Troubling Trends

Without Moral Constraints, Sexuality Ruins Our Social Fabric

“Of all the demons released by the Sexual Revolution, the exploitation of children is the most depraved.” So says Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D, president of the Ruth Institute, “a global non-profit organization leading an international interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love.”[1] Morse recently spoke out against the recent trends in politics and media that are pushing for the validity of sexual preferences towards minors and children. The entertainment giant Netflix is scheduled to put out Cuties in the fall, a movie about a young girl entering a “twerking contest” to merit approval on social media. The film won several prizes at the Sundance Film Festival. Netflix apologized for the way they promoted the film, citing the artwork as “problematic.” However, it was not merely the advertisement of the film but its content which has disturbed so many viewers.  Dawn Hawkins, executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, spoke avidly against the film: “’Cuties’ clearly sexualizes children, and in particular, girls of color. The pornography industry is built on these stereotypes, and Netflix is taking a page from this playbook by featuring these children in such a manner. Netflix must stop this practice immediately.”[2] Hawkins is worried about the way such over sexualized attitudes resemble those depicted in pornography. And it is no longer a best kept secret that sex trafficking bears strong ties to the porn industry.

In addition to the Netflix film, a committee of the California Assembly recently voted in favor of exempting sex offenders from registry if they had sex with a minor just 10 years apart in age.  Morse of the Ruth Institute worries that such a measure will encourage statutory rape. She says,

“The same elite that claims to be horrified by pedophilia is blasé when confronted with the evil. Sex with children is one of the few remaining taboos. Radicals are determined to sweep it away so that nothing interferes with indulging their appetites, no matter how perverse.”[3]

While pedophilia remains a horror to most reasonable Americans, it is actually implicated in the flawed reasoning of the sexual liberation movement, as Morse mentions. The logical consequences of the ideology of the sexual revolution prioritize sexual desire above the sanctity of human persons and relationships. When desire goes untethered from moral constraints and loses its relational meaning, there is literal hell to pay for it. The fallout has devastated millions. More broadly speaking, as the late philosopher Dallas Willard remarks, “Individual desire has come to be the standard and rule of everything.”[4] If sexual desire is preeminent, then even the desire to associate sexually with children will somehow become a “right.” The idea of children being utterly separate from the adult world of sexuality becomes untenable. Having the “right” to pedophilia overlooks the rights of children to remain safe, cared for, and protected from those who would harm them for their own pleasure.

Most proponents of sexual liberation would, of course, be horrified if pedophilia becomes more normalized in society. It’s important, however, to understand the implications of this unchecked view of sexual desire. If left to itself, mixed up desires like these can end up destroying lives. They already have to horrific degrees.  If sex is primarily about pleasure and the entitlements of the self, and not about marriage and family, then the boundaries for its proper use become increasingly fluid.

We need to work together to protect the vulnerable in our society, as well as pray for repentance and a changed heart for those who wish to prey sexually on the weak. Sexuality needs to be confined to the adult world, and kids should be allowed to be kids. Anything less would be a grave injustice.

[4] Willard, Dallas. The Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ. NavPress, Colorado Springs. 2002. p. 191.

Peter Biles graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois in 2019 and went on to receive a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Seattle Pacific University. He is the author of Hillbilly Hymn (Resource Publications, 2022) and Keep and Other Stories (Resource Publications, 2022). He has also written for a variety of publications, including Plough, Dappled Things, The Gospel Coalition, and Breaking Ground. Born and raised in Ada, Oklahoma, he currently serves as Content & Communications Fellow for the Chesterton House, a Christian Study Center at Cornell University.

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