Jerry Falwell Would Not Approve of This May 3, 2009

Jerry Falwell Would Not Approve of This

Not to rationalize a criminal act, but I wonder if the sexually repressed climate at Liberty University played any role in this. When masturbation is seen as a sin, you’re only allowed to hug another person for three seconds, and you’re not allowed any more PDA than holding hands in public, this is one hell of a way to rebel:

A Liberty University student is behind bars after being arrested in a sting to catch Internet sexual predators.

State Police arrested 22-year-old Jamison Dean Gibbs of Acworth, GA, Friday at the conservative Christian school founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell.

He was charged with attempting to take indecent liberties with a child and using an electronic device to solicit a juvenile.

Stafford County Sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy said Detective Darryl Wells pretended to be a 13-year-old girl from Fredericksburg during online conversations with Gibbs that began in October.

Kennedy said Gibbs tried several times to set up meetings with the girl.

At least no actual little girl was involved.

This isn’t a trend at the school — It’s an isolated incident. But I’m so curious what was going through Gibbs’ head… whether his upbringing had anything to do with this or whether he would’ve done this had he gone to a more secular school. Or maybe the climate has nothing to do with it and he’s just messed up.

(Thanks to Jeannette for the link!)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • beckster

    I vote for just messed up in the head. Probably the same percentage of Liberty University students are child molestors or rapists as the general population.

  • stephanie

    I dunno. I’m pretty wary of tying religious inanities to a criminal act. It’s too much like when religious groups make it a point to state someone out of bounds is an Atheist.

  • Correlation doesn’t imply causation and having only one result to support a theory is bad science.

    If there were a significant problem with sexual repression at Liberty I suspect you’d see a lot more incidents of sexual / indecent assault – and at least some of those offenders would have cited it as a problem.

    As beckster said, I suspect the percentages of potential offenders are roughly the same as in the general population.

  • Ethanol

    Ya I have to say that unless you have solid statistics to back it up, its probably a bad idea to even talk about the possibility of a correlation. It’s just asking for the reverse (every atheist who does something bad reflects the inherent morality of the whole) not that they need our encouragement to make that argument.

  • Gabriel

    I have to think he is just one fucked up dude. I don’t think we can trace the majority of child molesters to a education at liberty university. Though it would be amazing if we could. Can you imagine if we found the cause of pedophillia and could thus eliminate it? That would be cool.

  • Shane

    I believe there is a link between sexual repression and sexual deviancy. I don’t know if the school’s environment would qualify–presumably the students do whatever they want behind closed doors or out back behind the tool shed. You do have the example of Catholic priests’ sex scandals which evidence suggests is caused in part by their vows of celibacy and extreme sexual repression.

    I believe (and you may have to look this up) but most of the priests were neither pedophiles nor homosexuals. Their crimes were simple crimes of opportunity fueled by their repressive environment that attempted to deny the existence of human sexuality.

    So there is evidence that sexual repression may cause this sort of thing, but I kind of doubt that the superficial kind of sexual censorship that happens at the school is sufficient.

  • I’m going with messed up, though sexual repression may be a factor in his being messed up. He chose to approach someone he thought was a 13 year old girl online rather than someone closer to his own age, someone just sexually frustrated wouldn’t do that.

  • FresnoMikey

    Yes, there is too much correlation by observation that could become empirical evidence that repression results in perversion. Just look at the number of Republicans in Congress busted for perversions. And priests.
    Deny nature and it will come back and bite you in the where-ever.
    I’ll bet that Native Americans had few hangups, were more tolerant of sexuality, and had fewer neuroses. They probably would not have created global warming either. No technology. No overpopulation?

  • Claudia

    I tend to doubt that the repression at the school had much to do with the fact that this guy is a sicko. Certainly I don’t think that such sexual repression is good but I think it’s quite a stretch to imagine that it can impulse pedophilia.

    I see a difference between this and, say, Catholic priests. This guy clearly wanted to abuse a child. He could have as easily hooked up with a grown woman online but chose a girl. Also, though the school represses sexuality, it does not do so completely. You can have a girlfriend and you can get married. The priesthood imposes lifelong chastity, which is a whole different animal from “wait until you are married” and also may attract men who wish to tamp down dark impulses they may feel before going in, only to have them amplified in an atmosphere that precludes sexuality of any kind.

  • I have to agree with Shane… I think that there is a correlation between sexual repression and sexual deviancy. Religious ideology tends to be sexually repressive so I think that makes it more likely that religious people will find outlets because sexuality is a normal human need. I don’t think that sexual molestation of minors is always due to a sexual attraction to minors, but simply due to the fact that in a position of authority minors are easier to control… that is to encourage them to keep the conduct a secret. The idea that with less chance of discovery they won’t lose their position within the church community.

    I don’t mean to imply that all sexual deviants are religious, just that sexual repression can cause negative outlets for sexual behavior and religion just unfortunately tends to be sexually repressive.

  • jasonorlandohawk

    Voting for “just messed up” here. One incident of this at Liberty is only distantly correlation… maybe. Causation? Not at all.

  • Any 13 year old girl who meets creeps on the internet and would agree to meet with them… need Christs love! Duh!

  • Yes, there is too much correlation by observation that could become empirical evidence that repression results in perversion. Just look at the number of Republicans in Congress busted for perversions. And priests.

    The idea that repression leads to perversion is plausible, but it would take a lot more evidence before I believed it. Just looking at the number of priests and republicans who became involved in sexual scandals does not tell you a thing. What you need is a percentage, not a number. And then you need to measure the same percentage in people who did not experience any sexual repression. And then we have to consider confounding factors, like how honest people are in a survey. I think this would be a very difficult topic to study. How could we know either way?

  • BruceH

    I think you have it exactly backward, Hermant. Therefore you are wrong… on the Internet. This can only be addressed by wild-ass speculation.

    It’s not LU that caused this guy to want little girls, and maybe not even religion itself. The guy wants little girls, and he knows that’s wrong. He is also religious, so he seeks to smother his sickness with Jesus. This is how, by and by, he ends up at Liberty University; going to ever more desperate lengths to force God into the sucking mental wound of pedophilia.

    Everyone involved would have been much better off if he had consulted a medical professional instead of his pastor.

  • Phallo

    This is a Liberty student, so he is not a criminal. Christians don’t commit crimes, they backslide and fall into sin. The Devil got a hold of him and he had a moment (or several) of weakness.

  • What BruceH says makes sense too. I do think there is a correlation between sexual repression and sexual deviancy, but I think whether or not a person acts out on it has to do with their own mental health issues. After all there are MANY Christians who go the purity route and some don’t even kiss their partners before getting married, so it’s not simply the fault of religion, but religion doesn’t help when you’re already fucked in the head.

  • After being on the receiving end of such a scandal, I have a theory that so many religious figures find themselves embroiled in sexual deviancy because it is the one area of their life that they can (usually) keep private. When everyone is watching you 24/7 to make sure you are “being good,” the one place you have where you can go and relax and not worry about who is seeing you commit horrible sins (like go see an R rated movie or hug for an entire 5 seconds) is your bedroom. I remember the length I once had to go through to buy alcohol, even though I was 21. It is ridiculous and completely exhausting having to live up to impossible standards all the time. So you dive into imperfection in any way you can see, just to prove to yourself that you’re human somehow.

    I also agree that sexual repression can lead to sexual deviancy. I also agree that you have to be careful assuming that there is a correlation in an individual case.

  • llewelly

    Being a molester is strongly correlated with belonging to a religion that preaches traditional gender roles – much like being an abuser. However – contrary to what some have asserted here – it is not otherwise correlated with belonging to a group expected to abstain from all sexual contact. Catholic priests do not molest any more frequently than priests of other religions which also teach traditional gender roles, but allow priests to date and marry.