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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

DATE RAPE, INCEST, AND THE BIRTH OF A BROKEN NATION


Genesis 19:30 - 38




Lot and his two adult daughters were the only survivors of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Unwilling to camp inside the charred walls of Zoar next to the ashen remains of their wife/ mother, the three refugees from the valley moved up the mountains into a cave.


Genesis 19:31 says that the family, or at least the young women, thought that the whole world had been destroyed. 

Now, before you smirk at the poor, dumb, panicky ancient women overreacting, think about how many times some local calamity has happened somewhere in the world and modern, educated, globally-informed Christians have declared, “The world is coming to an end.”  Or, imagine you witnessed a nuclear destroy a city just over the horizon.  Would you think the destruction was only in that city?   


The sisters thought they and their dad were the last 3 people on Earth, but they had an idea.

Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.” (Genesis 19:32)

And they did.  On successive nights, the recently widowed daughters of Lot got their father so drunk he did not know when she lay down or when she arose (Genesis 19: 33, 35).

There’s no other way to categorize this.   Lot was date-raped by his daughters.

And this is where they start questioning the victim.


Victim blamers say:  He should have known what they were planning.
Logic responds:   Really?  He should have suspected that his own daughters planned to have non-consensual sex with him?  That’s a thought a father should have had?  No.

Victim blamers say:  He shouldn’t have been so drunk.
Good sense replies:   (1)  He wasn’t driving.  (2) His daughters gave him the liquor.  His world was ashes, and the angels were gone, and his own daughters said, “You need a drink.”  And (3), He’d just watched everything he’d worked for his entire life be incinerated, including his wife who was burned into a towering pile of salty ash literally right before his eyes, and now they live in a cave. 
In that situation, you can’t be mad at the guy for breaking the seal on the mini-bar.

Victim blamers say:  He should’ve said, “No.”
People with brains say:   Uh, uh.  Wrong expectation.  Consent doesn’t mean someone doesn’t say, “No.”  CONSENT means someone gives an uncoerced, fully informed, “Yes.”   Lot couldn’t say, “Yes,” because AGAIN, HE’D BEEN  DRUGGED.   Alcohol is a drug.  He was drugged.


The sick-er twist of the story is the predators who sexually assaulted Lot were family, his own biological daughters.  They had to know that what they planned was wrong or they wouldn’t have drugged their daddy.    

When and how could their moral sensibilities have gotten so twisted that raping their father seemed like a reasonable response to . . . . Oh.  Yeah.  Sodom.  They’d embraced the culture and ethics of Sodom.

In Sodom, sexual assault was a normalized community activity.  (I wrote about it in “Why Sodom Fell”.) Cultural values devalued family.  Lot’s daughters had heard their father offer to let them be gang-raped to preserve those 2 “angels.”  And, the city that had just been destroyed, that was their hometown, maybe the only home they’d ever known.  That lady who’d been burned  into a pillar of salty ash, that was their mother.  And, the daughter probably thought, it was all Lot’s fault. 

Corrupted and grieving, Lot’s children did a terrible, terrible thing to the person closest to them and most blamed for their pain. 

I’m not excusing or justifying their sexual assault.  I’m only pointing out that this story isn’t a fable or a fairy tale with simple heroes whose every decision is pure and good or simple villains whose motivations are dismissively evil for evil’s sake.  The Bible tells stories of people who  are contradictory and complex because the Bible tells the truth and people are complex and contradictory.

Stories like Lot and his daughters are preserved in Scripture  so we know that our sins and social dysfunctions, though no less terrible are by no means original to the human experience.    We’re repeating history, so the outcomes are predictable, predictive ---- prophetic.

Lot’s daughter got pregnant by their father, as they had planned.

37 The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. 38 And the younger, she also bore a son and called his name Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the people of Ammon to this day. (Genesis 19:36-38)

The Moabites and the Ammonites.    

The legacy of a family that was morally and sexually corrupted by Sodom’s sexually and morally unrestrained culture was the birth of nations   whose societies  became synonyms for idolatry, evil, and opposition to God’s will.

Now look at us.   Us Western civilization.  Us Americans.  Us post-christianity Christians.   

Of course, there are reasons for our new moral perspective.  Absolutely, there’s justification in our extreme response to the trauma inflicted on us by the sexual mores of the “righteous.”  But do our reasons make it right?  Do our sins make it better?

What are we doing to the moral sensibilities of future mothers and fathers?  What kind of future nations are we, are our children conceiving?  

Remember Lot’s wife.  But don’t forget about what happened to the rest of the family.

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

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