Sermons and violence

This post is about pastors’ responsibility in perpetuating violence against women.

It is Saturday morning and pastors across America are mentally rehearsing their sermons for Sunday morning. What is your pastor rehearsing? A Thanksgiving message this week most likely. We have much to be thankful for and it is good that one day a year we thank God for our blessings.

Thanksgiving is an American and Canadian holiday, and Thursday most of the world will not sit down to a feast with family and friends.

Many women and girls will not be able to sit down at all because their bodies have been abused, mutilated, or they are dead by the hand of some male family member or friend.

It is these women I want to talk about today.

It is the part your pastor plays in perpetuating this violence against women in America and abroad.

It is obvious, but it must be said anyway: Whenever women are told that they must submit to their husbands, then it is up to the husband to decide just how far she must submit. No church can limit him because they endued him with that power. Male headship means male rule. Whatever he rules, she must do – or be in violation of the Bible, or so they are lead to believe.

Ephesians 5 addresses physical abuse against women, but pastors will not admit that. In the society of 2000 ago, these women were being abused by their husbands who believed they had the right to do so. The letter from Paul was that they were to love their wives and to treat their wives like they would treat their own bodies. Don’t withhold food, clothing or protection from your wife. You would not hit yourself, so don’t beat her up. Wives, stay with your husbands because they are now Christians, and I am telling them to treat you better.

We teach our women that they must submit because the Bible says so. Then we take that message to mission fields all across the world. Submit to your husbands. The bible says so. We enslave them all over again. Instead of the words of freedom through Jesus Christ, we give them bondage to a culture that sees women only as sex and use objects. And we are not far from that culture ourselves.

Sex trafficking is a big ‘cause’ in American churches right now. That is like spraying water on a weed to kill it. The real reason sex trafficking is proliferating is attitudes against women. Women have always been devalued, and Religion has not stepped up and valued women. They can’t when they deny women full equality. So they make noises and send money and teach that women are to submit.

The World Health Organization says that 30% of all women have been abused. That is one in every three women you see. In some countries it is 70%.

The WHO says that risk factors for both intimate partner and sexual violence include: attitudes that are accepting of violence and gender inequality (perpetration and experience).

WHO goes on to say that to achieve lasting change, it is important to enact legislation and develop policies that: promote gender equality.

Except that it does not work to enact legislation to promote gender equality. The reason is that legislation has already been enacted by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which EXCLUDED churches from having to treat people decently and fairly.

So listen to your pastor Sunday morning. Plan your Thanksgiving dinner. But if you are one of the three women who cannot sit down to dinner, or who cannot eat because of a sore jaw, it is time to do something. Contact your local women’s shelter, go to the authorities, or to your family. Tell your pastor. Make him think this Thanksgiving that he needs to speak out for women, instead of spending time speaking against women.

About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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