Or rather, heartbreak online.
In yesterday’s London Evening Standard there was a ‘news’ item about a guy who is setting up a dating website…specifically for people looking to have extra-marital affairs. Apparently he already has this site running in nine countries, and is now making it available to Londoners.
I won’t link to it, because the article is pretty graphic in places, and totally gut-wrenching.
The journalist writing the article does, thankfully, make the point that he knows from bitter experience that having an affair is a really bad idea and, oddly enough, won’t make your problems go away, but simply add to them, but the (married) owner of the site is totally blase about it.
He takes the line that ‘people are going to have affairs anyway, why not just make it easier for them? I’m not responsible for their infidelity, just making an honest buck out of meeting a demand.’
That’s not a direct quote, though this is: “You can’t blame the bookie for the guy who blows his pay cheque” .
I’m not pretending this is anything new, it’s just the technology that is, but it’s a great reminder to pray for the broken lives and hearts in our cities, towns and villages, and to pray for Godly editors in our newspapers who will no longer allow ‘services’ like this to get free advertising to millions of people, and Godly journalists who will refuse to write the stories in the first place.
The deeper point, though is that many people, while they may feel that affairs are wrong, will agree with the site-owner that there is nothing immoral in him simply providing the means for people to do what they were inclined to do anyway. Their actions may be wrong, but are his, as facilitator?
When is an action so wrong that one who aids it is equally (or at least significantly) culpable? In law there is the crime of ‘accessory to’ or ‘accessory after the fact’, meaning that a person can be prosecuted for actions which may not have directly caused the harm, but which they committed knowing the harm would result, or that it would go undetected as a result.
It is not, of course, a crime to commit adultery, but most people would agree that it was not a morally upright course of action. So is this man’s website morally acceptable? What do you think of his example of the bookie?
And what should we as Christians, even as responsible citizens do? How do we respond? Obviously in prayer, but is there anything practical we can do to change the perceptions that allow such ‘services’ to go unchallenged?