Stoning Monica Lewinsky: Again

Bill Clinton/Flickr/dbking

Bill Clinton/Flickr/dbking

I know the picture to the left is not Monica Lewinsky. It’s intentional. Anyhow, Monica Lewinsky, the former intern who had a sexual encounter with President Bill Clinton, will break her silence in an upcoming edition of Vanity Fair Magazine. This sounds juicy but let’s set aside the elements of sex, consent, difference in age, abuse of power, and politics. Instead, let’s use the Lewinsky article to think about how our culture responds to adultery. Frankly, the other-woman is often viewed as the primary villain. In Lewinsky’s case, she can scarcely find a job after the affair while Bill Clinton remains a popular figure to a large segment of society. Many of the people who like Bill Clinton refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of his actions because they adore the man and his positive qualities. Hence Lewinski became the bad guy. This type of immoral disparity, sadly, occurs in the church as well as in the secular culture. Granted, Bill Clinton was impeached, but he’s done pretty well for himself since then.

Over the years, I have read numerous reports about high-profile pastors who had to resign their positions because they had an affair. When these stories break, the church often issues a statement describing how, among other things, the church will support the defrocked pastor and his family through the aftermath of the affair. Church support can take the form of professional counseling services and a restoration process designed to get the fallen pastor back to a closer life with God. Here is where the disparity comes in: I have NEVER read a church statement about a pastor’s affair that included any reference to support, counseling, and restoration made available to the other-woman in the adulterous relationship. Perhaps these churches were attempting to respect the privacy of the other-woman, but I think it more likely these women were ignored or even shunned.

There is already fallout from Lewinsky’s upcoming story in Vanity Fair. I read one shocking comment where a reader placed the entire blame on Lewinsky because “she had an affair with a married man. She made her bed and needs to sleep in it.” The ignorance and gall of such a statement is beyond my comprehension. Such an attitude is similar to that found in backwater cultures where they still stone adulterous women to death but allow adulterous men to go relatively unpunished. I suppose we have not advanced as far as we think in the West where a woman who commits adultery is sentenced to metaphorical stoning by hurtful words and shaming while her male companion (and I’m being generous) gets a wink and a nod of near tolerance. Christ encountered this type disparity in John 8 when the religious leaders brought him a women caught in adultery to see if he would support the law’s requirement of stoning her. This is where Jesus uttered the famous words “let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.” You know the rest of the story: her accusers walked away in shame. The outcome of this story makes me wonder how many of those men in the crowd had committed adultery themselves. Perhaps some had even committed adultery with the woman they were willing to stone. It goes to show how perverse and self-righteous people can be. Fortunately Jesus sees through our schemes, self-deception, and misogyny.

Why do I bring all this up? So we will raise hell the next time we see gender-based injustice occurring in our spheres of influence, especially if it happens in the church. I’m just saying!

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Posted on May 8, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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