing has been the media’s response, which shows that the morally blind should not try to lead the way.
Early stories about this heartbreaking problem tended to describe it vaguely as ‘child abuse’ or ‘pedophilia,’ which is a sexual attraction to pre-adolescent children. In a few stories, it was referred to more exotically, as something called ‘ephebophilia,’ that is, sex with post-adolescent children. There seemed to be a collective reluctance to call this plainly what it is—a homosexual scandal. All the perpetrators are men, and nearly all the victims are boys. By definition, male on male sex is homosexual sex.
It is not hard to speculate why the media have been squeamish. The church is steadfast in its doctrine of sexuality, so there is nothing like a whiff of hypocrisy to make the media wolves ravenous. But reporting negatively about homosexuality sours the stomach, because in the elite media, homosexuals are a protected class (emphasis mine—KK). After all, it wasn’t too long ago that these same outlets were scorching the Boy Scouts for their firm resolve against hiring homosexuals as Scout leaders.
Some Scout troops have shown signs of caving under pressure from the press and a few politically correct United Way campaigns. One hopes the Catholic Church’s experience with boys and homosexual men will encourage these wavering Scout leaders to pay more attention to their moral compasses than to their newspapers.
What’s the phrase? “Houston, we have a problem.” In other words, how are we as reporters going to appear righteously indignant at the reprehensible behavior of Rome’s abusive priests, without at the same time giving the gay-liberation movement (the homosexual lifestyle) bad press! They are desperate enough to all but coin a word, “ephebophilia.” (My spell check refuses even to acknowledge it.) Anything to avoid laying this outrage at the door of homosexuality.
The breaking scandal could not come at a more inopportune time for the homosexual population, of course. Just as they have begun to make inroads into obtaining legalization of their unions as state-recognized marriages, with the added right of adopting children as well (in the name of being really quite normal, harmless, and safe), this stink breaks loose. What might this do but lend credence to the notion that the long-standing Judeo-Christian ‘tradition’ (no one wants to say ‘biblical’ these days, after all), with its condemnation of homosexuality and the evils to which it leads, might have some basis after all. They can see all their propaganda and relentless public-relations work going up in smoke.
The real scandal becomes the news-media’s refusal to label the true nature of the corruption of Rome’s priests. The media’s willing cover-up can only mean that the gay movement will continue to gain civil acceptance, and vulnerable young boys will end up in homes where sexual abuse is all but guaranteed, and this by the connivance of the state and the press. A deadly duo to be sure.
Time to Re-Examine That Tune?
According to the Chimes (newspaper of the Calvin College campus, Oct. 4 issue), Dr. Richard Mouw (a name with which we ‘PRs’ are becoming more familiar of late) was on campus to take part in a panel discussion assessing the ‘Christian’ value of some recent on-campus concert groups. Suffice it to say that one musical group consisted of two lesbians, and the other was a group which did not restrain itself from, nor was asked to evidently, its common practice of lacing its performances with obscenities (one must not suppress true artistry, you know). Calvin College has been uncommonly gracious in hosting such philistines over the years. This goes back to the sixties, when such luminaries as the radical social activist Father Groppi and the profane comedian Dick Gregory were invited to speak on campus. It was at that time also that blatantly profane films, such as the violent Clock Work Orange, began to make their appearance. Dr. Mouw well remembers the stir these events caused in his own denomination.
What does this all have to do with us? This: the recent concerts have served to raise once again the hoarhead of the old, but strangely always relevant, controversy of common grace vs. the antithesis. According to the Chimes, Dr. Mouw pointed out:
This is no minor thing that we’re talking about, because our souls are at risk…. Ideas can hurt.
The article continues:
Mouw set the stage for the discussion by defining two key beliefs of the Christian Reformed Church about culture that are often in tension with one another: common grace and the antithesis.
“The antithesis in Reformed thought is the difference between the ways of Satan and the ways of God,” he said. “This antithesis cuts through all areas of life. God’s people represent a radical alternative to the mainstream culture.”
Meanwhile, “common grace modifies the antithesis,” Mouw said. “It’s the attitude of God’s favor that is shown on everyone in three ways: natural blessings, restraint of sin, and positive acts of civic virtue.”
After the background information was presented, Ken Heffner, director of student activities, said that Calvin “has probably chosen more on the side of common grace.”
Probably?? Well, we will not argue that point too strenuously. When entertainment on an avowedly Christian campus consists of a lesbian band and of artists given to obscenities, it cannot be said that one has exactly chosen for Jerusalem over Athens, or for that matter Geneva over Sodom.
How far down the road that ‘slouches towards Gomorrah’ has common grace taken the Calvin College community? A panel member, Helen Sterk, professor of communications, in an attempt to justify the campus activities, makes that plain.
Sterk said inviting the Indigo girls (the lesbians-KK) to perform is “a matter of hospitality and it’s a communication of hospitality, meaning it goes both ways. If you listen to them, a lot of what they bring us is how to love, and that’s probably a good thing.”
“If you can identify with the emotions of someone, you can be persuaded by them,” she said. “God is behind what is good and what is true and what is loving.”
Hospitality? By such reasoning, of course, the angels who visited Lot should have been sent to persuade him to construct a Hospitality Inn in Sodom, instead of being called to drag Lot out with such force, so that the Almighty could proceed to rearrange the landscape in such a violent way.
To his credit Mouw had a different opinion.
“I think we go too far with common grace,” he said. “We really do believe that there’s a spiritual struggle going on over sexuality. The antithesis is at work there, and to simply cover that with common grace, I think, is wrong.”
Well, it is a partial admission at least. The reality is that Dr. Mouw is coming to the realization that common grace has swallowed up the antithesis in his denomination like the seven ill-favored cattle devoured the seven well-favored cattle in Pharaoh’s nightmare. What is left? Nothing but stubble, sad to say.
When was the last time the esteemed Dr. heard anyone occupying a role of leadership in his denomination declare concerning some aspect of the world’s self-acknowledged immoral entertainment, “This is forbidden us as Christians. It is against the antithesis! It violates the holiness of God” (II Cor. 6:17)? Does it come into play? Ever? A generation has grown up to whom ‘living the antithetical life’ is a foreign phrase. The truth becomes self-evident: Kuyper’s common grace and the antithesis do not share common ground. It is one or the other; it is either wholesome music or two lesbians and the obscene. Do true cross-bearers really have to struggle to choose between two such choices?
Common grace has become the excuse to justify every immoral excess with its corresponding appetite. Aware of what obscenities are now justified in the name of common grace, Dr. Mouw has, apparently, set himself on a mission to compel members of his own churches to revisit the issue of common grace vs. the antithesis once again. We can appreciate that.
However, as should be coming ever more plain, the problem with Kuyper’s common grace is not merely that it exists in tension with the antithesis, but that it is opposed to the antithesis. It is like a virus loose, working through the system, until the whole business is destroyed. The screen is going blank. Now what do you have left? Two lesbian performers sharing the spotlight with the obscene. Some grace. Some salt. Some light.