Given By Rev. Madison Shockley November 5, 2017

The recent cases of powerful men who are accused of sexual harassment and/or assault are increasing in the news this week. For every famous person who has come forward, there are millions of ordinary victims, both male and female. What is amazing is that upon hearing their victims’s stories, these men had no idea they were harming anyone. They were just being “men”. This is a cultural problem. It is hard to hear that we live in a rape culture. This is not just a problem in the U.S. but a worldwide issue. The reading today talks about how David rapes Bathsheba. In an example of our rape culture, the film creators took this story and reshapes it into a romance. When there is a power differential, the victim’s ability to consent to a sexual encounter is erased. Bathsheba could not refuse the king’s wishes. According to Hollywood, Bathsheba flirts and acts seductive with David. This is pure male fantasy. The biblical text do not support this interpretation. Male dominated cultures teach women that they are responsible for male lust. Female behavior or dress telegraphs their availability. Women are made to feel guilty for their own abuse/assault. The text goes on to describe how David knew she was taking her purifying bath and was now fertile. David tries to cover up his misdeed but all his attempts fail. As a last resort, David has her husband killed in battle and takes Bathsheba as his wife.  The story reminds us that powerful men can either have character or not. David was a great king and had many accomplishments but he still was capable of these acts against Bathsheba and her husband. Today, we are seeing the fall of many great men due to their actions. There is a shift away from the rape culture towards accountability. Let us continue our journey towards a better world.