This is essentially a follow-up to the earlier “Dialogue on Roy Moore: Sex, Facts, Ruined Lives, & Law.”
Groupies have flocked around every rock star, actor, and rich guy in the history of the world. Does that prove that they are “sexual predators”? Are such people who argue that way prepared to say that almost all rock stars (Elvis, Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Stones, virtually everyone) were sexual predators, whom we should now regard as monsters and anathema? Will they be throwing out all their records and CDs as a result?
Even ostensible “good ol’ boys” Glen Campbell and John Denver were said to have voracious sexual appetites. The classical composers were often little better. Beethoven was a fornicator, Brahms frequented the Vienna whorehouses, Wagner was a notorious lady’s man; Schubert died of syphilis, probably obtained from a prostitute. Mahler liked the women, etc., etc.
I’m drawing a simple distinction between consensual extramarital sex, which our secular society largely accepts, and predatory, coercive sex (which it does not, but has been winking at for at least 60 years, as an “open secret”). Both are immoral and indefensible from Christian ethics, but one is worse than the other.
As for the 2016 vote: the choice was between a pro-life man who had a lot of extramarital consensual sex and a woman who has an extreme pro-abort position and a host of scandals of her own, including attacking every woman that her husband pursued in a coercive manner (including one violent rape): and also the consensual ones like Lewinsky and Flowers. That’s a no-brainer for me.
If indeed a man is a sexual predator, and happens to also be good-looking or a rock star or actor or filthy rich (all the things that make a certain sort of woman flock to them by the hundreds), it’s consistent in that scenario that he may remain a predator at heart without ever having to act on that coercive impulse (willing women being everywhere for him). Such a person might also engage in both consensual and forced sex, as Bill Clinton did.
But from the perspective of the outsider, we can only know with some certainty that someone was coercive if there is hard evidence of same. We have that with Al Franken (photo evidence and admission) and with Bill Cosby in some cases (admission of use of inhibition-lessening drugs). We have it as regards Anthony Weiner and Roman Polanski. And we may have it with Roy Moore, if yet more evidence comes out.
All sex outside of marriage is absolutely immoral. I’m not disputing that in the least. I have been trying to draw reasonable, plausible, sensible distinctions between consensual and coercive sex: the latter being (far more) relatively bad and wicked than the former. I don’t see anyone proclaiming any and all rock stars or actors or rich and famous guys who have a lot of sex with lots of perfectly willing women as “sexual predators.” And I think that they do not because it’s not accurate. There are degrees and distinctions here to be made.
I’ve defended the traditional Christian view of sexuality for over thirty years, as a Protestant and Catholic apologist. I just put up a post a few days ago showing how I was calling for reform in this area almost ten years ago, while everyone was blasting only the Catholic Church, and all the bleeding-heart liberals were defending Bill Clinton and not seeing anything awry in Hollywood at all (ignoring Roman Polanski and Woody Allen, etc.).
Here’s what I wrote in April 2008:
I refuse to sit by and accept the myth that these horrors only occur in Catholic circles (since that is all we hear about in the media). It’s just not true.
I utterly condemn the heinous sins and at the same time tell the truth about where they are occurring (and that is everywhere, pretty much). If we pretend that it only happens with priests, then we are enabling the perpetrators to commit even more crimes, as we put our heads in the sand.
In other words, pointing out the severe bias of the media is not helping the abuse continue; it is the pretense of “Catholic only” that does that, because then it can occur in all these other places, and folks aren’t even aware of it (which is exactly what the molesters and pedophiles like: safe anonymity).
Meanwhile, we continue to have the many biblical commands about honoring rulers and not speaking evil of them, which Never Trumpers ignore every day. I wonder: how many Never Trumpers would support a President who had committed adultery and had a guy killed, so he could take his wife? That would be a dealbreaker, right?
Well, somehow it wasn’t for God, Who knew that King David would commit these evil acts, yet instructed the prophet Nathan to anoint him as king, and made an eternal covenant with him. Then of course we have all the concubines of David and Solomon.
David honored Saul as king, when he was committing all kinds of evil, including against he himself. We don’t see David running down Saul at every opportunity, calling him names, indulging in smear campaigns.
St. Paul was calling the Jewish high priest names during his trial (“God shall strike you, you whitewashed wall!”), when said priest ordered someone to strike him. Then someone informed him that he was the high priest, and Paul immediately shut up, saying, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, `You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.'” (Acts 23:5, RSV)
The biblical outlook is vastly different from the Never Trumper political game plan. I highly recommend reading a lot more Bible and restraining tongues and pens a lot more.
Again, the topic under consideration presently is whether a man who is fooling around, is doing it with the consent of his partners or not. Certainly no one can deny that there is a lot of consent going on with rich and powerful and famous (and/or attractive) men. Thus, much of that is consensual. I have challenged anyone who thinks otherwise to be consistent and start blaming Elvis and regard him with the contempt we now see towards Moore, Franken, and even (at long last) Slick Willie Clinton.
I freely concede that there are rich and powerful and famous (and/or attractive) men who are predators. There also others who are not: who treat women relatively well (in the coarse sense of within the playboy framework). They don’t force them to do anything. And this is presuming that women have a free will to say no just as men do. It has to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Bill Clinton could have a lot of women (they find him attractive, which I’ve never understood; nor has my wife). But he still forced some of them because of the nature of his brand of sexual immorality. If he wants a woman, he tries to take her, willing or not on her part.
Regarding the infamous Trump tape that every Trump foe seems to think is an unanswerable evidence of predation; as he has explained, it was “locker room talk,” which goes on all the time: at least among men not seeking to live a consistent Christian life. In the secular “world” it’s as common as water and death and taxes.
He said he was ashamed of it and apologized at the debate right after it was sprung on him as the 11th hour attack. He apologized to his wife, who has said she thought it very “offensive” and that they talked about it, he apologized, and they “moved on.” So why isn’t that good enough? Or is it just more insincere lies, as with Trump’s pro-life statements, according to Never Trumpers?
As to “confirming” consent, it’s simple enough for the guy who has been surrounded with groupies for decades, to tell when he is in the presence of one. Trump specifically made reference to this in the tape: “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” And we all know what the “anything” includes, since we have heard it 798 trillion times. It’s still in reference to groupies and crass opportunists (who represent a tiny tiny percentage of all women). Just because the “word” is in there doesn’t change it. It’s consensual.
Even the earlier part of the transcript demonstrates a possible consensual sex situation: not a forced sexual scenario at all. He repeatedly notes how he failed: “I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it. . . . I moved on her very heavily. . . . But I couldn’t get there.”
Exactly. If indeed he was reporting about an actual pursuit, it was attempted consensual sex. Therefore, he could “fail” and “couldn’t get there” when she didn’t comply. This is not coercive . . .
With Bill Clinton and Al Franken and Bill Cosby and Roy Moore (if the charges are true), on the other hand, that all involved clearly coercive actions, not agreed-to by the woman. Clinton raped a woman (if credible reports are to be believed) and exposed himself to other unwilling ones. Franken groped a sleeping woman and gave her an unwanted French kiss. Cosby drugged women to lower their resistance and take out free will. And Moore reputedly went after a minor. And we know all about Harvey Weinstein, currently the King of the Pigs, too. They used to joke about him having sex with unwilling women at Hollywood awards shows. Now, alas, things are different (which is great: better late than never).
In any event, if this stupid tape is seen as the end-all condemnation of Trump in this regard, it fails miserably. All it shows is consensual sex, and then we’re back to Elvis and Sinatra and the Beatles and Wilt Chamberlain and Clark Gable and Errol Flynn and Hugh Hefner and JFK and all the rest. The most comically ironic rock song ever written was I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.
Did the Trump tape imply that he thought women had no free will or say in the matter at all: that they were passive robots, in effect? Not at all. They (the groupies) had quite a lot of free will and desire. When he was referring to the co-host, which is a different portion / different referent, that’s where he said that he “failed” and “couldn’t get there.” Why? Precisely because she didn’t want to: which proves that he didn’t regard her as “passive” at all, and that she was in control the way women historically have always been in control (short of being victims of physical coercion): saying no! And it proves that he wasn’t coercive.
I disagree with the claim that Trump has engaged in coercive, “predatory” sexual practices. The men in the other five cases I mentioned above (assuming the truth of the reports) did do that.
To reiterate: Trump’s remarks on the tape were in the context of groupie behavior. As I interpret it, he’s saying that they (groupies) are totally willing. And I imagine he can spot a groupie a mile away: as could Mick Jagger or Robert Plant or McCartney and Lennon back in Beatlemania days. Once you enter into that fantasy-world of groupies and loose women (sort of like living in a hippie commune), you know what’s what. It’s not rocket science.
It’s wrong to indulge, no matter how tempted (I don’t dispute that at all), but let’s call things what they are. Though I can see why some people might honestly conclude otherwise, in my honest, sincere opinion, this tape offers no compelling evidence that President Trump is a Clinton- / Franken- / Weinstein-type sexual predator.
Photo credit: Elvis Presley, in Jailhouse Rock (1957) [Max Pixel / CC0 public domain]