In 2003 Washington became the first state in the nation to criminalize human trafficking.  Washington continues to be a national leader (see p. 3) in systematically tackling human trafficking crimes, with the Legislature currently considering SB 5546.  This bill is “aimed at helping law-enforcement investigations of child prostitution and human-trafficking cases”, said bill sponsor Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles.

No one knows exactly how many American children are lured into prostitution …But an estimated 300,000 to 800,000 kids, most of them girls, are forced to sell their bodies a number of times a day, according to a new book by investigative reporter, Julian Sher …whose book, Somebody’s Daughter: The Hidden Story of America’s Prostituted Children and the Battle to Save Them, provides a comprehensive look at child-sex trafficking in the U.S. [snip]

“Johns get off with a little rap on the knuckles. Pimps are businessmen. They only put a 14-year-old girl on the streets because there’s some middle-class guy willing to pay for sex with a 14-year-old,” Sher said.

(emphasis added)

Concern over human trafficking in Washington state is not a partisan issue.  This was clear when members of the Senate Judiciary committee kept questions and comments about SB 5546 constructive during the February 11th public hearing of the bill and then voted unanimously to approve it in a subsequent meeting.  (Click on the picture to the right for video of the public hearing, which starts at time mark 22:20.)  Senate Judiciary committee member Senator Pam Roach, a radical-right conservative with anger issues, is particularly notorious for haranguing witnesses during legislative hearings.  That even she sat mute during the public hearing on a bill sponsored by her progressive committee colleague Senator Kohl-Welles speaks volumes to the sincerity with which Washington’s legislators regard the human trafficking problem.

Joe Fuiten

What an incongruent shock, then, to receive Pastor Joe Fuiten‘s February 24th e-mail titled Needed: A Consistent Stance on Teen Prostitution.  An Assemblies of God pastor from the Seattle suburb of Bothell, Fuiten is so consumed by anti-gay animus that he is willing to exploit the tragedy of sex slavery in Washington in a ridiculous attempt to vilify gays.  Fuiten’s e-mail features a guest column by Philip Irvin, a Seattle city employee with a history of harassing gays who has described himself as a conservative Christian, as someone who is not gay, and as “a Caucasian with no African-American blood“.

With a recent public forum on teenage prostitution and the ensuing media coverage there is a renewed impetus for many, including churches, to become involved in this issue. However, while we could and should devise various ways to help those enslaved in this dungeon, some perspective is called for to realize that this is not THE problem per se. Rather, teen prostitution is a consequence of the real problem which is Seattle’s unrestrained sexual appetite. We need to address this malignant source if we are to effect any lasting solution to teen prostitution.

…Below are just a few of many examples of how to reduce support for Seattle’s sexual appetite and thereby reduce the customer base for prostitution. As homosexuality is in the vanguard of proclaiming "sexual freedom" which results in acceptance of other sexual practices, most of the more flagrant abuses and thereby easiest targets-those on the cutting edge-relate to homosexuality.

Philip Irvin, quoted by Joe Fuiten

The rest of the e-mail is at the end of the post.

Reprehensible describes Fuiten’s exploitation of the real suffering of others as a vehicle to vilify gays.  Utterly laughable is his feeble attempt to implicate gays in a crime perpetrated largely by heterosexual men.  Dangerous and irresponsible may best describe a pastor who avoids holding accountable the middle-class heterosexual men who buy the bodies of young women.  Men of the same class, it seems likely, as those who worship at Fuiten’s church and live in Bothell’s comfortable neighborhoods.

Although Fuiten pretends to be concerned about human trafficking — specifically teenage prostitution — his real goal is clearly to smear gays by exploiting others’ tragedy.  Late in 2009 Fuiten exploited a different local tragedy in a similar cynical ploy.  He tried to link the advent of domestic partnerships to the murder of local police officers.

Sadly, what looks like a pattern of reprehensible behavior in one man may simply be a case study in the standard practice of Washington’s radical right.  Recall that prior to the 2010 fall elections Fuiten joined state Senator Val Stevens and others on the Washington radical right in using the fetus as a political football in a smear campaign aimed at each others favored gubernatorial candidates.

Below is a copy of Fuiten’s e-mail.  Note that although it appears to be part of his “Frankly Fuiten” series, as of this writing he has not posted it to the Frankly Fuiten web page.

Needed: A Consistent Stance

on Teen Prostitution

Needed: A Cultural-Moral Shift in Seattle

Guest Columnist

By PHILIP IRVIN

reply2philip@gmail.com

With a recent public forum on teenage prostitution and the ensuing media coverage there is a renewed impetus for many, including churches, to become involved in this issue. However, while we could and should devise various ways to help those enslaved in this dungeon, some perspective is called for to realize that this is not THE problem per se. Rather, teen prostitution is a consequence of the real problem which is Seattle’s unrestrained sexual appetite. We need to address this malignant source if we are to effect any lasting solution to teen prostitution.

As examples of the problem:

· If a man dates an adult woman and gives her a bottle of wine, box of chocolates and a theater ticket to have sex, Seattle not only celebrates his sexual freedom, it has enshrined it as a sacred civil right protected by law and enforced by a savage Office for Civil rights- funded by your taxes.  However, if another man pays the cash value of these “gifts” to have sex with an underage woman is it any wonder that he asks, “What’s the big deal?”  

· Seattle Municipal Code protects “a person’s attitudes, preferences, beliefs and practices pertaining [to sex]” with the same amount of force and in the same venues as it protects differential treatment and disparaging remarks on the basis of race. Civil rights protection of sexual actions in some venues (e.g. adverse comments by an employer or landlord) causes corresponding social protective sanctions in others. Due to our hostile Seattle sexual culture many pastors have even become reluctant to speak out on sexual purity-Seattle is more attached to freedom of sex than freedom of religion.

· In our public schools if a teenage girl wants to have myriad sexual partners, her wishes trump parental authority and the schools will give her contraceptives without parental knowledge or consent, ensure that she receives the inevitable cures for sexually transmitted diseases and will discretely drive her to have abortions as needed. The message is clear: Seattle embraces amateur teenage prostitution; we are only chagrined by the professional kind.

· I photographed a person in a professionally crafted costume at a festival. The costume had an incredibly cute face and winning smile. People lined up to be photographed next to it and it captured the atmosphere of the event. The costume was that of an erect penus with testicles and was at the Seattle Center as part of the Gay Pridefest. What message did this costume and event convey about sexual appetite?

Rather than merely focusing on helping individual  

victims of teen prostitution, we need a cultural

transformation to address this malignant source

such as that accomplished by William Wilberforce.

Wilberforce was a member of British Parliament from 1780-1825. When he became concerned about slavery he could have used his vast resources to purchase the freedom of thousands of slaves but he did not. Instead he spent his life and resources spearheading what is considered by many to be the greatest act of compassion in human history; the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire. When he took office Black slavery was almost universally accepted as the natural order of things but by the time he left office he and his compatriots had made slavery so odious that it could not long survive in the Empire. If we rescued ten teens from prostitution but did nothing to curb Seattle’s cravings, how many girls would be recruited to replace them merely to meet market demand?

Would we not be better focusing on a cultural shift to

reduce the demand rather just rescuing individuals?

In discussing this with other Christians I’ve heard the objection that,

“Only God can change people’s hearts!” If this is true, why does our pastor waste his time preaching a sermon to provide moral instruction if, as it is claimed, “Only God can change people’s hearts?” In reply I have been told that God can use a sermon to touch people’s hearts. If this then is true, is God so impotent that he cannot also use a law or policy change (such as the examples listed below) that not only provides moral instruction but also is reinforced by police power of enforcement and/or government approbation to touch people’s hearts?  

The Christianese phrase, “Only God can change  

people’s hearts” often means, “I refuse to  

consider the practical actions being proposed.”

I have also heard the mantra that it doesn’t do any good to change a person’s outward actions; that an inward change of heart is needed. This is only partially true. There is an inextricable two-way link between beliefs and actions. Your beliefs affect your actions but also your actions affect your beliefs. If you were bribed to be under the teaching of an engaging preacher you would absorb at least some of what he says. If, for whatever reason, you were exposed to a steady stream of pornography it would likewise influence your sexual values. Exposing individuals to either sermons or pornography will influence beliefs. Since there is a sharp contrast between what most Christians say they believe and what they actually believe as demonstrated by their actions, most want to emphasize the importance of stated beliefs rather than actions.

James 2:17 warns that “Faith without  

works is dead” because beliefs and actions  

are so inextricably intertwined.

When laws are made they are usually controversial otherwise they would have been passed earlier. But once passed they are generally accepted and serve as a moral guide to most people and this guidepost changes people’s hearts. While we would like to convince ourselves that all of our own personal values have been carefully considered before being ingested, in truth most values are indiscriminately absorbed. If we believe that Biblical values produce the greatest good for society is there any reason we should not aggressively advocate using Biblical values as the basis of our culture?

Can we really claim to be loving if we do otherwise?

Below are just a few of many examples of how to reduce support for Seattle’s sexual appetite and thereby reduce the customer base for prostitution. As homosexuality is in the vanguard of proclaiming “sexual freedom” which results in acceptance of other sexual practices, most of the more flagrant abuses and thereby easiest targets-those on the cutting edge-relate to homosexuality:

· End City support of Pridefest.

Just because Pridefest is now held at the Seattle Center on City property does not mean it has to stay that way. The City could deal with this the same way it dealt with private firearms. While the Second Amendment would seem to afford some protection for gun ownership, about twenty years ago the Seattle City Council banned the use of Seattle facilities, such as the Seattle Center, for gun shows. It recently defied state law and banned guns in parks, again including the Seattle Center. Would it be unreasonable to ask them to ban the use of these same facilities for events that promoted “sexual freedom” as equally unwholesome? As a first step we could merely ask that Pridefest pay normal rent for the Seattle Center rather than be given it rent-free as a recognized, “community event.”

· Oppose City financial support of “gay tourism.”

In 2009 Seattle’s Office of Economic Development awarded a $15,000 grant to promote “gay tourism.” The jingle used was “Travel Gay Seattle – Where OUT is IN.” Why not pursue a detailed accounting of how this money was spent? We could report our findings along with our recommendations to City leaders when or if similar grants were under consideration. This would at least explore whether part of their definition of “tourism” is not just a euphemism for something considerably more sleazy.

· Return sexual morality to the public schools.

If an employer distributed condoms to employees so they could have “safe sex” with each other he would be pummeled with litigation for creating a hostile work environment. Shouldn’t we defend our kids from a similar hostile school environment? Is there any reason we should not seek to influence the sexual values presented and taught in school? Why not advocate having current or former teen prostitutes tell their story in schools to provide a warning of what actions and environments to avoid as well as the dire consequences of failing to heed their warning?

· End a sexual commission.

Seattle boasts a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Commission. I will not bore you with its source of funding. Isn’t it time to ask whether there is any justification in continuing this commission or should we expect that, a hundred years from now, it will still be around finding more societal barriers to kick down? Alternatively should we not ask, with a straight face, for the creation of a commission to encourage sexual restraint?

There should be little disagreement that helping teen

prostitutes escape their chains is a Biblical admonition.

But, in dealing with this issue, we have two options before us:

(1) While working with these victims we can also work to bring a Christian influence and curb Seattle’s sexual appetite, or …

(2) … alternatively, we can embrace and encourage our culture to remain away from Christ by being content to only work on cleaning up its messes.

Reigning in Seattle’s unrestrained sexual

appetite is the only way to make a long-term

reduction in teen prostitution.



Dr. Joseph B. Fuiten is the senior pastor of Cedar Park Church in Bothell, Washington, and he is the former president of Washington Evangelicals for Responsible Government and the Positive Christian Agenda. Currently, Pastor Fuiten is a founding member of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, an associate organization of Focus on the Family.

Related:

* “Family” group sacrifices child security on the altar of anti-gay animus

* Joe Fuiten links domestic partnerships and marriage equality to the murder of police officers

* Washington state's radical-right uses the fetus as a political football