Willie Deutsch.com

Religion and Politics from a Young Christian in Northern Virginia

A Response to Dr. Baskerville’s Faith and Reason Lecture at Patrick Henry College

September 20th, 2013

I still remember her words.  They were parting words of wisdom from a mother from church at the party my parents threw me before I left for college. Internally, I scoffed.  However, it wasn’t long before she would be very right.  “Willie, just because you are going to a Christian college, it doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen.  Be aware and be careful.”  Internally I thought, “that may be true of other Christian schools, but Patrick Henry College is different.”  I had read the material.  PHC was better than all the other Christian colleges that had gone soft.  While people might do bad things at other Christian colleges, of course that wouldn’t really be true at PHC.

My naivete was quickly shaken…  When I arrived on campus I quickly heard the story of how students had smuggled alcohol on campus.  While I could write that off as “the past” there were definite rumors of off-campus students using drugs my freshman year as well.  (For non-PHC readers both activities are in blatant violation of the PHC honor code.)  Shortly after the school year ended, I found out that an unmarried couple attending the school that I was good friends with had had sex that spring semester.  It was the last straw to destroy my naivete in that area of life, and I began to understand reality.

In senior testimonies since then, I’ve heard students talk about struggles with depression, cutting, suicide, cheating, alcoholism, and even struggles with same-sex attraction – just to name a few.  I’ve talked with people desperate to get their family member to PHC to escape an abusive home situation.  I’ve prayed and talked with fellow students struggling with all kinds of things, and for me it has been a place of safety to share the very real struggles I have dealt with.  The reality is that PHC is a place filled with real people struggling with very real problems.  It’s amazing what fellow students will share when you dig below the surface.  I came to realize that the real naivete was to think that there issues PHC students didn’t struggle with or weren’t affected by.  Over time, I was no longer surprised when yet another story was shared of very real problems a student was wrestling through.  When I was no longer shocked by new stories, I was able to help and minister instead.

Numerous situations have shown me the grim reality of abuse and rape.  I’ve helped a homeschool student and pastor’s daughter escape from an abusive home.  I’ve spent hours talking with a mother whose daughter became pregnant from rape while in the military. She has been unable to even get recognition that she was raped from the military, courts, and government even though she carried the child to term.

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When I saw the topic of Dr. Baskerville’s Faith and Reason lecture, I was hopeful. Many young people are rejecting any sexual ethic and embracing license.  A balanced response to the growing acceptance of sexual license would be incredibly helpful.

While some Faith and Reason Lectures have gone over my head, I have learned a lot from many of them.  Dr. Mark Mitchell’s Fall 09 lecture made me think again about becoming a Theory Major, Dr. David VanDrunen’s lecture on the two kingdoms was a thought provoking piece on the role of the Christian in government, and Dr. Anthony Esolen’s lecture my final semester on love and human interaction helped me more than any lecture I have ever heard.

However, in Dr. Baskerville’s lecture, I found a lecture unlike any other PHC Faith and Reason Lecture I had ever heard.

While others have talked about the historical inaccuracies, logical fallacies, and other flaws in the lecture, what struck me most was the way Dr. Baskerville dealt with the issues of rape and abuse.

The lecture is titled “Politicizing Potiphar’s Wife.”  One of Baskerville’s central arguments is that feminism and the new era of sexual license has lead to an increased and speedy criminalization of men over made up crimes.  While there have been horrible incidents of injustice against men, Baskerville takes his argument to an inflammatory extreme and refuses to recognize the injustices that men and the legal system have perpetrated against women as well.

In pages 16-20 of the lecture Baskerville talks about “new crimes and expanded redefinitions of existing crimes – all involving sexual relations.”  What follows are incredible references to rape, spousal abuse, and child abuse which which refuse to recognize that rape and abuse are a problem, and instead vilifies the victim who comes forward.

They play on the fear of sex crimes, but they redefine these politically to include not simply acts but heterodox political beliefs. The reality of the witch hunts thus bears no necessary relation to what is suggested by the inflammatory language and jargon:

  • “rape” that includes consensual relations and in most instances is no more than that;

  • domestic “violence” that involves no violence or any physical contact or threat of it;

  • sexual “harassment” that can mean anything from simple flirtation to unauthorized opinions about morality or politics;

  • “child abuse” that is routine parental discipline, or homeschooling, or concocted altogether to win advantage in divorce court;

  • “bullying” that involves criticism of the homosexual agenda or other differences of belief and opinion;

  • “stalking” that is forcibly divorced fathers trying to see their own children;and much more.

By the end of the second list of the “new crimes” he even manages TO minimize the growing problem of human trafficking.

  • Recreational sex in the evening turns into accusations of “rape” in the morning,even when it was entirely consensual. (This is especially rampant on college campuses.)

  • Demands for access to workplaces, universities, the military, and other previously male venues (accompanied with equally strident demands to engage there in female-only activities, such as pregnancy and breastfeeding) invite accusations of sexual “harassment” against the men when relations inevitably develop (and often turn sour), regardless of who initiates them.

  • Cohabitation and “no-fault” divorce are demanded to liberate women from“patriarchal” marriage but quickly generate accusations of male abandonment(even when the woman ends the marriage), as well as domestic “violence” and“child abuse,” in order to procure custody of children and the financial awards they bring.

  • The proclaimed right to raise children outside wedlock and without fathers to protect and discipline them soon turns into demands to prosecute adolescents and even children for “bullying” one another and eventually for more serious matters.

  • Defiant declarations that women do not need men for financial support quickly give way to demands to arrest and incarcerate without trial men who do not provide women with adequate income in the form of alimony or child support.

  • Assertions that women do not need men for protection soon produce hysterical outcries for intrusive police powers, innovative punishments, and expanded penal institutions to punish ever-proliferating and loosely-defined forms of “violence against women,” even when no physical contact or threat of it is involved.(Homosexuals are now mimicking this strategy.)

  • The demanded right to engage in homosexual acts and public sexual displays translates almost automatically into the power to arrest or otherwise stop the mouths of preachers, “bullies,” and anyone else who objects or ridicules or offends the “feelings” or “pride” of homosexuals.

  • Demands to legalize prostitution feed hysteria to find and prosecute unnamed“sex traffickers.”

While he may have a point with some of these crimes, there is no evidence, context, or qualifications.  The incredibly dismissive discussions about situations where very real crimes occur damages his case, and makes one wonder if he believes there are any legitimate sexual crimes against women.  Some of his points would be worth spending time to explain and discuss in a balanced manner.

He finishes his lists of “new crimes” with this fascinating statement.

Radical ideology has thus transformed our government into a matriarchal leviathan that operates like a massive, bureaucratic version of… Potiphar’s wife. We have not eliminated a “gender stereotype,” as we were promised; we have merely politicized it – in this case that of the temptress, the seductress who lures men into a“honey trap” by offers of pleasure before springing a trap that today can mean decades in prison.

In Baskerville’s construct where the state is a willing participation in the sexual liberation movement’s incarceration of men, a movement which he argues has produced its own gulags, the crimes are minimized, the system is completely rigged against men, and victims are ignored and maligned.

The “new crimes” are referred to as “quasi crimes”, “vague but opprobrious terms”, “open-ended terms like “abuse” and “exploitation””, “…the crime is often defined subjectively”, and “undefined new crimes.”  Perhaps the best reference is the statement, “Until recently, no one had ever heard of most of these crimes and even now no one really understands what they mean because no definition exists.”  I’m sure the legislators who have spent time defining these crimes, and the courts that interpret those definitions are all equally in the dark about the meaning of these crimes.  Every reference to these crimes is one which minimizes their significance.

People the state, rightly or wrongly considers a perpetrator, he universally refers to as victims of the state.  He accuses the state of incarcerating “vast numbers of men and some women who have no inkling that they are committing a crime.”  “Convictions and high conviction rates are presented as goals to be pursued for their own sake.”  “Proceedings are rigged.”  “Yet the accused are given no equivalent advocate-witnesses to testify for them.” “…makes fair trials impossible for those actually accused of belonging to these categories. Accusations quickly become available as weapons to be used in personal and political vendettas. Patently false accusations are processed because they rationalize budgets of feminized and sexualized law-enforcement agencies by turning law-abiding citizens into safe, nonviolent criminals for female and homosexual police persons to arrest.”  Every reference to the convicted and accused is that they are victims, and every reference to the injustice of the court system is in reference to those who are accused.  The idea that there may be injustices in the court system against those who have been the victims of abuse and rape does not even enter the lecture.  He has no place for those acts as real crimes, and, saddest of all, in this lecture the victims of abuse and rape are not victims but participants in the injustice.

This leads to the saddest category, his description of the victims of abuse and rape.  The marginalization of these crimes, and the unbridled defense of those who commit them do quite a bit to put victims of abuse and rape in a difficult position.  Painting victims as being complicit in a government effort to incarcerate men on the basis of “new crimes” makes it harder to come forward.

On top of that, Baskerville continues to describe “the accuser” as one whose sense of feeling offended makes the accused guilty by definition.  He then makes the most damaging accusation against the victims of abuse, or “accusers” as he likes to call them.  “Accusers can profit financially by their accusations, by looting the accused, even without supplying any proof of a crime.”

When I finished the lecture and Baskerville’s description of the new sex crimes, the first thought that came to mind was,does hearing this lecture make it harder for the victims of abuse and rape to come forward and pursue justice?  It didn’t take much thought to realize the answer was an overwhelming, Yes.  When one is painted as an active participant in an injustice simply for accusing someone of a sex crime, the likelihood they will stay silent when abused skyrockets.

It was only a couple months ago that I saw these negative stereotypes of victims play out.  Four months ago, a friend filed a lawsuit in which she claimed that a very prominent man in her community abused her.  Everyone who interacted with her recognized her as someone who is professional and credible.  However, when I shared a couple of articles about the case and my support for her during a very tough time, the response from a number of men was incredible.  People who didn’t even know my friend vilified her for bringing the case, and I was attacked for supporting my friend.  Interestingly, their arguments could have come straight from an advance copy of this lecture, had it existed.

The immediate discrediting, vilification, and ridiculing of my friend is something far too many victims face when they come forward.  Perpetuating incredibly one sided views of sex crimes, perpetrators/accused, and victims/accusers does not help the pursuit of justice when crimes are committed.

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Helpful Sources

Support the Troops: Protect Military R&R

December 19th, 2012

I remember the day my husband dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. I was ecstatic. But instead of congratulating me, one friend got a pensive look on her face. “When you marry a soldier,” she said, “you don’t just marry him, you marry the military.”

She had a point. My dream two month anniversary present wasn’t to have my husband leave for eight weeks of training. We have been married three years, but because of my husband’s army commitments we’ve only been able to celebrate one of those anniversaries together. In our first two years of marriage, we lived in four different places. As National Guard, we didn’t have the promise of full time income since when not activated the guard is paid for just a few days a month. We went through six hard months of unemployment where the only apartment we could afford had bedbugs.

Our week old son had meningitis and was fighting for his life in NICU when my husband was informed of 13 month mobilization orders. At that moment, my husband realized that he would not be seeing our son’s first steps, first birthday, or so many other firsts. Our son couldn’t even roll over when my husband was mobilized. Now our son has eight teeth, can crawl and almost walk, chows down on sweet potatoes and chicken and there are still six more months until he sees his daddy.

There is satisfaction in a job well done and I take pride in my husband using the skills he trained to acquire for this deployment. My husband is a soldier and he is strong, courageous, and unflinching in the call of duty. But even soldiers can only take so much.

The Army realizes the strain long hours and many absences put on military families and soldiers. So they drafted a program called R&R to give soldiers two weeks of mid-deployment leave to get away from the 24/7, seven day a week nature of combat and see their families. The FAQs section of the Army.mil site said this about R&R: “The program provides respite from the stresses associated with the combat mission . . . this is seen as an investment in the well being of our forces that will improve mission performance.”

Unfortunately, the R&R program has been cut. After 11 years of war and back to back deployments, both soldiers and their families are suffering.PTSD is on the rise and many marriages and families break under the strain. Just last year, the military divorce rate reached its highest since 1999.Military children’s mental health also suffers when dad, and now increasingly mom as well, is never home. The October 2010 DOD report to the House and Senate Armed Services committee said that military children experience increased anxiety, lower academic performance, and increased problem behaviors at home and school during a deployment. Interestingly, the report mentioned that temporary leave (such as R&R) during a deployment helped mitigate some of the negative effects of deployment on children.

The new policy that cuts mid-deployment R&R and makes life even harder on soldiers and their families is wrong. Sign the petition to bring back R&R. http://www.petition2congress.com/8229/bring-back-military-rr/

This article was written by Anne Garboczi Evans, a military spouse. She has a master’s in counseling so is particularly concerned about the mental health and relational consequences of numerous long deployments.

Showing God’s Love to Homosexuals

December 5th, 2012

This summer, a website popped up entitled Queer at Patrick Henry College which is purportedly by Patrick Henry College students and alumni who talk about their struggles as a homosexual in the christianhomeschooling, and PHC communities.  When I originally saw the website a month ago, I thought it was part of an SEO attack similar to the SEO attack on Rick Santorum because of the large number of posts celebrating LGBT history.  After the website created a facebook page the school administration responded by trying to force the website to shut down, and blocking the website on the school’s network.

My initial thought is that this is an ironic response from a school which prides itself in teaching a Classical Liberal Arts education, one where students read books by people with whom they disagree in order to better understand and engage them.  Responding to criticisms of being narrow-minded by censoring a website seems to contradict PHC’s typical approach to teaching students to think for themselves.

The administration’s response also raises an issue that my generation is going to have to figure out as a result of the increasing size of the homosexual community.  How do we as the church interact with the homosexual community?

One camp says homosexuality is a sin and must be condemned.  This approach can quickly condemn the sinner for their sin.  Supporters of this view point to verses like I Corinthians 6:9 and I Timothy 1:10 for support pointing out the seriousness with which God takes this sin.

We should not condone or excuse homosexuality.  However, as Christians we should show God’s love and grace to everyone, including homosexuals.  The idea of loving the sinner but not the sin should apply to everyone.  While Paul does say that homosexuals (along with people who commit a number of other sins) won’t inherit the kingdom of heaven, two verses later he goes on to show the beauty of the gospel.

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

This is the beauty of the gospel.  The gospel saves those of whom it could once be said “they will not inherit the kingdom.”  The cross is the great leveler, and all who have faith in Christ can come to faith.

Following the I Timothy 1 passage where Paul condemns homosexuality, comes one of the most beautiful descriptions of the power of the gospel to redeem the chief of sinners.

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful,appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. (I Timothy 1:12-14)

If the gospel is powerful enough to save anyone, do our interactions with the homosexual community reflect that?  Wouldn’t that require us to show God’s love and grace to them as we interact with them?

Would a homosexual feel welcome in one of our churches? Probably not.  Can we blame them? Tragically not.  But how can we reach those who, as a result of our actions, expected to be condemned instead of loved when they came to our church?  I am not suggesting we should accept sin, but we should be willing to show God’s love to sinners.

Ironically, we understand the necessity of this much more readily when it comes to the other important social issue for evangelicals: abortion.  Murder is regularly condemned in the same breath as homosexuality, and sacrificing infants is vehemently condemned in the Bible.  Yet the pro-life movement has learned the importance of showing love to those who have abortions, and even those who perform abortions.  We understand that we must love those who have abortions, and seek to show them that God’s love can forgive them even for aborting their child.  We understand that we must love those who perform abortions, so they too will understand the love of God and be open to listening to us. We understand this…in the abortion context.  For some reason we don’t understand the importance of doing the same thing to those struggling with homosexuality.

Imagine if we believed in loving homosexuals like we do the mothers who have abortions.

In closing I would encourage you to read the stories of two prominent Christians who chose to love homosexuals without condoning their lifestyle.  The first tells how the head of the SBC in Oklahoma overwhelmed Soulforce with love when they decided to picket his church.  The second tells the story of a gay person giving Rich Mullins a lift.  I would encourage you to read these articles and ask yourself what would a gay person think if they interact with you?  Would they see God’s love through you, or would the be condemned by you?

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This article is not written as a condemnation of my Alma Mater, or those involved in the situation there.  I learned a lot through my time at Patrick Henry College, and I deeply appreciate Dr. Farris and the school leadership for the investment they continue to pour into students at the school, as well as their activism on many important issues.  The recent situation simply presented an opportunity to address an issue that Christian conservatives should continue thinking about.

 

Remembering Septemer 11

September 11th, 2012

I remarked to a couple friends that today marks one of the first anniversaries of September 11 on which many of the current  college freshmen would barely remember the events of that tragic day.  In previous years, 2009 and 2010, I have put together tributes based on some of the videos, speeches, and songs related to that day.  I wanted to take this moment to recall some of the memories of a young 11 year old from that day.  We began watching the news not long after the second plane hit the tower when my grandmother called to tell us what happened.

The scariest moment of the day was when the camera panned to the smoke at the pentagon.  My heart sank, and there was this fear, “Where will they hit next?”  The thing that confused me the most throughout the day was how America could let people grow so strong that they could launch such a devastating attack.  As a young child I was astounded by how quickly the commentators could identify that the attacks had to coordinated by Osama Bin Lade and Al Qaeda.  Why a superpower like America would let people in the middle of nowhere grow and organize till they could launch such a sophisticated attack made no sense at all.  One of the happiest moments was knowing my uncle and the many other friends we knew from New Jersey were all safe.  My uncle came into the second tower on the train shortly after the first tower was hit, and was immediately rushed outside.  I remember as well playing soccer that night.  Al Bedrosian was the head of our homeschool soccer league.  He decided we wouldn’t let the terrorists keep us from playing.  We played, and then we went back to being glued to our tv.

I remember countless stories of heroism by ordinary people.  I remember a nation who was no longer red and blue, but united as President Bush and Mayor Giuliani courageously lead us.  We were a nation brought together by suffering.  The bitter partisanship of Bush v. Gore was driven away.  Americans had been attacked, and we would do whatever we could to support the victims, and avenge the dead.

I remember how baseball united us.  When baseball returned, especially to New York City, normalcy and healing began.  While the attacks were not enough to bring the nation to rout for the New York Yankees in the World Series, a couple less people referred to them as the Evil Empire that year.  With the delay of baseball that year, Derek Jeter became known as Mr. November, and President Bush’s World Series opening pitch in New York City inspired a nation.

I remember the red American flag t-shirt with a bald eagle on it that I bought days before and how I treasured it for years.  I remember tracking every movement of our military operations in the newspaper and the radio.  I could tell you what happened at every one of the early military encounters at the time.  We were a different nation after that day.  The crash of the planes brought the nation face to face with the brutal face of terrorism.  For a young boy growing up this shaped how I viewed the world.  It woke me up from my naivete and showed me that there was evil in the world, and that we must stand up to it.

What do you remember?  How has it affected you?  Will you join me in making sure that those everyone remembers what happened on that day?

Here is a very good video tribute of news clips documenting the day.

A Time to Mourn and a Time to Depoliticize

July 22nd, 2012

Almost as tragic as the Aurora Theater massacre was the response.  When a senseless act of tragedy occurred, people immediately made it about politics.  In one of the first reports that morning, ABC news tried tying the tragedy to the Tea Party.  People on both sides of the gun control issue tried using the tragedy to further their argument.  Some argued that allowing people to carry weapons into the theater would have stopped or lessened the tragedy, others argued tougher gun control laws could have prevented it altogether.  Amidst the questions of could a gun stopped a surprise 90 second rampage in a dark smoke filled room, and whether a criminal would have obeyed the law when purchasing his arsenal, something important was forgotten.  Innocent people were suffering and needed our prayer, care and support.  Also law enforcement was still trying to understand what had happened that day.  Hours after a tragedy that took the lives of about a dozen and wounded dozens more, is making your political point really the most important thing to do?  At a time when law enforcement is still trying to figure out critical parts of the tragedy, is it really the right time to decide what could have prevented it?  We still don’t know how a broke grad student can afford and purchase a shotgun, automatic rifle, two pistols, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, full body tactical gear, canisters of tear gas, and explosives?  We also don’t know why he simply turned himself in without a fight right after the shooting spree.

I hope some day people will realize the insensitivity and irresponsibility of politicizing a tragedy as soon as it happens.  Let us also start praying that Colorado will be spared this kind of tragedy for quite a while.  In the meantime there are things that can be done to help.  The cost from medical bills related to this tragedy are going to add up, and the family of Petra Anderson are rallying to help raise money for these unforeseen expenses.  Please watch the video by Chloe Anderson and watch, share, and donate to help the families of the victims.

http://www.indiegogo.com/readytobelieve
https://twitter.com/HopeRisesRelief
https://www.facebook.com/HopeRisesReliefFund
#ReadyToBelieve?

Where is God During Senseless Evil?

July 22nd, 2012

The senseless evil that occurred in Colorado this past Thursday during the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises forced many to ask one of the age old questions, how can a good God allow evil to exist?  People have wrestled with the answer to this question for years.  No one will be able to answer this question fully.  As you wrestle with this question again, I would encourage you not to immediately jump to saying that this is probably a form of God’s judgement.  There are many possible explanations.  Jesus even makes a point of saying that judgement of sin is not always the reason the cause of tragedy. (Luke 13:1-5)  While tragedy should be a reminder of the brevity of life, no warrant exists to assume that tragedy is necessarily an act of God’s judgement.  Quickly jumping to this conclusion also needlessly burdens the victims of a tragedy.

However, I would like to point you to two people who wrestled with the question of evil when they experienced terrible evil in their own lives.  The author of the first article, Where is God in Tragedy, dealt with the brutal death of his young newly married cousin.  The author of the second article lived through the Colorado shooting.  I hope these two articles help you as you question the existence of evil in the world in light of the recent tragedy.

Willie Deutsch.com

Religion and Politics from a Young Christian in Northern Virginia