A no tolerance policy for sexual harassment

Oct 10, 2017 by

By Josh Webster, ERLC.

There is another scandal in the news. This time it involves allegations that a longtime Hollywood movie mogul used his power and influence to sexually harass numerous women across several decades. And this is but the latest example. Similar scandals have recently brought considerable upheaval to the conservative cable network, Fox News, which witnessed the departure of both executives and on-air talent in the wake of multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

There is a lesson here: The failure to appropriately harness our God-given sexual desire is not a partisan issue; it happens indiscriminately on the Left and the Right. But an issue of even greater consequence lies beyond the problems of Hollywood and the media. For far too long, sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct have plagued the church and harmed her witness.

Sexual harassment and human dignity

Sexual harassment is an issue of human dignity. If we affirm that every person bears the image of God, then we also affirm that every person possesses an intrinsic and inviolable dignity (Gen. 1:27). Making aggressive and unwanted sexual advances violates a person’s dignity and personhood. But to speak plainly, recognizing this principle isn’t usually the problem. There is almost universal agreement among Christians that sexual harassment is bad. Instead, our problem is that we often fail to recognize subtle breaches of this principle, or worse, fail to take the appropriate action when we do.

Sexual harassment is more than physical abuse. It can manifest in a number of different forms—including verbal and non-verbal communication—all of which can devastate and ruin lives. For this reason, Christians need to be attentive, not only to our actions, but to all of the ways we interact with others to ensure that we are treating those around us with dignity and respect.

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