There are still lines

Dear America,

We find ourselves immersed in a complex national conversation about human sexuality.
There is much to wrap our heads around in this conversation and I believe all of us - or at least most of us - are earnestly seeking what is best for our fellow citizens, our families and our personal lives.
However, it seems like some deeply regarded ideals have been overshadowed in the ongoing discussion.
In light of the recent attention on the rape case involving Brock Turner on the campus at Stanford University, it would seem that all of us have some work to do.
While we struggle with legitimate issues of human sexuality, we need to come together with a loud, unified voice on certain principles. No matter where you stand on the spectrum of thought concerning human sexuality, there are still lines that should not be crossed.
It is clear by the national outrage over the Turner case that non-consensual sex is one of them.
Rape is not ok - ever. It is wrong.
This is a sexual behavior the people of the United States will not stand for in our country and that we disapprove in the rest of the world. End of story.
Turner is a young man who has grown up in a nation where the discussion over human sexuality has been focused more on what is ok than what is not ok.
So in the midst of this dialogue, we should all come back together to proclaim that there are still behaviors that are not acceptable.
Christianity holds that all humans are created in the image of God (Gen 1:27) and therefore have sacred worth. People are valuable. People are special. They are precious.
Through this lens, we can see clearly that hurting another person is a thick line that should not be crossed.
In the case of rape, the hurt is both physical and emotional. In a letter, Turner's victim wrote to her rapist, "My damage was internal, unseen, I carry it with me. You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice..."
There are many other ways we hurt one another in sexual relationships and all of them go back to not valuing others.
It is never ok to dehumanize, debase, disrespect or degrade others.
Perhaps we could all take a hard look at what we are doing that might cause another to experience these sorts of feelings.
And what about betrayal?
Betrayal is one of the harshest, most painful, human violations.
I think this is why Dante in his classic The Inferno portrayed Satan as a three-headed beast chewing on some of the most infamous betrayers of human history - Judas, who betrayed God; Brutus, who betrayed family; and Cassius, who betrayed his country.
It would seem that we could all use a reminder that lying, which is at the root of betrayal, is hurtful.
No one wants to live under the pretense of faithfulness and honest, authentic representation in one's most intimate relationships.
Whether we are Christians or not - and no matter where we find ourselves on matters of human sexuality, the concept of loving others as ourselves is helpful in the ongoing conversation.
More importantly, it is a sure way for us to keep our words and actions from crossing lines.