And After I Post This, I’ll Pray the “Our Father” and Go Beat My Wife and Daughters

I’ve been home sick all weekend. And crap like the following just makes me crankier.

The Church of England continues to make itself a laughingtock:

MISGUIDED and distorted versions of Christian belief have contributed to domestic abuse in Britain, says the Church of England. And the Church itself has not done enough to protect victims.

The report, which has been backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, says that domestic abuse is as “prevalent among Christians” as among other groups and identifies problem areas in Christian tradition.

It warns clergy that the bride’s traditional marriage vow to “obey” her husband could be used to justify domestic violence as could referring to God as “He” and “Lord”.

Bad theology, such as using the Virgin Mary “to reinforce norms of female passivity and obedience”, has even been used to convince victims to forgive their abusers and not take action against them. . . .

One serious example, the report notes, is how the theology of self-denial and redemptive suffering in the Crucifixion of Jesus has “undermined people’s recognition of the evils being done to them and implanted masochistic attitudes of acceptance, or even celebration, of their afflictions”.

One would like to know of the statistical, objective measurements the committee used to establish such a direct correlation between use of the masculine pronoun to refer to God and wife-beating.

Oh, sorry. That would be expecting too much. We already know traditional theology is bad for you. What do we need with objective measurements?

[H/T: to some unforgotten blog or probably the Webelves.]

5 thoughts on “And After I Post This, I’ll Pray the “Our Father” and Go Beat My Wife and Daughters

  1. I understand your frustration, Cliff, and I agree that the kind of exploitative understanding of traditonal doctrine and practice sounds patently ridiculous.

    But I’m sorry to say it happens. Really. I have truly, honestly met people who believe this way. Who hold that promising to obey, and the biblical injunction “wives, be subject to your husbands,” means a man is entitled to “discipline” his wife in his role as “head of the household.”

    There are those who do indeed misuse the Word in that way. It is ridiclous, and sick, and sad, and wrong… but there it is.

  2. I would just like to point out that people who misuse the Word to abuse women are no different than people of other religions, as well as atheists and agnostics. Men abusing women is a problem of humanity that is not exclusive to one people group or faith. Maybe they don’t use the Bible as their excuse, but it happens nonetheless.

    Of course, many people will latch on to this so called report as further evidence of why Christians are crazy, dangerous, not to be believed/trusted, etc. However, I think this “pressing” of people of faith is a good thing…in that when the people of God are pressed/persecuted and respond Biblically, then God is glorified.

  3. I get it that evil actions are justified by the people that do them with sacred things–in this case, the use of violence against women.

    However, what I object to–and which this report does not in any way substantiate–is the attribution of blame to “bad theology” which in this article is equated with traditional Christian teaching.

    In other words, this article says wife-beating is caused by bad theology and bad theology is traditional theology.

    That is a crock of crap. There is absolute no direct connection with the Faith once for all delivered to the saints–including the use of masculine pronouns for God–and violence against women.

    The Church of England should be ashamed of itself for so denigrating the Faith by this report. But it seems par for the course: let’s blame all our current sociological problems on traditional Christianity.

    How about let’s blame all our current sociological problems on the fact that humans behave in sinful ways. Leave the Church out of it.

    Crock o’ crap. That’s all I’ve got to say.

  4. Okay, Cliff. I understand some of the things here that are pushing your buttons– and you know that, at least sometimes, I agree with you. But let’s look at this a minute.

    “Over the centuries questionable assumptions about the relation between men and women, which were supposed to reflect the will of God, have influenced the Church’s interpretation of the Bible, its moral teaching and pastoral practice,” the report says.

    “It is a tragic fact that bad theology, in this case a faulty understanding of God and human beings in relationship, can have the effect — whether intended or not — of betraying victims of domestic abuse and encouraging the actions of perpetrators.”

    Neither of these quoted statements are, as I read them, a condemnation of “traditional Christianity.” Rather, they are acknowledgement that not all the teachings ever promulgated in the name of the Church have been good theology– that some have in fact been harmful. This is true. It is due, as you clearly point out, to the fact that humans behave in sinful ways; and humans in the church are no exception to that.

    However, I’d like to note that the first statements in the article, the ones which seem most inflammatory, are not direct quotes from the report. They are summaries– interpretations made by the writer in her reading of the article. I would really like to see what the report itself actually says, before I go off on a wholesale condemnation of the Church of England or its leadership.

  5. I think it was Fr. John Whiteford who asks people this question: Which two cultures have no gender in their language? A: Turkish and Chinese. Two cultures not known for “egalitarianism”. “Inclusive language” alone a safe environment for women does not make.
    The problem is not theology (objectively), it is fallen human beings who subjectively use anything handy to justify their sins up to and including God.

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