By: Paul Murano – March, 2019
We Americans tend to bask in the humiliation of others. This is especially true if they’re famous. Much of mainstream journalism has joined the tabloid industry in commonly breaking the eighth commandment by unnecessarily causing scandal and humiliation to individuals for the sake of ratings. Ratings means money, and when money is one’s god everything else becomes secondary. It displays a dark place within human nature that seeks to be satisfied. Having said this, let us go beneath the surface on why the scandal surrounding Bob Kraft is all over the news, and why we care.
To those outside New England, Bob Kraft completes the trifecta of scandal that makes the Patriots the evil empire of the NFL: Brady had Deflategate, Belichick had Spygate, and now Kraft has… Massage-gate? (Where would we be verbally without the original Watergate scandal?) Putting aside who he is, his advanced age, and how many Superbowls his team has won (and all the positive and negative baggage that goes with that), we as a society must discern exactly why we believe what Bob Kraft allegedly did was wrong. There is a conglomeration of conflicting values that this case brings to light, which point to a confused culture with inconsistent ethical standards:
a) The women may have been victims of human trafficking.
— Does this mean it would have been okay if they weren’t?
b) Prostituting is illegal.
— If it were legal would that make it okay?
c) Kraft is a billionaire and a public person.
— If he was anonymous and poor would it be any less wrong?
Let’s imagine that a man with moderate income and no public persona pays for unnatural sex acts from a consenting adult woman. Would there be 24-7 media coverage? Would it be ethically wrong?
The presumption of many today is that adult consent would render this and similar ethical quandaries non-issues. However, if there is no moral issue, why do those who engage in it do it in secret? Why would there be such humiliation in having their names publicized?
In other words, if something is truly acceptable why is it so embarrassing? The old, tired response is that we still haven’t overcome our puritan background to be ‘free’ of outdated modes of thinking. But this is highly doubtful. For the past 50 years we have been inundated by a media that preaches the wonders and acceptability of ‘free’ consensual sex. Two generations have been formed in this distorted message. Why, then, do so many today still get the opposite message from their consciences? Perhaps it stems from the same reason men don’t proudly shout their self-abuse with pornography and women don’t proudly publicize their fornication with “boyfriends”. Deep down we all know – even after five decades of societal conditioning to the contrary – that perversion of the natural order violates our nature, is an affront against marriage and the family, and contributes to psychological problems, spiritual corruption, and a culture of death.
Although it is a very important consideration, adult consent is not the only value to consider in the Kraft case. If the woman with whom Bob Kraft allegedly made a transaction was found to be not involved in any human trafficking, the scandal, disappointment, and humiliation would remain. Why? Many Americans have a problem figuring this out, due chiefly to a distorted view of freedom passed down by modern philosophy.
The only way to make sense of this is to listen to our internal response. We know when we violate natural law – the objective internal law of right and wrong planted in every human heart by God. Although sins of the flesh may not be the gravest evils (sins of malice are more serious than those of weakness), they are of the most dehumanizing. They have lasting temporal effects on one’s ability to love oneself or another. Without divine intervention of grace, such deep wounds tend to perpetuate themselves from one generation to the next.
Society is not the arbiter of morality. Each person has a moral obligation to sacrifice impulse for the objective good. Respect for women must include concern for their good as persons, even if they see themselves as objects. And this concern must extend not only to Asian women at massage parlors, but also those involved in pornography, girlfriends, work mates, and acquaintances.
Yes, Patriots fans can be disappointed in Bob Kraft, if in fact he is guilty of engaging in these activities at a massage parlor in Jupiter FL. But do not be inconsistent. This moral standard projected onto him must be applied to us as well. Objectively, those who engage in sex outside of marriage, or who practice self-abuse from lust in objectifying women in pornography, are no less guilty than Bob Kraft.
Along with this lesson learned, we can hope that a silver lining will spring from all the media coverage invested in this story – that law enforcement and politicians will be motivated to get a better handle on how to combat the grave and inhumane crime of human trafficking.
Paul Murano is a college instructor of philosophy and theology and talk host of Beneath the Surface radio show and podcast. Paul speaks on topics relating to where faith and reason meet, and is a solo musician that plays oldies and originals. E-mail Paul at PJDM@aol.com, and check out his website at paulmurano.com