A reader linked me to one of the most disturbing articles I’ve read in awhile (and trust me, I’ve read quite a few disturbing articles on Christian fundamentalism and the abuse that’s hidden beneath the surface). It’s called Spanking for Jesus: Inside the Unholy World of ‘Christian Domestic Discipline’ and it was recently published in the Daily Beast.
Christian Domestic Discipline (CDD) is essentially a small (4,000 members) online fringe group of Christian men who practice spanking their wives if they get out of hand, or roll their eyes. In other words, Biblically justified domestic violence.
I grew up in a home where domestic violence was norm for many arguments and from a child’s perspective, it’s one of the most frightening and disturbing things a kid can witness. Domestic violence can escalate, especially in homes where alcohol is also abused or where weapons are kept. When two people are involved in an abusive relationship, anything can become a weapon.
According to the Beast, “…there are posts that are just plain disturbing: ‘My wife cries and writhes and begs me to stop during spankings, should I?’”
This should really be a no-brainer, but Christian teachings can reinforce this behavior even more. When I was a teen, I went to my pastor’s wife to ask her what a woman should do if she’s being abused by her husband. I pointed out the verse that said a wife should submit to her husband and brought up my complaints, ‘There’s no way God would ask someone to submit to an abusive husband, right?’ My pastor’s wife’s answer was disturbing: ‘She should really look into her heart and ask herself whether she’s serving and submitting her husband. What’s wrong with her attitude to cause him to react that way?’ My faith started crumbling then and there and to this day, that conversation is a cornerstone to why I’ve lost my faith in Christianity.
Women easily can justify domestic violence when it means preserving their livelihood and family, especially when they’ve been taught that divorce is sin and a threat to society:
Vera (not her real name), argues that abuse is all about intent. “He never punishes me when he’s angry,” she says of her partner. “He doesn’t yell. The worst thing I can do is disappoint him and I do that when I act on one of my character defects.” And do men have any of these defects? Who is there to correct them? “He’s not perfect,” Vera says, “but it’s not my role to point that out. He self corrects.” And as for what a man gets out of it, besides a woman who obeys his every command, Vera says her partner is satisfied by her growth. “He enjoys seeing the person he owns, his property, become the thing God wants her to be. It might sound weird, but that works for me.”
You be the judge. What do you think?
(h/t to Greg G. for the link to this article)
Read more: Battered into Submission: The Tragedy of Wife Abuse in the Christian Home