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Hey, mate!

25 Nov

Yesterday, Sunday 25th November was White Ribbon Day in Australia – a campaign to stop violence against women.

One in three Australian women have experienced physical violence from the time they turn 15 years old.

One in five will have experienced sexual violence according to these same figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

What is more, a woman living in this country is more likely to be killed in her home by her male partner than anywhere else or by anyone else.

Almost eight out of 10 female murder victims in Australia were killed by someone with whom they shared a domestic relationship.  Reference

Check out further videos in this series

Here is the pledge that Aussie men are encouraged to take:

I swear never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women. This is my oath.

This is also the pledge that those clergy, who are the hands and voice opposing women’s equality in the LCA, are encouraged to make.

At some stage in a girl’s life she becomes aware that being a pastor in the LCA is open only to her brothers. This relegation to the ranks of second-best, using the Bible as justification is spiritually abusive.  Girls are judged – without their participation – long before being born.  It’s no different to the Indian caste system – there’s no escaping, just the collusion of those with something to lose.  If you peacefully accept it and trust in good karma perhaps you’ll have a better incarnation next time.

As Christians we are not to trust in the justice of heaven, we are to live the justice of heaven.  We cannot wait.  We cannot expect women and girls to wait for some after-life reward, for that kind of piety is patronising nonsense.

There can be no excuse for violence against women and girls!  It’s that simple!  If you are using Scripture to justify your violence, then you have a choice: 1. discard Scripture or 2. reconsider your interpretation of Scripture.  No, there is a third option, discard your religion, for that is a better choice than using it to oppress your sisters.  Sacrilegious?  Not at all!  Using religion to justify violence is the sacrilege.

Feedback and suggestions are warmly invited.  We’d love to get your comment.

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22 Comments

Posted by on November 25, 2012 in sociology, theology, women's ordination

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

22 responses to “Hey, mate!

  1. Christoph Donges

    November 25, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    I would encourage all Australians regardless of gender to make this pledge instead:

    I swear never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against any person, unless the violence is in self defence or in the defence of an innocent. This is my oath.

     
    • Wally

      November 25, 2012 at 4:18 pm

      At least that is realistic and balanced – much more chance of making an impact. Well done, Christoph – outshines the article by a country mile!

       
    • Katie and Martin

      November 25, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      Your revision works well, however, White Ribbon Day was established in response to the 1989 Montreal massacre of women in a lecture theatre. http://www.cbc.ca/archives/categories/society/crime-justice/the-montreal-massacre/topic-the-montreal-massacre.html
      It is important that men, in particular, stand up to remind other men that violence against women, or silence on the matter, is never acceptable.

       
      • Christoph Donges

        November 25, 2012 at 6:09 pm

        I think it’s sexist to make the pledge just by men. Although men may be responsible for most violence they are not the perpetrators of all violence and women are not the only victims.

        I also think the pledge is a bit pointless. Men who would say it are mostly the same me who would act appropriately regardless.

         
        • Katie and Martin

          November 25, 2012 at 6:19 pm

          Granted. It is about raising awareness. Sometimes simple things can’t relate the full story. However, the videos are punchy (inappropriate, unintended pun) and hopefully encourage violent men to reconsider their actions.

           
  2. Wally

    November 25, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Once again, a terrible piece of journalism – the association of a most honourable issue, namely, the campaign to stop violence against women, with your personal view, thereby suggesting an association that is just wrong.

    For you to make statements (especially the second sentence) like

    “At some stage in a girl’s life she becomes aware that being a pastor in the LCA is open only to her brothers. This relegation to the ranks of second-best, using the Bible as justification is spiritually abusive. Girls are judged – without their participation – long before being born. It’s no different to the Indian caste system . . . ”

    is both offensive and spiritual abuse in itself!

    You insinuate that those who hold to a Scriptural view about the ordination of women therefore condone violence against women. That is most distressing and I know that there are many women who are equally distressed at such an assertion. I reject it totally.

     
    • Katie and Martin

      November 25, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      Excluding girls and women on the grounds of Scripture, is a spiritually abusive practice and is the reason that many women have left the church and Christianity around the world.
      To tell a daughter or grand-daughter that they cannot be a pastor, because Scripture excludes them, would be spiritually abusive.
      To tell a member of your congregation that God expressly forbids their ordination, because they were born a girl, would be spiritually abusive.
      Telling women that God loves them, but that they can’t be pastors, expresses a limitation that God has supposedly imposed on them; imposes a fatalistic condemnation of the female gender in the randomness of the joining of X and Y chromosomes; expresses, by implication, something more positive in God’s sight about the men in their lives. This is spiritually abusive.
      Such theology from the pulpit is one of the supporting pillars of domestic violence, which sadly has been common in Christian circles.
      Wally, our theology is played out in our relationships. If men and women only hear from the pulpit that women must submit to their husbands then rest assured that the level of domestic violence will be high.
      While prohibiting women from the pulpit is not physical violence, it is repressive, insulting, judgmental, disparaging, offensive, disempowering … and spiritually abusive.
      Ending violence against women in all its forms in the Church requires men, in particular, to re-examine their own understanding of God’s call, and God’s relationships with women and men.

      Here’s info on violence in the church in the US:

      CHRISTIAN DOMESTIC ABUSE:The Hidden Church Disease
      http://www.true2ourselves.com/forum/christianity-family/6308-christian-domestic-abuse-hidden-church-disease.html
      • Young women in Christian youth groups are less likely to report abuse, especially if they are dating someone in their youth group.

      • People with strong religious beliefs stay longer in abusive relationships because of their faith beliefs.

      • Abusers are more likely to go for help when their pastor tells them to seek counseling than if others encourage them; even more likely than if they are given a court order which mandates counseling for them.

      William Bradford Wilcox conducted a study on the types of Protestants who engage in domestic violence. He examined the relationship between religious affiliation, church attendance, and domestic violence, using data on wife reports of spousal violence from three American surveys.The study found that the lowest reported rates of domestic violence occurred among church active conservative Protestants (2.8% of husbands committed domestic violence), followed by those who were religiously unaffiliated (3.2%), periodic church attending mainline Protestants (3.9%),church active mainline Protestants (5.4%), and periodic church attending conservative Protestants (7.2%).If we average these deeply disturbing numbers for church attending Christians,we come up with an average 4.8% abuser rate which means that a typical minister with a congregation of 500 people can expect to have twenty-two (22) families that are being tormented by this hidden social cancer.

      Many ministers contribute to the problem because they tell the female members of their congregations who are being abused that they should continue to submit to their husbands and to ask God to give them the strength to endure the torture they are experiencing.Many ministers never advise a battered wife to leave her husband or separate regardless of the extent of the abuse she is suffering.By taking this socially and psychologically dangerous position they not only are endangering the lives of many women but they are in addition causing a plethora of mental,emotional and even physical problems to be visited on the children of the battered.Here is a list of the most common:

      * low self-esteem
      * mixed feelings toward parents
      * lack of trust
      * anxiety created by anticipating the next outbreak of violence
      * guilt and depression in feeling responsible for the abuse
      * fear of abandonment

      ___________
      Wally, as is demonstrated above, theology can be used or abused in relation to violence against women. While women’s ordination is only one of various avenues, in which women are told to submit, it is never-the-less important that the exclusion of women from ordination be named as one of the pillars of theology that is, and supports, violence against women.

       
      • Wally

        November 27, 2012 at 9:53 pm

        To reply to this massive piece would take me a long time, particularly given the many subjective expressions you use. You make massive associations that no-one in their wildest dreams could accept as true. Of course there is truth in many of the things that you say, but you also seem to imply that they are always the case. That is just to difficult to answer. In view of your last sentence, I have to say that such an assertion is spiritual abuse upon those who believe the Word of God.

         
        • Katie and Martin

          November 27, 2012 at 10:48 pm

          Wally, sweeping statements don’t work on blogs. If you don’t wish to respond to a particular point, best that you don’t respond.
          “Spiritual abuse upon those who believe the Word of God”!! Excuse me? So, your exegesis is the only one that matters? Everyone else are pagans perhaps?
          Wally, please try to attempt to add to the discussion, rather than make broad, sweeping emotional claims. We understand that women’s ministry is not your thing, but when you accuse others of not following Scripture you are only going to encourage schism.
          If focused discussion is not your thing, this may not be the place for you.

           
          • Wally

            November 28, 2012 at 12:08 am

            Well, I composed a long and reasoned answer to this – and then I remembered what has been happening in parliament in the last few days. So I rubbed it out because I don’t want to be a part of an arrangement that simply throws mud, lies and baseless insinuations and conclusions as you have done in that long post and then berated me in the follow up for daring to take issue with it. There are more sweeping statements in your massive missive than I have ever made. I’m sorry – you are right. I am not up to the job. I can’t match it. I’ll go back to my parish work and continue to value the wonderful women whose ministry I have come to value immensely during the short time I have been here, despite your ruthless assertion to the contrary.

            Oh, any further word on the Constitution, or the DSTO – or are you still so busy keeping the powder dry? You did beg me to add to the discussion – I’m waiting!

             
  3. aussietap

    November 25, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    “You insinuate that those who hold to a Scriptural view about the ordination of women therefore condone violence against women.” Wally there is a definite link – wherever a scriptural view is stated as a principle to live by – a law – there are consequences. Many godly men even today feel that it is the wifes duty to have sex with them – way to destroy an intimate relationship. But its OK as long as they submit and remain the “helper” as God ordained it.

     
    • Katie and Martin

      November 26, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      Oh, dear! While this is one of many extreme examples of criminal religious fervour, it’s on the same spectrum that we find ourselves. Unless we examine and name our own violence, we have the potential to justify that same behaviour as divine inspiration. It applies to the denial of some people’s humanity. It applies to the denial of some people’s equality in the eyes of God. Lord, forgive us.

       
  4. Katie and Martin

    November 28, 2012 at 1:57 am

    Wally, you don’t appear to have added to the conversation again. Thanks for rubbing out your mud-throwing. We’d love you to say why you find the post and the follow-up objectionable.

     
  5. Wally

    November 28, 2012 at 3:36 am

    It is objectionable when you heap the dirt of a few on every body, and especially when you do so on our Church and its leader. It is objectionable when you attempt to associate all manner of unrelated evil with those who hold to a Scriptural position with which you disagree. The Skepticink incident is terrible – no question! I have on many occasions condemned such evils of a similar level. But you can’t restrain yourself and leave it at that – you have to connect it to this question with your statement: “we have the potential to justify that same behaviour as divine inspiration” and thereby seek to stain people with it. That too is objectionable – in fact, it is an insult. Your making such statements has the potential to destroy souls – and that is serious business. While ever you continue to make such objectionable statements, you will never engender any decent discussion on this blog.

     
  6. Katie and Martin

    November 28, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Churches easily make the motherhood statements like, “We state as clearly and strongly as we can that violence against women, inside or outside the home, is never justified.” However, it has been the case that significant numbers of Christian pastors ordinarily would tell a woman being abused that she should continue to submit and to trust that God would honor her action by either stopping the abuse or giving her the strength to endure it and would never advise a battered wife to leave her husband or separate because of abuse.
    According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops” “Men who abuse often use Ephesians 5:22, (Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.) taken out of context, to justify their behavior.”
    Our point is that Scripture has been used by some to justify domestic violence, but because of our sinfulness that’s a human tendency – we all subject to selectively ignoring or focusing on particular Scriptures. To reduce the likelihood of this we need to rely on informed exegesis and a hermeneutical method that is open to all the tools available to us.
    Now, we are not for one moment suggesting that any individual pastor/leader has consciously supported violence/abuse against women but we must remain aware that there is the potential for the misuse of Scripture individuals and by denominations.
    We are, however, saying that the theology from the pulpit affects how women and men perceive themselves in relationships and in power structures. Theology affects our self-image, and this is good, but you can imagine the negative affect on the self-image of women and girls under conditions of:
    * hearing only a divine mandate to submit
    * hearing only from men or seeing only men at the front of church
    * hearing that she must forgive her partner while not hearing the corresponding obligations on men
    We are not heaping the dirt from few onto many. We are looking at the causes of domestic violence in the church. We must face up to any systemic issues.
    We believe that excluding women from ordination is one of those systemic issues. While not a mistake in years past, it is a mistake today. Women’s exclusion today conveys a message of inequality and levels of gender authority … with implications for women and men’s self-image as children of God, and for how that is played out in relationships over a life time.
    While we disagree on exegesis and hermeneutics we can agree that women’s experience is their experience. Likewise we agree that your experience is your experience. We are called to live in harmony. We don’t need to sign a statement of identical theology. The LCA can live with congregations that do and don’t call women to serve as their pastor.

     
  7. Wally

    November 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    “We are not heaping the dirt from many on a few.” Correct! What you are doing is heaping the dirt from a few onto many. That’s the problem. We are all supposed to feel miserable and made to feel guilty.

    Your suggestion that “excluding women from ordination is one of those systemic issues” is an attempt at heaping guilt on people for holding to a view of Scripture. That you then suggest “While not a mistake in years past, it is a mistake today.” is completely baffling to me. Perhaps you know all to well that it is a contemporary argument that does not stand the test of time nor match the will of God.

    Submission correctly taught and understood is not an issue at all – it is in fact, very Christ-like, as St Paul so admirably puts it in Ephesians 5. Every time I explain that in pre-marriage counselling, the issue dies in the water because I make it so clear that it has nothing to do with a husband lording it over his wife and that any husband who thinks that has got it wrong. That’s why I also get so frustrated with sweeping statements like that made by Tapio above: “Many godly men even today feel that it is the wifes duty to have sex with them – way to destroy an intimate relationship. But its OK as long as they submit and remain the “helper” as God ordained it.” The assertion is undoubtedly true in describing the views of some, but making such statements in this kind of tone means that the statement is really provocative rubbish. I probably shouldn’t be surprised given the theology of the sentence prior to it.

    What we need to do is teach what the Scripture is actually saying there rather than poking nastily and provocatively at everybody. Many of us have argued that we need to get back to Scripture, understand it and teach it – that’s the real answer. Sadly, that suggestion continues to be belittled.

     
  8. Katie and Martin

    November 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Wally, it seems that you are determined not to hear, or are unable to hear what is being said.
    There is no point in continuing the conversation.

     
  9. Wally

    November 28, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Hmm! I understand.

     
    • cdonges

      November 28, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      I can see your point based on your assumptions Wally. If you believe that scripture is the inerrant revealed word of god that applies for all time then I agree that it follows that women shouldn’t be ministers. I personally disagree with those assumptions though.

      Katie and Martin, do you believe that scripture is the inerrant revealed word of god that applies for all time?

       
      • Wally

        November 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm

        I am pleased you have stated your position, Christoph.

         
      • Katie and Martin

        November 28, 2012 at 3:04 pm

        Thanks cdonges for your participation on this difficult matter. Wally, don’t reply here. We are creating another post to share this conversation, in the hope that we can find understanding and reconciliation. It will take ten minutes.

         

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