‘Submit to Your Husbands’: Women Told To Endure Domestic Violence In The Name of God (via ABC Aussie news)
The article in question:
‘Submit to your husbands’: Women told to endure domestic violence in the name of God by Julia Baird, Hayley Gleeson, via Aussie ABC news
My introductory comments:
Complementarians like to insist that their gender theology has nothing to do with domestic violence, but funny, isn’t it, how so many Christian wives who divorced their abusive Christian husbands remark how their husband would sometimes cite male headship or “wife submit” type Bible verses or complementarian concepts to justify their abuse?
I think it’s very deceitful for complementarians, on the one hand, to prop up this view that says it’s God’s (God’s! – talk about taking God’s name in vein) design for a husband to be in a boss-like or deity-like position of authority over a wife, but then feign ignorance at being able to connect the dots at seeing how such a sexist view could of course be used and misused by a husband to abuse his wife physically, emotionally, financially, or by some other means.
Most of the complementarian husbands who are not abusing their wives are not living out complementarianism proper, or taking to its logical conclusions or abusing its inherent unfairness to women, but are living out egalitarian marriages in practice (their marriages are complementarian in name only, which even complementarian Russell Moore pretty much recognized).
For complementarians who like to proclaim the “no true complementarian” fallacy (“no true complementarian husband would ever abuse his wife”), especially in regards to the correlation between domestic violence and complementarianism, I point you to this page on another blog:
For those complementarians who like to say complementarianism properly carried out and practiced is acceptable and not violent or sexist, I point you to this post on my blog:
Here again is a link to the Aussie ABC news article, with portions of the article reproduced below (in my view, all of this, or about all of this, is applicable to American complementarianism and American Christianity):
‘Submit to your husbands’: Women told to endure domestic violence in the name of God by Julia Baird, Hayley Gleeson
Research shows that the men most likely to abuse their wives are evangelical Christians who attend church sporadically. Church leaders in Australia say they abhor abuse of any kind. But advocates say the church is not just failing to sufficiently address domestic violence, it is both enabling and concealing it.
….”Your problem is you won’t obey me. The Bible says you must obey me and you refuse,” he [Peter] yelled [at his wife Sally]. “You are a failure as a wife, as a Christian, as a mother. You are an insubordinate piece of s**t.”
Sally, an executive assistant who had just turned 44, stared at him, worrying about whether her neighbours — or her sleeping daughter — could hear his roars through the thin walls.
…Peter then opened his Bible and read out some verses:
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Saviour.”
Ephesians 5: 22-23
“Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness I permit no woman to teach or have authority over a man; rather, she is to remain silent.”
1 Timothy 2: 11-12
For years, Sally had believed that God wanted her to submit to her husband, and she did her best, bending to his will and working to pay the bills, despite the pain she was in.
But on this night, she was done. The next morning, she packed up her bags, grabbed some clothes for her daughter and left, taking the little girl with her.
She left everything else behind.
…As theology professor Steven Tracy wrote in 2008:
It is widely accepted by abuse experts (and validated by numerous studies) that evangelical men who sporadically attend church are more likely than men of any other religious group (and more likely than secular men) to assault their wives.”
…Some attribute these findings to the conservative denominations and churches that preach and model male control, with male-only priesthoods and inviolate teachings on male authority.
…The abuse of the Bible
…Unlike the Koran, there are no verses in the Bible that may be read as overtly condoning domestic abuse.
To the contrary, it is made clear that God hates violence and relationships must be driven by selflessness, grace and love.
…But church counsellors and survivors of family violence report that many abusive men, like Sally’s husband, rely on twisted — or literalist — interpretation of Bible verses to excuse their abuse.
…Abusive men commonly refer to several different parts of the Bible.
First are the verses — cited by Sally’s husband Peter, above — telling women to submit to their husbands and male authority, under the doctrine known as male headship.
Second are verses that say God hates divorce.
And third are those in 1 Peter that tell women to submit to husbands in a very particular way, as they follow instructions to slaves to submit to even “harsh masters”.
But Denis Fitzgerald, executive director at Catholic Social Services Victoria, says it is crucial for the Bible to be read in light of the culture it was produced in.
“Biblical literalism is not an acceptable approach and part of the teaching role with the bishops is to help the priests and the people to see that texts can’t be taken out of context — you have to look at the broader intent and message of the scriptures,” he says.
….The doctrine of male headship: What does it mean?
The doctrine that is most commonly, and controversially cited by abusers is male headship, where a husband is to be the head of the wife in marriage and the wife is to submit, and men are to be head of the church.
What submission means takes many different forms. At its extreme edge, it is complete subservience.
…Time and again in evangelical literature, marital success is predicated on female submission; it is the basis on which women are judged or praised.
…Male headship ‘providing the wiring’ for abuse
Today, a growing number of counsellors, psychologists and welfare workers are reporting that abusers cite the idea of male headship to sanction violence.
(please click here to read the entire page)
It’s an excellent report, and I would encourage you to click through to read the whole page. It’s quite long, but I feel worth the read.
Churches – not just in Australia, but here in the United States – have utterly failed women who are in abusive marriages. Complementarianism and Complementarians above all have failed women in abusive marriages and are responsible for putting them there in the first place and teaching them it’s God’s design and God’s will for them to stay and endure unloving or hellish marriages.