Benjamin Watson played sixteen seasons in the National Football League, competing in a Super Bowl and being named to the Pro Bowl as a tight end. In 2018, he received the Bart Starr Award for outstanding character, integrity, and leadership on and off the field. (This is the only award other than the Pro Bowl voted on by all the players.)
Now he is tackling something most athletes would not: the issue of abortion. His documentary film Divided Hearts of America premiered yesterday. He and his wife, Kirsten, interviewed different voices on this issue as part of their pro-life advocacy. They are focused on Micah 6:8’s call to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.
I wanted to start today’s Daily Article with his story to prove a point: every one of us can make a difference on the challenges that matter most. Let’s embrace that fact as we focus on one of the most disturbing issues our nation faces today.
The tip of the moral iceberg
The movie Cuties continues to provoke a firestorm of criticism for exploiting young girls purportedly to warn against the exploitation of young girls. This, however, is the tip of the iceberg in our culture:
- The FBI warned this week about “sextortion” attempts in Arizona, in which predators convince young people to produce sexual images and videos online.
- Good Morning America recently celebrated a “trailblazing eleven-year-old drag kid . . . whose bravery is inspiring so many.” The boy explains that he likes pizza and trains, then says, “I also do drag and I love to put on makeup, dresses, and wigs, and of course, jewelry.”
- “Drag Queen Storytime” is spreading to libraries across America. The Houston Public Library has apologized for featuring a convicted child molester during its version of this series.
- Wikipedia lists thirty-eight different organizations around the world that have advocated for pedophilia. (For more on this horrific trend, see this frightening article.)
- The actor Elijah Wood told a reporter that “a lot of vipers” in Hollywood prey on children.
My purpose today is not to horrify you but to examine the cultural trajectory behind Cuties and the exploitation of children. Then we’ll find biblical hope and help as we seek to make a vital and transforming difference today.
Justice Roberts was right
When five justices on the US Supreme Court discovered five years ago a “right” to same-sex marriage, Chief Justice John Roberts noted in his dissent: “It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage” (polygamy).
Now we’re seeing a growing movement to legitimize and legalize polygamy on the basis of the court’s decision. A town in Massachusetts recently became the first (of many to come, I fear) to recognize “plural” marriage as legal.
However, the 2015 redefinition of marriage is only one expression of an earlier redefinition of sexual morality. The so-called sexual revolution of the 1960s led to the escalation of divorce, the normalization of sex before marriage, the legalization of abortion, and the widespread acceptance of adulterous relationships. Popular media for decades has portrayed sex outside of marriage as healthy and normal.
Three vital steps toward truth and hope
All of this is itself a symptom of an even more foundational shift from objective truth to subjective opinion. Our culture has jettisoned biblical morality for personal tolerance.
Before we condemn our secularized society, however, we should examine ourselves as well.
Pew Research Center unsurprisingly reports that 79 percent of Americans say “sex between unmarried adults in a committed relationship is acceptable”; 83 percent say the same of “casual sex between consenting adults who are not in a committed relationship.” Here’s the surprising part: 57 percent of Christians say they agree with the first statement, and 50 percent agree with the second.
To make a crucial difference in our post-Christian culture, you and I must take three steps.
One: Seek to be what we want others to become
Scripture calls us to “cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). Let us pray daily for the Spirit to control and empower us (Ephesians 5:18) to be the holy people of God (1 Peter 1:14–16).
Two: Lead our families to live biblically
Scripture calls parents to teach God’s word “diligently to your children” (Deuteronomy 6:7). Children are growing up in a culture that is more antagonistic to Christian morality than ever before in American history. It is absolutely vital that we teach them to know the Lord and his word and to resist the cultural pressures to conform to its dangerous and disastrous norms.
Three: Use our influence for good
An online petition for Netflix to remove Cuties has gained more than 734,000 signatures as of this morning. After the movie was released, Netflix’s daily loss of customers was nearly eight times higher than levels in August.
Like Benjamin Watson, you and I have been given resources and influence we can use to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Peter Marshall prayed, “Give us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for—because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything.”
Let’s make his prayer our own today.