Last week I had to watch the Air Force’s latest attempt to stem immoral behavior through institutional education and training. I sat in an auditorium with about 50 other pilots and student pilots and learned something I learned in kindergarten…don’t take something that isn’t yours. Apparently, however, our service is at such a low point that our leaders think it is time to re-teach this lesson. Unfortunately for the Air Force, it seems they can no longer tell us why such behavior is wrong.
Secular humanism, an attempt to get rid of religion but retain morality, is failing even as it retains its death-grip on the minds of many national leaders. Sexual assault is on the rise in the military (1 out of 3 women are sexually assaulted according to our Sexual Assault Awareness coordinator). Suicide rates have caused increased concern among the upper brass. Scandals at the Academy continue to make the headlines on a fairly frequent basis. The basis for ethical behavior is being removed as “too religious,” and the humanists are shocked to discover that moral behavior isn’t quite as intuitively obvious to all of humanity as was expected.
I am rather disappointed with the Air Force’s attempts to address sexual assault (defined as, “intentional sexual contact, characterized by use of force, physical threat or abuse of authority or when the victim does not or cannot consent..without regard to gender or spousal relationship…’consent’ shall not be deemed or construed to mean the failure by the victim to offer physical resistance. Consent is not given when a person uses force, threat of force, coercion or when the victim is asleep, incapacitated or unconscious”). The video we watched took great pains to drive home the point that under this definition most sexaul assault won’t be conducted by the man in the ski mask, but rather by acquaintances and friends (or even spouses) who take things farther than their partner desires. The point is that the entire criminality or wrongness of the act rests upon mutual consent.
The difficulty is that now judges will be left to discover and evaluate the hearts and intentions of men and women who may not know those intentions themselves. For example, Jerry and Sally go out to a bar. They have too much to drink but don’t mind because they are enjoying themselves. Jerry offers to walk Sally back home and she invites him in. After spending the night together one of them (let’s say Sally) decides last evening wasn’t such a good idea. Sally is shocked and horrified that she has slept withJerry and decides to press sexual assault charges. She claims he seduced her while she was “incapacitated” and unable to resist due to the large amount of alcohol she drank. Jerry says Sally consented to the act, she may have said no once but he just thought she was playing hard to get. (Lest you think this is too extreme, it is actually hinted at in the Air Force video and has been voiced as a concern among some of my colleagues). Who is in the right? By tipping its hat to the assumed normalcy of sexual promiscuity, the Air Force leaves itself very little ground to stand upon in condemning less socially acceptable sexual behaviors.