When I woke up this morning John sent me an email. He asked me about Ravi Zacharias’s son Nathan defending his dad’s Spa business. So, in this episode, let us look into this matter. If you go to Nathan’s website, www.defendingravi.com, you will see his post titled, Not a Massage Parlor. He wrote these words,
One of the (many) ways that bloggers and media have intentionally spun details in a dishonest and negative way is in regards to the spa Dad helped start. They keep referring to it as a massage parlor. That is not at all what Jivan/Touch of Eden was. (It was one place, not two. They changed the name at one point.) Massage parlors are basically fronts for sexual behavior. That is really the only context in which that term is used now. Jivan/Eden was not a massage parlor. What’s interesting about people insisting about using the term massage parlor, is that they’re the same people who say they are championing women and declaring these sources of the story as victims. But by calling it a massage parlor they’re implicating these same women as essentially sex workers who would have regularly provided illegal services to clients of Jivan. That is what massage parlors do. So they can’t have it both ways in the way they frame this.
Nathan says, it is not right to call Ravi’s spas as massage parlors. Who cares about the names? The issue is not the names. We are not disturbed by the names of these places. Whether it is called a ‘massage parlor’ or ‘spa’ or ‘relaxation center’ or even a ‘bar’, that is not what troubled people. People were disturbed by what happened inside these places. Ravi started a massage parlor. If that is all to the story, not many people would have criticized Ravi. The allegations were that Ravi inappropriately touched the women who were working in these spas. That is what troubled people.
Nathan says that ‘massage parlor’ is for sexual activities. He is right. Once upon a time, you go to a massage center, and you only get a massage and nothing else. Then things started to change. Massage centers opened up in Chinatowns. Asian prostitutes from China, Japan, Korea, Philippines and Taiwan etc are housed in these parlors. They start with massage and end with sexual activities. Massage parlor owners in America have business contracts with travel agents in the Philippines, South Korea, India and Taiwan. The travel agents provide the women with visas and air tickets and a $10000 as a bonus for signing a contract to work for one year in the United States. Then the women come to America with a tourist visa that enables them to stay for six months, then they extend the visa for another six months. After they arrive in America, the massage parlor manager takes away their travel documents and keeps them in his security locker. So, those women become helpless. The Chinese gangs in big cities provide protection to the massage parlors. I lived in New York City for a while. Some massage parlors in New York City are owned by Chinese gang leaders. So, poor women in developing nations are targeted, trafficked to America, and exploited in these massage parlors. So, when you visit one of their spas, even if she smiles at you, that is only superficial, she might be going through a lot of pain in her heart and helplessness in her situation.
Then Nathan says, if you call these places massage parlors, then you are turning these women into essential sex workers. You can’t have it both ways. Why not? Even if we turn these women into essential sex workers, it is still abuse, scripturally and legally.
Scripturally, any sex outside the marriage is abuse. Even if she is a prostitute who is paid in lump sum, who smiles at you and adores you, that is still abuse, because you took a person created in the image of God and used her for your lust.
Then from a legal dimension, it is an employer-employee relationship. Ravi was their employer. Even if she were a sex worker, Ravi was not supposed to touch her. He was her employer. The women complained that Ravi touched them without their consent. Whether they were sex workers or nuns like Mother Teresa is irrelevant to the discussion.
Then Nathan says,
“Dad included some big names at the opening of the business, and encouraged them to visit the spa. The Mayor of the city and Governor of Georgia spoke at the grand opening. Do you think Dad would include them – and do you think they would come – if the business appeared to be suspicious in any way? He wouldn’t, and they wouldn’t.”
This is another illogical argument. The Mayor of the city and the Governor of Georgia came and spoke at the grand opening. They will be terrified if they read Nathan’s blog. Why are you dragging us into this mess?
Right now, we are living in the age of leadership crisis. Mayors, Governors, and Presidents.. gone are the days when they are seen as paragons of virtue. In fact, if you invite them to your business, people get suspicious of what coverups you might be planning. If the Mayor is your friend, the local police would not bother you. If the Governor is your friend, the district attorney would not bother you. If the President is your friend, the FBI would not bother you. Jeffrey Epstein was friends with the New York mayor, Governor and President of the United States. Harvey Weistein was friends with the governors. Bill Cosby was friends with the governors. Governors like Andrew Cuomo were themselves abusing women. So, your friendships with governors do not prove your innocence.
So, sadly, Nathan has been giving us poor arguments. If he wants to prove that Ravi was innocent, he should provide us with more robust arguments and evidence. This is not enough. I said in one of my previous days that Ravi should be provided legal defense like any defendant. So far, I am not seeing any attorney representing him while he is facing allegations.