Sunday, September 20, 2009

Why Doesn't The Church Talk About Domestic Abuse?

(Susan is out until next week and in her absence we will be posting some interesting articles from around the world wide web. For scheduling an event, workshop or lecture for Susan Murphy Milano please send your request to
Her radio show will resume at 4: 00 PM EST on October 7, 2009)

From : following a high profile murder that followed a high profile history of domestic abuse:

The news reports of the recent death of Amanda Ross, allege that she was a victim of domestic violence. Based on statistics, it is likely domestic violence is happening across all faith communities in Kentucky. (According to the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association, in 2007, over 4,000 Kentuckians were in shelters, including 2,313 women and 1,760 children.) Are faith communities adequately addressing the problem?

1. It’s an issue where women and children are the victims of men’s sins (primarily), so it’s an uphill battle right there.

2. Scripture deals with “love your wife as Christ loves the church,” and the application is obvious, but none of Paul’s sin lists or our favorite parables or stories contain a guy who slaps around his girlfriend or a man who beats his wife when he’s drunk.

3. What’s the payoff for the average pastor who brings this up? Counseling women and hearing embarrassing secrets. And then….divorces. We all know how evangelicals feel about those….or, at least most of them

4. Never has the church’s need to develop its own counseling resources with women specializing in helping women been more obvious.

5. Deal with this much, and someone in your church is either going to jail, or to a lawyer. Families will point fingers, phones will ring, emails will be sent and it will all be your fault.

6. You can be sure it’s going to hit very close to home. Maybe too close for a lot of church leaders. Lots of people are going to be wrong. Lots of people are going to be guilty and lots of people are going to admit some scary things. Who wants to go there?

7. Plenty of women and men prefer to hear about how submission will get you through any marriage problem, and they need for that to be right. It’s what they have been told and what they are telling other women. If someone says I’m leaving a man who is hitting me, then a whole lot of problems occur for some people’s version of submission. (I do not believe that is necessary, btw. I think that is a wrong emphasis on submission and a right emphasis is what’s needed. Mutual love in Christ.)

8. You have to talk about emotional abuse, and now the circle just got very, very, very wide. Are you sure you want the women talking about that one? Pastor? Pastor? Hello?

9. Sexual abuse? Religious abuse? Financial abuse? A lot of roads, all with similar dynamics. Let’s just say we don’t want feminists and liberals starting trouble. IOWs, Who are we empowering with this discussion? Uh-huh.

10. And, as everyone knows, we don’t have those kinds of problems. We’re Christians.

A big salute to those churches and pastors who are on the front lines and involved in this issue. They are real warriors for compassion, justice and reconciliation.


vawnews said...

The church doesn't address abuse because it is based on and operating on sexist principles. Period.

I found this on an article yesterday about the abortion protester that was recently killed:

Posted by jacobsmith
September 18, 2009, 11:12AM
gib4176, I have read your mythology, I think it is about as valid as scientology.

Your bible HATES women.

2:22 Eve created from Adam's rib.
3:16 Cursed with painful childbirth and domination by husband.
4:17 Cain marries sister?
4:19 Man marries two wives.
12:13-19 Abraham prostitutes wife.
19:1-8 Rape virgin daughters instead of male angels.
19:26 Lot's wife turned into pillar of salt for disobeying god.
19:30-38 Lot impregnates his two daughters while drunk. (So much for "family values"!)
20:2-12 Abraham prostitutes wife - again.
25:1-6 Keeping many concubines is OK.

20:17 Wife as property.
21:4 Wife and children belong to master.
21:7-11 OK to sell daughters. Female slaves can be used for sex.
Polygamy permitted. Unwanted female slaves can be set "free" without payment of money.
22:18 Kill witches.

12:1 Childbirth a sin, Women unclean after childbirth.
15:19-32 Menstruating women are unclean.
20:10-16 Death penalty for homosexuality and various sexual transgressions.
21:7 Priests must not marry prostitutes or divorcees.
21:9 Burn daughters.
21:13-14 Priest must marry virgin, not "used" woman.

vawnews said...


1:2 Census lists only men - women do not count.
5:11-31 Fidelity test for women only.
30:1-16 Woman's vow invalid unless approved by her father or husband.
31:17-18 Kill all except virgins. Keep virgins for yourselves.
CH 12 Miriam punished for rebuking Moses.

20:14 Take women, livestock as plunder.
22:13-21 Stone non-virgin bride.
22:23-24 Stone rapist and rape victim.
22:28 Rape victim must marry rapist; rape victim's father compensated for depreciation of his property.
25:11-12 Cut woman's hand for touching foe's penis.
24:1-5 Man can "send" wife from HIS house. Man must not marry "used" woman.
28:18 The FRUIT of your womb will be cursed - eclectic "pro-life" verse!

5:30 Women are spoils of war.
14:20 Samson gives wife to another man.
16:1 Samson visits prostitute.
CH 19 Concubine pack-raped and butchered.
21:10-12 Slaughtered all inc. women and children. Saved virgins for wives.
21:21 Abducted girls for wives.

Ruth shags Boaz.

15:2-3 Attack Amalekites, kill men, women, children and livestock.
22:19 Kill all inc. infants and livestock.
21:4-5 Men avoid defilement with women.

5:13 David took many wives and concubines.
CH 13 Ammon rapes his own sister.
16:21-22 Absalom sleeps with his father's concubines.
6:20-23 Mischal punished with bareness.

11:3 Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

9:30-37 Brutal murder of Jezebel.

15:13 Put to death unbelievers.
11:21 Hoards of wives and concubines.

CH 1-2 Queen Vashti dethroned for disobedience; setting "bad" example to all other women.

51:5 Sinful since conception.
127:3 Sons are heritage from god.
137:9 Seizes infants and dashes them against rocks.

CH 5 Beware of wicked women!
CH 7 More of the above.
6:24 As above.
31:3 Do not waste strength on women.

3:16-26 Lord punishes haughty women.
4:4 Filthy women.
13:16 Ravish wives, dash infants.
19:16 Will be like women! (insult to Egyptians)

9:6-7 Slaughter all including children.
CH 16 Prostitutes, stoning, promiscuity...
CH 23 Tale of two adulterous sisters - reads like the script of a pornographic film. I bet you weren't told this story at Sunday school!

13:16 Rip pregnant women, dash little ones. (Another "pro-life" verse!)

3:4... wanton lust of a harlot... prostitution... witchcraft.
3:5 I will lift your skirts over your face!
3:13... Your troops are all women. (insult to Nineveh)

5:32 Husband can divorce wife for adultery. Can wife divorce husband for the same?
CH 25 Sexist tale of ten virgins.

2:22 Mary must be purified after birth of Jesus.
2:49 Jesus rebukes his mother.

11:2-10... Woman created for man.
14:34 Women must be silent in churches.

5:22-24 Wives must submit to husbands in everything.

3:18 Wives submit to husbands.
3:22 Slaves must obey masters in everything.

2:11-15 Woman must not have authority...she must be silent. Women can be saved with childbearing.
5:9-10 Widows should be faithful to husband and must wash saints' feet.

2:18 Slaves submit to masters, even masters who are harsh.
3:1 Wives submit.
3:5-6 Sarah calls husband master.

CH 17 Destroy great prostitute.
14:4...they did not DEFILE themselves with women but kept themselves pure.

Anonymous said...

The church operates in a document not of modern times. Clergy use the Bible and its teaching to victims at risk of being killed to remain in the relationship because divorce is a sin and to pray about their marriage to God and he will protect them.

God can't stop a bullet from an abusive and violent spouse. I gave up on trying to speak with anyone from a faith based organization many years ago. Maybe that is what has kept me alive!

Anonymous said...

Lets face it women must fend for themselves trusting in God is okay to do but yiu have to trust in yourself and have your own action plan first.

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