How Some Family Values, Republican, Christian, Complementarian Men Understand Ephesians 5:22
I’m going to cite the news story from a few different sources, then give some commentary below it, where I explain how this ties in with Christian gender complementarianism, and why it is problematic for complementarians.
The News Story
Ralph Shortey, a former Oklahoma state senator and county campaign coordinator for President Donald Trump’s campaign last year, will plead guilty to a child sex trafficking charge after being accused of soliciting sex from a 17-year-old boy in March.
Shortey is married and has four children.
…He was later charged in federal court with two counts of child pornography, production of child pornography and child sex trafficking.
Police then searched the teen’s tablet, where they found sexually explicit exchanges in which Shortey referred to the teen as “baby boy” and offered to pay him in exchange for “sexual stuff.” Police also reportedly found lotion and an open box of condoms in the room.
…The two-term former Oklahoma Republican state senator was first elected in 2010 on a “family values” conservative platform.
On Monday, Moore, OK police released body cam footage from a 2017 encounter with former state Senator Ralph Shortey and officers who were performing a welfare check at a motel where Shortey had rented a room along with a 17-year-old boy. Shortey greeted the cops in a T-shirt quoting Ephesians 5:22:
Oh, it gets worse. Under the Ephesians 5:22 quote [on Shortey’s shirt] it says, “now go make me a sandwich”…
(visit their web page to see the remainder of the Tweets)
A few other sources on the story:
In this news source, you can also view a screen cap from the cam footage, showing Shortey wearing the t-shirt with the sandwich drawing on it, as well as the Ephesians Bible verse, and the “Go make me a sandwich” text under the drawing:
MOORE, Okla. (KOKH) —
Newly released body camera footage shows the moments a former Oklahoma State Senator was found in a motel room with an underage male.
Ralph Shortey pleaded guilty last week to a federal charge of child sex trafficking. Video released Dec. 4 shows the former two-term Republican being questioned by police March 9 inside a Super 8 motel along I-35 in Moore.
Officer: “He’s 17”
Officer: “What do you, mean okay?”
Shortey: “I didn’t know that.”
Shortey can be seen in the video wearing a shirt referencing the Bible scripture Ephesians 5:22, which refers to wives submitting to their husbands.
…Court records show on March 9 Moore police made contact with Shortey at the Super 8 Hotel on N. I-35 Service Road. Shortey was inside the hotel room alone with a 17-year-old male.
Officers smelled a strong odor of marijuana in the room and found a container with a small amount of the drug inside. Police also found an open box of condoms and a bottle of lotion in Shortey’s backpack inside the room.
…Shortey entered a guilty plea in exchange for federal prosecutors dropping three child pornography counts against him. During the plea, Shortey admitted to knowing the boy was 17.
Shortey faces up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine for child sex trafficking.
My Comments About This Story
Complementarians always want to distance themselves from the practical outworkings and ramifications of their gender role doctrine (which is really nothing but Christian- endorsed sexism).
No matter all the articles and blog posts out there that show how some men can and will use complementarian interpretations of the Bible and the doctrine of “male headship” to abuse and control their wives, we see another, less severe example of the sort in this news story of Shortey in his Ephesians 5:22 t-shirt of
- men who are attracted to this sort of belief set,
- men who choose to interpret the Bible through a sexist lens, or,
- maybe, complementariansm is producing such sexism in men.
Do I really have to pause here to say “Not All Men?”
Probably, so here it is: I’m not saying all (ALL) complementarian men or women are sexist – some may not be – but the doctrine itself is sexist, and it does seem to attract a lot of sexists and produce sexism in some people.
Jesus of Nazareth said a good tree will produce good fruit, but I see complementarianism producing bad fruit – fruit that hurts girls and women.
Complementarianism is certainly not doing anything to fight against sexism, sexist attitudes, or domestic violence, but helps to bolster those things. I think it actually provides the groundwork, to provide men who seek one, a rationale or justification for controlling or abusing women.
One cannot really even count on complementarians to consistently and forcefully speak out against domestic violence.
Rather, complementarians, when they aren’t foaming at the mouth against secular, liberal feminism, warn their followers from reading books about the topic that critique complementarian views in the process.
Further, some complementarians, on one hand, will write posts raising alarm about domestic abuse (which is commendable), but later uphold garbage thinking that helps to promote or under-gird domestic violence, such as the complementarian “husbands, in a marriage, get the final tie breaker vote” view.
COMPLEMENTARIANS TO WOMEN:
YOU’RE EQUAL IN VALUE BUT…
IN THE END, YOU’RE ONLY GOOD FOR FOLLOWING MEN’S ORDERS AND FOR MAKING SANDWICHES
Complementarians swear up and down that they believe in and are committed to the belief that women are equal in worth to men.
But they really do not believe that and are not truly committed to that. Oh, some of them probably think they believe, but they don’t.
Complementarians like to repeat and reassure all that they do not consider their “wives should submit to husbands” or “women should not preach or have authority” variety of teachings sexist or disrespectful to women.
(That complementarians have to keep reminding us or trying to convince us otherwise is another clue. If their teachings were not sexist or were actually supportive of women, it would be pretty self-evident.)
However, here we have a conservative “family values” man, Ralph Shortey, wearing a t-shirt bearing Ephesians 5: 22 on it, which is one of the most favorite clobber verses that complementarians like to use, with a drawing of a sandwich under it, with the sexist text, “Go make me a sandwich” accompanying it.
Complementarians sometimes will try to put a “positive spin” on passages such as Ephesians 5:22, (or a positive spin on their interpretation of that verse), by telling Christian women that should a husband be loving and sweet in his “male headship” rule, that no woman would mind submitting to such a man
Why submitting to such a man would be a delight, ladies!, they try to persuade.
Some complementarians would probably want to argue that the “sandwich” t-shirt, which is undeniably sexist, is not representative of their position. They really love the old “no true complementarian” chest-nut.
Complementarians refuse to see how their teachings can be viewed as sexist or twisted, or appropriated, by sexist or abusive men.
There is most certainly a link between teaching supposedly God-sanctioned sexism, constantly telling women in front of men, that God created women to submit to men, and…
A man (I refer you to “family values” Ralph Shortey) who thinks it’s perfectly fine and acceptable, or even amusing, to wear a t-shirt with a drawing of a sandwich, the text from the New Testament Ephesians 5:22 verse, and more text instructing women, “Now go make me a sandwich.”
Whether complementarians want to admit to cause or correlation with their gender teachings in relation to sexism or domestic violence, it exists: their teachings about men, women, and marriage are sexist and do contribute to a sexist culture.
In addition, sexist men sure do find complementarianism appealing (another clue – they need to ask themselves why so many sexist men are attracted to complementarianism).
All you need to do is take a look at a Republican, conservative, purportedly family values politician, wearing an “Ephesians 5: 22, Make Me A Sandwich” t-shirt to be able to connect those dots.
Why isn’t this Shortey guy wearing an Ephesians 5: 22 shirt that says something on it such as, “And I will lay down my life for my wife,” or, “Women are Equal In Value to Men”?
No. This guy choose to wear a shirt, and someone, some designer, chose to make an Ephesians 5: 22 shirt, which communicates to them that Ephesians 5:22 boils down to women were designed by God to act as slaves or butlers to men. That is how that verse is read by the common man.
Not that women are equal in worth and dignity to men, but that women are only good for making men sandwiches. Please do try to explain that one to me, complementarians.
Complementarians: if your message of women being equal in value to men is being lost in sexist tripe about women making sandwiches for men, there is clearly something wrong with your message, your marketing of it, and with the interpretation of such passages itself.