In 1995 I was serving as the part-time chaplain at Albright College, and was hired (at what was probably minimum wage) to be the Head Coach of the wrestling program. I was also the assistant coach, water boy, and everything else (except for the trainer – we had great student trainers!). The local paper caught wind of this and came out to interview me. They were trying to wrap their heads around the ordained chaplain being a wresting coach too. “What will you do about the locker room stuff?” was their first question. I told them that adults should know how to use real words, and profanity would not be allowed on the mat or in the locker room. “How will you do that?” I told them about my push-up discipline – any wrestler who broke the rule would have to do 25 push-ups – and I would do them also. I got pretty strong that first year, but they learned to control themselves.
This whole locker room mentality is a troubling one. The idea is that men – and maybe women too – can sit around and talk about their sexual conquests in the comfort of their single sex locker room. Anything goes here, we are told – say whatever you want about the opposite sex – we won’t tell. Much of these conversations were, of course, lies – men like it when other men think that their prowess is supernatural, and that all women throw themselves at their feet. But the recent revelation about Donald Trump does not fit into this category. Trump is heard bragging about his not only his willingness and ability to sexually assault women any time he wants to, but that he has actually done it! And the timing of this was even more amazing – he had been married to his beautiful third wife for a very short time, yet he was trying to seduce a married woman. In that recording, Trump boasted about committing illegal acts that are considered, by many, to be forms of rape. Even for many “never Hillary” people, this was too much.
What concerns me most is that this moral degradation is being explained away by many of his supporters. They point to Bill Clinton, who in my opinion is a sex addict, and say he did things that were just as bad – or worse! I think they are right – Pres. Clinton behaved in unacceptable ways towards women, and many have put us as a nation at risk. But rape and sexual assault? This hasn’t been proven. Mr. Trump admitted to having done it many times. This is not a political concern – this is a moral concern. Can you imagine trying to explain to our sons and daughters why we have a president who is an admitted sexual abuser? Isn’t it horrifying that he has been allowed to do this for so long? How has this over the hill frat boy gotten so far? And why are we not more disgusted as a nation? These questions and many others make it very clear to me – it is a time to do a moral check up on ourselves as a nation.
The Rev. Dr. Steve Ohnsman, PhD, Pastor, Calvary UCC, Reading, PA