by Chris Sugden, Church of England Newspaper:
The November 2014 session of General Synod debated proposals about whether the confidentiality of the confessional should ever be breached. If a parishioner confessed a sex crime to their confessor, should the confessor be required to report the fact to the authorities? The point was made that while absolution would depend on the parishioner reporting themselves, to whom could people troubled by such actions ( for only those troubled would seek the confessional) ever turn in trust?
In “The New Politics of Sex: the sexual revolution, civil liberties and the growth of government power” (Angelico Press, Ohio, 2017 available from Christian Concern) Professor Stephen Baskerville Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College, Virginia, offers an analysis that suggests that such a proposal as the above is the tip of an iceberg of the ever increasing power of state authorities to police activities that are beyond its competence.
His thesis, rigorously supported by academic studies and court records is that an intact family of mother and father is the safest environment for women and for children. The growth of sexual libertarianism means that the natural restraints against sexual harassment, child abuse, bullying, and the provision of the protection of women that were provided by codes of morality and by fathers in families have been removed. In the place of fathers have come armies of minor officials with power to arrest those who are named by accusers ( now renamed victims or survivors) and who are tried by ‘courts’ which do not follow the requirements of due process. “The hook-up culture of easy sex rife in Western universities in the name of sexual liberation has become a honey-trap that lures and then criminalises heterosexual male university students”. (p 174)
He traces the origin of this procedure to the acceptance of no-fault divorce which brought vague and nebulous transgressions, the central role of the accuser’s subjective feelings, the presumption of guilt against the accused, civil procedures which required no concrete or objective proof, and which could result in either appropriation of assets and even prison sentences for failure to provide them.
He discerns a regular pattern of political development: to secure their own sexual freedom activists close down the freedom of others. Those who claim a special status in society related to sexual libertarianism, come out of the closet; they demand their rights; they demand that everyone recognise those rights; they remove the rights of those who oppose them; finally they want to put those who oppose their rights themselves into the closet.
Baskerville critiques social conservatives who failed to oppose these developments and chose the wrong ground to defend. He argues that the purpose of marriage is not procreation but to allow children to have fathers, turning a man from a sperm donor into a parent and creating parental authority. He claims that the removal of fathers through no fault divorce creates many of the problems such a process was designed to resolve. The only essential role of the state in marriage is to guarantee the rights and authority of both parents.
Weakening marriage produces fatherless, not motherless homes. State bureaucracy and the courts often replace fathers. Prized from parents, children become vulnerable to manipulation as political tools. Sex education is then used to indoctrinate them in politically correct sexual views.
For Paul the apostle, behind every ethical failure is a theological error. Beyond Baskerville’s analysis is a deep theological point summed up in Paul’s words: “The father from whom every family on earth is named” (Eph 3.15) Society’s abandonment of God is not just a matter of private individual belief; it is linked clearly to an abandonment both of the responsibilities and the role of fathers in the flourishing of human society. This is the real cost of sexual so-called liberation.