Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Prostitution and the Image of God

Earlier this month I was able to hear Dr. Steven Tracy lecture on the "image of God."  Dr. Tracy is a professor of theology and ethics at Phoenix Seminary as well as the co-founder, with his wife Celestia, of   Mending the Soul Ministries.  The first part of Dr. Tracy's lecture was a basic biblical and theological introduction to the teaching on humanity's being made in the image of God.  After the break he began to speak of the implications for ministry that this doctrine has in the life of the church and society.  Dr. Tracy and his wife are both involved with the issue of child sex slavery and counsel those who have come out of this horrific lifestyle of abuse.  In speaking of this issue he made the statement that prostitution is an almost complete reversal of the image of God.  He went on to outline what he meant.

Whereas the image of God is about relationality in which man and woman partner together for a common purpose, prostitution is about slavery of a man (pimp) over a woman.

Whereas the image of God is about a mutually shared sexuality of giving and sharing within a bond of unity, prostitution is about sex in terms of taking and using another person.

Whereas the man is to image God in a certain kind of potency in which he protects and creates, in prostitution the man subjugates and enslaves a woman.

I found this to be a profound insight and application of the doctrine of the image of God.

Among the materials handed out at the lecture was an article from the Sept/Oct 2007 edition of Prism magazine.  The article was entitled "Portrait of Exploitation: The Real Face of Prostitution" and was written by Laura Coulter.  In the article there appeared the following citation in one of the side-bar columns.
For the vast majority of the world's prostituted women, prostitution is the experience of being hunted, dominated, harassed, assaulted, and battered...In prostitution, demand creates supply.  Because men want to buy sex, prostitution is assumed to be inevitable, therefore 'normal.'... Prostitution must be exposed for what it really is: a particularly lethal form of male violence against women.  The focus on research, prevention, and law enforcement in the next decade must be on the demand side of prostitution.   (From "Prostitution: A Critical review of the medical and social literature" by Melissa Farley and Vanessa Kelly in Women & Criminal Justice (2000, Vol. 11), available at ProstitutionResearch.com.) 
Demand creates supply.  One of the desperate needs in combatting prostitution and all its attendant evils is for the demand to be reduced.  The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ has this power (Titus 2.11-14).  We must pray for its unleashed power in our time.