By Bre Payton
Patrick Henry College
Dr. Baskerville during his lecture
In a lecture addressing faculty and students, Dr. Stephen Baskerville explained the proper response Christian intellectuals should have towards what he has termed “the sexual agenda” Wednesday in the Hodel Center Coffee House.
The “ideology of the erotic” or “sexual radicalism” has pervaded western society and redefined how it functions, Dr. Baskerville began, and by politicizing sexuality, those who understand its power can use it as a weapon to acquire influence.
Some obvious ramifications of sexual radicalism can be seen in an American society moving toward unlimited sexual freedom, abortion on demand, the legalization of same sex marriage, and the requirement of contraception to be covered by medical insurance. Baskerville explained that in addition to these obvious problems, the ramifications are much deeper.
“Divorce machinery,” for instance, has been employed in a legal system that often banishes otherwise well-meaning and devoted fathers. The chronic absence of fathers in the home likewise spurs the epidemics of cohabitation, single motherhood, and fatherless children, Baskerville said.
These trends toward sexual radicalism have also affected the crime rate, much more so than the more obvious factors of poverty and race, he noted.
“Rich white children from a broken home are more likely to commit a crime than a poor, black child from a whole home.”
Beyond blurring and jumbling crime statistics, he said the sexual agenda – perpetuated by feminists, gay rights activists, media, and an increasingly secularized culture -- has developed a legal environment in which gender crimes, in many cases, target otherwise innocent men for incarceration. Legal phrasing informed by sexual radicalism makes terms like “sexual harassment” or “sexual assault” purposefully ambiguous, often providing women an opportunity to “circumvent due process,” he said. “They are vague on purpose so they can mean anything.”
In certain cases, he added, the accusations that women bring against men are indefensible and perpetuate a “spiral of silence” underlying an aggressive anti-male stigma.
Sexual radicalism also shifts the focus of society away from the family and towards a more at risk, individualistic ethic that destabilizes society and requires more frequent state intervention.
“Our responsibility [as Christians] is to use our intellectual recourses to explain to the world what is wrong,” he explained.
“We have a head start on this campus, and with the Home School Legal Defense Association,” he said. By defending parental rights the issue of sexual radicalism is being addressed in a positive manner.
Noting that Patrick Henry College has been -- along with many Christian institutions within and beyond higher education -- facing external pressure towards its Biblical views on sexuality and marriage, Baskerville concluded: “None of us wants to be perceived as haters or bigots. The objective is to put out a positive message in addressing this.”
Dr. Baskerville teaches Comparative Politics and upper level courses in International Politics and Policy. Before PHC, he taught government and international affairs at Howard University in Washington and Palacky University in the Czech Republic, and he recently served as a Fulbright Scholar at the Russian-American Studies Center at the Russian National University for the Humanities in Moscow. Among his research fellowships is the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society and the Independent Institute. His research interests include international family policy, political ideologies, religion and politics, and international religious freedom. Among his publications is Not Peace but a Sword: The Political Theology of the English Revolution (Routledge 1993), and Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family (Cumberland House, 2007). He serves as Managing Editor of the International Journal for Religious Freedom, where he is assisted by PHC students. At PHC he is the faculty sponsor of the National Model United Nations, and leads an annual excursion of students to UN headquarters. He is currently working on a book on sexual radicalism and the family in global perspective.