I present this column with some fear of being misunderstood. Amnesty International’s call for decriminalization of prostitution is not a much discussed topic among Christians. But over the last ten years, Christians have become more aware of international human trafficking and, as a former pastor who did missionary work in the Cass Corridor area of Detroit, I’m too familiar with their tragic circumstances. It is a dreadful life. Addiction, abuse, early death, dehumanization, frequently jail time, disease all to get by and feed the inordinate lusts of men who themselves are not many steps removed socially. Christians were at the forefront of rescuing “fallen women” in earlier America and also shaming disgraced men. In time, however, the abuse of women predicted in the Genesis three narrative of the Fall, was fulfilled with society blaming the woman for male irresponsibility. The male, largely, escaping penalty. This is changing somewhat. This column is worth reading because our conversation in American on this question of prostitution as well as drug legalization will be ramping up in the next few years. We might as well get familiar with it.
Most people know prostitutes through the movies. Hollywood has regularly romanticized the prostitute with the heart of gold or the “Pretty Woman” saved by a powerful, patient male whose heart is strangely warmed by her. Like most of you, these romantic portraits of prostitution are such distortions of reality that we should shame their creators. While I know there is a “highclass” prostitution that is part of our American way of life and practiced by the wealthy and mobile, there are no Inara Serra’s from Serenity and Firefly working the streets.
America has adopted a view of the person that might be called the autonomous, expressive, hedonistic self and a view of freedom that, at its foundation, is “I want what I want when I can get it and deserve to get it unless it bloodies your nose or picks your pocket.” We also know that “the police powers of the state” have been getting weakened and redefined for generations. The police powers of the state refer to state and local governments willingness and ability to “regulate behavior and enforced order within their territory for the betterment of the health, safety, morals and general welfare of their inhabitants.” I suspect that prostitution and drug legalization are becoming the next great opportunities for “freedom” and all done in the name of eliminating disease, crime and hypocrisy.
How do we build the Church such that legal prostitution and drug legalization are clearly unfulfilling, second, third rate fulfillments of desire that can ultimately only be fulfilled in a Kingdom way of life. Is it clear when people see our parishes that the way of life being offered is clearly deeper, more fulfilling and properly adventurous than the dangerous pursuit of strange flesh and odd intoxicants?
Read the article here.