11 June 2015

The dangers of Christianity, in 8 easy steps!: the first part of so much wrong

Here's the thing. I try to be very open-minded about people and events and situations. I know there's (usually) more to a story than what I find out, so I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. But there is a lot of stuff on the Interwebz that makes me shake my head at Christianity. (For example, I read this today.)

People's small, closed-minded, unjustified opinions and ranting and damaging ideas about life, the universe, and everything.

People hating and wanting to kill other people because they are different or act differently or think differently or whatever else they figure out based on their misinterpretations of a mistranslated book that may as well be The Hunger Games.

But a little less than two weeks ago, I read something that I just couldn't ignore. I came upon a blog post titled "8 steps to confront you wife's sexual refusal."


I got angrier and angrier as I read it. I kept going over it, rereading passages, jotting notes on a scrap of paper. I ended up printing it out so I could make notes in the margins. So I decided it was worth exploring here on the blog.

But there's so much wrong with this post that I don't really know where to begin. So I decided for this post, at least, all I'm going to address is the first part of the introductory section (which includes a disclaimer in large font because, yanno, the lib-rals). And we'll see how it goes.

So the first thing I want to mention about this blog post is that it comes from a site called Biblical Gender Roles. So the entire basis of the content is on the patriarchal worldview of the Bible as the "right" and "natural" order of things. That is, if a wife submits to her husband in, well, everything, the marriage will be happy because the Bible. But we're going to set aside that little nugget for the purposes of this post. I want to discuss the specific content of the specific blog post. Because even in the first part of the introductory section of this post, there's just so much I want to talk about.

So. Here we go.

The first thing I want to discuss is the circumstances addressed for a husband confronting his wife. The blogger says (emphasis mine):
Christian Husbands - let me be crystal clear here. The situation I am addressing in this post is not your wife occasionally turning you down for sex (even with a bad attitude, as opposed to for health or other legitimate reasons). What I am addressing here is the wife who consistently and routinely denies her husband sexually simply because she does not need sex as much or she thinks she should not have to do it except when she is in the mood or she thinks her husband should have to earn sex with her by "putting her in the mood" by doing various things she expects or likes.
Again. So much wrong.

The goal of this paragraph is to give good, Christian husbands a context for confronting their wives. To make it fair, I guess? And what the author blogger this person says is that it's okay for a woman to deny her husband sex for legitimate reasons. Like health. But the post never really explains what constitutes a legitimate reason.

Most reasonable people would say that not being in the mood is a perfectly legitimate reason. I don't want to. I'm a person. I don't have to. The end.

But in this post's worldview of marriage, that's just not good enough. Not only should a wife not expect her husband to "put her in the mood," but "not being in the mood" is not an "excuse" for getting out of her marital obligations.

Because the Bible. Please note that there are no Biblical references yet. Those come a bit later when the post attempts to refute a perceived objection to this perspective.

I don't think I have to tell you that this perspective of a relationship between a man and a woman is dangerous. Essentially, this blog post says, "You're a wife. You can't say no unless you're sick or actually giving birth right this minute."

Essentially, this view of a marriage creates an environment in which a wife feels obligated to have sex with her husband because of what he does for her (providing food, shelter, money, etc.), which is addressed later in the post and at length. Sorry, but that's rape culture.

Of course, the post includes a disclaimer, which is in a large font in the post. It says (emphasis mine):
I have not, nor would I EVER advocate for a husband to force himself physically upon his wife or to physically abuse her in any fashion. The issue being discussed is how a husband can confront a wife who chronically or willfully denies his sexual rights in marriage without just cause (be it legitimate health or mental conditions). He has the right, both under Biblical law, as well as under American law, to reason with his wife and try to convince her to willingly (even if grudgingly) yield herself to him, and thereby fulfilling one [of] her most important duties in Christian marriage.
Did you spot the conflict? I highlighted it.

Coercion is not consent. Coercion is not consent. Because, if we're going to bring American law into it, the legal definition of consent, under American law, is (emphasis mine):
"[...A] freely given agreement to the conduct at issue by a competent person. An expression of lack of consent through words or conduct means there is no consent. Lack of verbal or physical resistance or submission resulting from the use of force, threat of force, or placing another person in fear does not constitute consent. [...] Lack of consent may be inferred based on the circumstances of the offense. All the surrounding circumstances are to be considered in determining whether a person gave consent, or whether a person did not resist or ceased to resist only because of another person's actions.
So when this blog post says husbands should try to "reason with" their wives to convince them to have sex when they've said no, the blog post is advocating and encouraging rape culture.

The blog post says:
A husband ought not to feel guilty for having sex with his wife when she is not in the mood if she yields, even grudgingly.
This not only advocates marital rape, but tells husbands that it's allowed, expected, and part of marriage. Because, according to the blog post:
A wife cannot flatly refuse her husband, she may only ask for a delay (a raincheck) and then she needs to make good on that raincheck as soon as possible. 
A husband has the right to confront his wife's sexual refusal as a sin not only against him, but also against God.
That's right, folks. Not only is a wife not allowed to say no to her husband, but if she does, she's not a good Christian.

There are people who say Christianity is ridiculous, but harmless, and the people who believe are misguided, but don't hurt others.

That's just not true.

When you believe in a teaching that not only breaks the spirits of its followers but teaches that rape is Biblical, there's a problem.

So, so much wrong.

The next section of the introduction (which I'll address in a few days) talks about how the advice requires courage and "tough love." It even compares sexual refusal to infidelity, so there's that to look forward to!

I'll be back tomorrow, but I have to stop now and go bleach my brain.

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