When someone brings up the Church, Christ, and religion during an interview about inappropriately touching a young girl, then alarms should go off in the minds of all viewers.
Stephen Collins made the following statements to Katie Couric in their friendly discussion that masqueraded as an interview recently.
Smiling and in a good-natured manner, Couric asks the following question:
"Did you feel at times, that you were leading a double life in any way?"
Stephen Collins answers earnestly:
"I'm a flawed person," Collins said. "And in the church, it's actually one of the things I love about the church... it's really one of the main things about the Christian faith, is you know, Christ said in so many ways, 'bring me that ... which about you is broken, bring it,' and most people are broken in some way."
Did anyone ask about the Church?
Did anyone ask anything about the Christian faith or Christ?
George Orwell referenced the term "verbal refuse" when the English language is used to mask intent and hide the real meaning of discussion. Nothing says "verbal refuse" more than "I'm a flawed person." Everyone on the planet is flawed, Couric's reference to a double life was in regards to allegations of sexual abuse. Furthermore, people like Stephen Collins are the reason there's a growing atheist movement in America and around the world.
What does Jesus Christ have to do with Collins sexually abusing an underage girl?
To bring up religion, or an interpretation of Christianity that apparently equates "flawed" people with sexual abuse, is not only an egregious stretch of logic, but perhaps also the antithesis of what it means to be a Christian, or a practicing member of any religion. For the record, George Orwell describes this kind of verbal jujitsu by saying, "The great enemy of clear language is insincerity."
Collins goes on to state the following:
"Most people get to, or have to or choose to hide it. This came out. I didn't choose this to come out. I didn't want to have to deal with these things publicly."
"I had dealt with them very, very strongly, and committedly, in my private life, but I think, I'm a human being with flaws and I've done everything to address it," Collins told Couric.
What Collins did in a committed and strong manner, he for some reason doesn't explain, but that's another issue. The sympathetic, gushy, and almost tender manner that Couric asks these questions and engages in the dialogue also masks the heart of what's being discussed in the first place.
What is it, exactly, that most people get to hide, but what Collins (apparently courageously from Couric's mannerisms) is addressing without initially wanting to "deal with these things" in a public manner?
When Couric asks, this time in a less endearing manner, but still in a golly, gee whiz (here's the forum to explain why you're not a pedophile when you've just admitted to being one) manner, Collins responds:
According to Collins, the underage girl had come to visit and stay with him and his first wife, and after his wife had gone to sleep, he and the girl were watching TV together.
"And I took her hand and moved it in such a way that she was touching me inappropriately," he said. "I knew that something unthinkably wrong had just happened that I couldn't take back."
According to ET Online, there are allegations of more inappropriate contact with underage children.
To Collins, however, he doesn't fit the technical description of a pedophile:
"I'm absolutely not physically or sexually attracted to children."
"A pedophile is someone who is mainly or wholly attracted to children. I'm not. I had a distortion in my thinking where I acted out in those ways. But I'm absolutely not attracted, physically or sexually attracted to children. I'm just not."
Sexual abuse is now reduced to "a distortion in thinking." Couric doesn't hone in on that statement, nor does she in any way make Collins feel that he's just entered a murky realm where words hide true meaning. She just continues with the civil discussion.
Thanks for helping muddy the waters of what pedophilia entails, Ms. Couric.
This is bad enough. Yes, the fact that he is a successful actor is the reason Couric even sat down with Collins in the first place. If she wanted to find a pedophile who's been on television she could have contacted the "stars" of To Catch a Predator. Ms. Couric completely enters a dangerous realm of almost aiding Collins in defending his actions by asking:
"If you're not a pedophile, then how would you describe your particular pathology?"
Collins then goes on to talk about being a person who gave in to "exhibitionistic urges" and laments about having "boundary issues."
So, sexual abuse is about boundary issues in 2014.
To the credit of Ms. Couric, the one time she truly confronts Collins is to bring up divorce court documents that state his ex-wife was told by a therapist the following:
...disclosed to me that Stephen has narcissistic personality disorder with sociopathic tendencies. I believe Stephen used his celebrity status to engender the trust of the families of the children he molested.
He denies this allegation and to be fair to Collins, this could be hearsay, at least in terms of the diagnosis. However, the warped manner he defends his actions might actually give legitimacy to such claims. What does religion have to do with his decision to place a girl's hand on the lower half of his body?
As for any other tough questions or tense interactions, you won't find any in this interaction between the fair and balanced Couric and the well-spoken, nicely dressed, and verbose Collins. It's one thing to admit guilt. It's another thing to bring up Jesus Christ, being flawed, and navigating earnestly around the issue of the tremendous pain and emotional suffering one has inflicted upon a child.
If anything, the notion of an afterlife has a place for people who sexually abuse underage women.
Would such deference be given to Jerry Sandusky? If not, do the differences between Sandusky and Collins warrant far more respect, and even at times a sort of gross reverence, towards Collins by Couric?
Of course there are differences between Jerry Sandusky and Stephen Collins, but why present the forum for allowing a man who openly admits to sexual misconduct to defend his actions?
Couric is a national presence. She doesn't need the money nor does she need the viewers; she's an incredibly talented journalist with a great presence on camera. However, a smartly dressed Stephen Collins defending his actions in the most marketable manner imaginable (complete with Jesus Christ reference and admission of flawed character) is deeply troubling. There's no doubt a good number of young people in this world, watching the Couric interview and wondering why she didn't ask tougher questions or present a more stern appearance, who would have benefited from a less scripted and media friendly interaction between Couric and Collins.
This doesn't mean Couric had to be the second coming of Morton Downy Jr. or Wally George, but fawning over a man accused of sexual abuse does a disservice to society.
I only hope the next time she interviews someone who admits to sexually abusing children that Couric views this person in the same light as Sarah Palin. Just look at her interview with Palin and you'll see a gritty, no-nonsense journalist intent on poking holes in the story of a potential VP. Granted, Palin didn't read much or know the definition of the Bush doctrine, but Couric was determined to prove a point, not create a cushiony landing for a train wreck.
Collins might be innocent of further sexual abuse allegations, but he's already on camera stating his role in one sexual abuse incident. It would have been nice for Coruic to acknowledge this fact through tough questions and some confrontation; not vapid questions and Hollywood soaked, network driven, and ratings fueled discussion of what it means to be a pedophile from an actor.
To simply disregard the Collins admission of sexually abusing an underage girl by asking soft and telegraphed questions almost wreaks of culpability in defending sexual abuse. Ratings aren't as important as the impact of an interview upon society. The more personalities like Couric give people a national forum to confuse definitions and show a nicer side to sexual abuse, then children throughout the country might suffer from the mixed signals of a media obsessed culture.
Being on 7th Heaven and other shows shouldn't mean getting the royal treatment of sexual abuse interviews, especially when the subject matter is critical to the lives of millions of young people in our country.