Trigger warning: Rape, domestic violence and child abuse denialism, victim-blaming.
Critics of Stephen Baskerville’s astonishing Faith and Reason lecture at Patrick Henry College last Friday have no shortage of material to cite. The lecture was such a departure from even the pretense of academic standards that it’s easy for critics to frame it as a mistake that no one should take seriously; surely the cause of this catastrophe is that the administration failed to vet it properly, and surely the students have the necessary skills to reject it. PHC alum David Sessions reaches out to those students in an open letter:
To say it was beneath the standards of charity, evidence, and logical rigor students at PHC should expect from their professors would be an understatement. But beyond its weaknesses as a piece of argumentation, it had darker moral undertones that should be emphasized and rebutted. Anyone committed to the Christian virtues of love, charity, forgiveness, and justice should be deeply suspicious of such a hostile condemnation of the voices of people who have been subjected to violence and discrimination in our society, and of those who have worked courageously and democratically to protect them.
In 2003, as surely everyone knows, Virginia’s archaic and nearly universally ignored “Crimes Against Nature” law was rendered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Lawrence v Texas. Because it is unconstitutional, because it is a blanket prohibition of oral and anal sex for everyone, it can’t be used to prosecute anyone. Case in point: When the law was used in 2005 to prosecute a 47-year-old man for soliciting a 17-year-old girl to perform oral sex, the conviction was overturned.
That outcome was perfectly predictable – and avoidable. In 2004, there was a bipartisan effort in the Virginia legislature to fix the law by eliminating the part that makes it unconstitutional:
§ 18.2-361. Crimes against nature.
A. Any person who (i) carnally knows in any manner any brute animal is guilty of a Class 6 felony, or (ii) carnally knows any male or female person by the anus or by or with the mouth, or voluntarily submits to such carnal knowledge, is guilty of a Class 6 felony 3 misdemeanor, except as provided in subsection B. B. The provisions of clause (ii) of this subsection shall not apply where all persons are consenting adults who are not in a public place and who are not aiding, abetting, procuring, engaging in or performing any act in furtherance of prostitution.
and leaving in place a statute that would be viable in the prosecution of adult predators: Continue reading →
We have this dramatic feast of a movie this holiday season, Les Miserables, based on Victor Hugo’s grand tragic novel (in 365 chapters), and a principal focus of that extraordinary tale of redemption is how ex-con Jean Valjean, a victim of disproportionate punishment and abuse, resists rage and adopts the orphan, Cosette, when her mother Fantine dies, and raises her as his own with love, kindness and at great risk and sacrifice.
Jean Valjean saved Cosette from the Thenardiers, a cruel corrupt couple, who forced Fantine’s illegitimate daughter, Cosette, to work at their inn while treating their own daughters, Eponine and Azelma, so kindly.
When we walk from the darkened theater, we may overlook how little has changed from this artistic recounting of real historic suffering to the present day.
There has been a recent story about adoption and children that makes this crystal clear.
Russia has put a stop to American adoptions of Russian Children. The media, with rare exception, has covered this as if it is only a reprisal for America criticizing Russia’s human rights violations. Citizens are screaming bloody murder, how could Russia do that to the children we would adopt? But it’s more complicated than that. It is more like how could we do what we have to the children from Russia adopted by Americans?