[Opinion] Van Ens: Unzipped living careens toward lechery

Vail Daily

August 15, 2020

By Jack Van Ens

A century ago, on August 18, 1920, Tennessee was the 38th state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This vote fulfilled the requirement that for an amendment to be added to the Constitution, it needed approval from three-fourths of the states.

The 19th Amendment intended to even the judicial scales tipped against women. It guaranteed them the right to vote, have financial independence from male domination, and shielded women from paternalistic indignities.

Judging by how Baptist Jerry Falwell, Jr. embarrassed a pregnant woman whose cut-offs were unzipped and midriff exposed, he is not fazed by the 19th Amendment’s guarantee to treat women as equals in voting booths. It was more fun for Falwell to post a suggestive lecherous photo on his Instagram account.

This inappropriate photo features Falwell with his arm around the pregnant woman he identified as his “wife’s assistant.” He, too, has his pants unzipped. The low-brow picture was snapped when this twosome enjoyed a summer outing on a yacht. Falwell sorely offended tee-totaling Baptist supporters of Liberty University by holding a glass of dark-colored liquid, which could be mistaken for shots of Jack Daniels whiskey.


Falwell lamely offered a sexist excuse, saying he commiserated with this woman’s plight. “She’s pregnant, so she couldn’t get her pants on,” he told a snickering host on Lynchburg, Virginia’s radio station WLNI. “And I had on a pair of jeans that I hadn’t worn in a long time, so I couldn’t get mine zipped, either. And so, I just put my belly out like hers.”

Contrite or feigning remorse, Falwell purred, “She’s a sweetheart, and I should never have put it up and embarrassed her.”

Merely an innocent guy horsing around in clean fun with a woman unzipped, some say. No, gender power imbalances tilt this playful interlude against women. What hampers the full implementation of the 19th Amendment a century after its passage are abusive sexual relationships OK’d by some Christians.

For instance, the Southern Baptist Convention ranks as the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. with approximately 15 million members in 47,000 churches. “A six-part Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News report a few years ago found more than 250 SBC officials and volunteers who were convicted of sex-abuse crimes over the past 20 years, and some 700 victims. It also revealed cases in which church members and leaders scorned victims and masked accusations of misconduct against popular pastors,” reported The Wall Street Journal’s assistant editorial page writer Nicole Ault.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.