Tag Archive: Marriage

The Absurdity of the Billy Graham-Mike Pence Rule

jesus alone with a woman

Jesus, alone with a woman, violating the Billy Graham-Mike Pence Rule. Shame on you, Jesus! I am surprised you escaped with your virginity intact.

Embedded deep into the thinking of Evangelical pastors is the notion that women to whom they are not married are dangerous creatures who must be kept at a distance, lest they tempt men of God to commit sexual sin. As a young ministerial student, I was taught that there were Jezebels in every church, and that I must never, ever allow myself to be alone with any woman who was not my wife. According to my professors and chapel speakers, there would always be women lurking in the shadows of the steeple, ready and willing to “steal” my sexual purity. Men, including pastors, were, by nature, weak-kneed, visually stimulated horn dogs. Allow the doors of your office or study to be shut with you and a woman alone, and, why, anything could happen! This kind of thinking, of course, teaches men a warped view of women and human sexuality. While I agree that humans are sexual beings — a trait necessary for our species’ propagation — it does not follow that every time two people of the opposite sex are alone with each other, sexual intercourse is a real and distinct possibility. Common sense tells us otherwise.

This view of women and human sexuality found its nexus with Fundamentalist Baptist evangelist Billy Graham. Graham had three rules he lived by when it came to women who were not his wife. Graham would not travel alone with a woman, meet alone with a woman, or eat alone with a woman. These rules, over time, were called “The Billy Graham Rules.” While Graham was viewed as a liberal by Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preachers, his three rules were taught and preached in IFB churches and colleges alike. Simply put, stay away from women who aren’t your wife. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!  Abstain from the very appearance of evil, the Bible says. Eating a meal with a woman who is not your wife, offering her a ride in your car, or counseling her alone with the door closed, all give forth the appearance of evil. I knew of some pastors who wouldn’t even counsel female church members out of fear that their ministry could be compromised.

Most non-Evangelicals had never heard of the “Billy Graham Rule” until Vice President Mike Pence let it be known that he, too, avoided being alone with any woman who was not his wife. Moderns were astounded by the Vice President’s Puritanical view of women, but to my ears his words were what I had heard over and over again as an Evangelical pastor.

Recently, John Ellis wrote a post for PJ Media extolling the virtue of the “Billy Graham-Mike Pence Rule.” In a post titled, Can Men and Women be Friends? Ellis wrote:

After reading that mega-pastor Bill Hybels has been accused of sexual misconduct, I commented to some friends that we (Christian men) need to be extra diligent in what we say and do around women. I said that because I believe that it’s imperative that Christian men protect themselves and the women around them while serving women. Unfortunately, that’s an increasingly difficult tightrope to walk in today’s climate, to the point that it’s appropriate to wonder if men and women can be friends.

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Most people within conservative Christianity get that. Most would shake their heads in suspicion if it were discovered that I frequently hung out alone with a female pal, just the two of us shooting the breeze. But the claim that men and women can’t be friends brings with it the charge of patriarchalism from some of the same people who believe it unwise for a married man to hang out alone with a woman who is not his wife (or vice versa).

Often, the disconnect in conversations like this one comes down to how terms are defined. I contend that men cannot be friends with women in the way that “friend” is defined when I’m speaking of my buddies. However, Christian men can and should count Christian women as their sisters in Christ.

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Sadly, desire for personal purity in the pursuit of holiness often brings with it the accusation of patriarchalism. Vice President Mike Pence was assigned that pejorative after it was revealed that he doesn’t dine alone with women not named Karen Pence. The vice president was accused of creating an environment that makes it harder for women to succeed.

However, as Pence continued to suffer the slings and arrows of those who despise his desire to interact with women “in all purity,” the #MeToo movement was created, as powerful men began to be exposed as sexual predators. Sadly, even in the face of the expanding #MeToo movement, many of Pence’s critics still fail to see the wisdom of the vice president’s personal standards of interaction around women.

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Serving our sisters in Christ in all purity requires acknowledging the truth that because of sin the issue of sex will always be within reach when it comes to members of the opposite sex. Once again, that’s why most conservative Christians would look askance at me going on an overnight fishing trip alone with a woman who was not my wife. But even beyond obvious examples of overnight trips, men need to be careful about how they interact with women in our day to day lives.

Among other things, Bill Hybels has been accused of giving “lingering hugs.” It’s a good thing that I’m an introvert and don’t like being touched or touching people. If I were a “hugger,” I can’t imagine how I would defend myself against an accusation of a lingering hug.

And that’s not to defend Hybels or to claim that women who are made to feel uncomfortable by the actions of men are wrong for speaking up and defending themselves. My point is that it is incredibly difficult to know exactly how a word, a look, or a touch, even if meant innocently, will be taken.

Because men often view women as little more than objects of pleasure and take advantage of them, many of our sisters in Christ have been deeply hurt in the past. What we as their brothers in Christ say or do can have the unintended consequence of being perceived within the context of past abuse. Among other things, loving our sisters in Christ demands that we be careful not to cause more hurt and harm.

On a lesser scale, it’s also important that Christian men guard ourselves. Since it is easy for our motivations to be incorrectly assumed, we need to make sure that we are acting above reproach around our sisters in Christ.

….

According to Ellis, all men should live according to “Billy Graham-Mike Pence Rule.” I say all, and not just married men, because Ellis, who describes himself as a conservative Christian, likely believes that it is a sin for unmarrieds to have sex. Thus, not only should married men abstain from being alone with women who are not their wives, so should unmarried men. Women, for married and unmarried men alike, are the problem. If married men want to keep themselves morally pure, then they must never, ever put themselves in positions where they are alone with women. For married men, the wife of their youth awaits, legs spread wide, ready and willing to satisfy their sexual needs. Unmarried men have no such fire extinguisher awaiting them — the Apostle Paul said it is better to marry than to burn — yet they, too, are implored to avoid being alone with the opposite sex. So what are these young men to do? Many of them, if they marry at all, do not marry until their late twenties. This means that they must wrestle with unsatisfied raging hormones for twelve to fifteen years. And remember, masturbation — lustful self-gratification that leads to homosexuality — is verboten too. (Please read Good Baptist Boys Don’t Masturbate, Oh Yes, They Do!)

This kind of thinking breeds immature, juvenile men; men who are weak; men who are not in control of their sexuality; men who see women primarily as objects of sexual gratification. Ellis, Graham, and Pence would likely object to my characterization of their beliefs, but it seems clear, at least to me, that women are treated as dangerous, seductive beings who must be avoided lest being alone with them leads to intercourse on office and study floors. This kind of thinking objectifies women, turning them into chattel used for male sexual gratification. Since the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God condemns all sexual behavior except married heterosexual vaginal intercourse, (preferably in the missionary position, and primarily for human propagation), any relationship or circumstance that could, even remotely, lead to moral compromise must be resolutely avoided. (A separate discussion is whether consensual adult sex with someone other than your wife or sex between unmarrieds is necessarily “wrong.”)

As I have stated time and again on this blog, Evangelical men need to grow up and own their sexuality. If they can’t control themselves when around physically and sexually attract women, the fault is theirs. Plenty of men are around women publicly and privately, yet they, somehow, keep themselves from having sex with them. These men have learned how to control their thoughts and behaviors. I have viewed countless women whom I have found attractive. My wife and I, now that we no longer concern ourselves with thoughts of God, judgment, and hell, are free to say to the other, that’s an attractive man/woman. Both of us have found it interesting the type of people the other is attracted to. Men I thought Polly would consider hot often elicit a meh from her — she really likes gay guys. Similarly, the kind of woman Polly thinks I would be attracted to often elicits a shrug from me. It’s liberating to be able to express my thoughts, interests, and desires without worrying that it could lead to adultery — a sin, according to the B-i-b-l-e, that lands offenders in the Lake of Fire.

Polly is around other men at work, yet I don’t worry that she might stray. It would be crazy for her to do so, having a stud muffin like me at home. As a photographer, I am often up close and personal with women, yet my wife doesn’t fret over this. She knows that for Bruce, Polly is his one and only. Now, this doesn’t mean that neither of us has ever been tempted to break our marital vows. We have, but we value our lives with each other and our family far more than we do three minutes and twenty seconds of pleasure. For us, it’s a matter of what’s important to us. There are going to be times when we are alone with people of the opposite sex. That’s life. If someone is flirtatious or even comes on to one of us, we expect the other to exercise maturity and wisdom and handle things appropriately. During the Christmas season, my Santa Claus alter-ego often has women who are quite friendly towards him. I have had more than a few women, young and old, want to get up close and personal and have a photo taken with Santa. In my mind, it’s all fun and games. I’ve found, now that I am in my sixties and have a white beard, that women, in general, are more friendly towards me. I suspect it is my grandfatherly look that says to them I am safe. Certainly looks can be deceiving, but in this case, the only fear anyone should have of this Santa Claus is him getting stuck coming down the chimney.

Men need in their lives women who are not their wives. Men NEED female friends, even the buddy type of friends Ellis says men cannot have. I was well into my late forties before I had female friends. I spent most of my adult life living according to the “Billy Graham-Mike Pence Rule.” Not perfectly, of course. In one church, I picked up a woman for services every Sunday for a decade. She was twenty years older than I, and due to a severe vision problem, she couldn’t drive. One couple who left the church in a huff let it be known that they thought this woman and I were having an affair. We both laughed when we heard this. I gave this couple, in my mind anyway, a “go freak yourselves.”  Several years later, I learned that the male of this couple had repeatedly sexually violated his daughter when she was young. I have no doubt that his wife knew that it was going on too. Yet, they were “concerned” over me driving a woman to church. Child, please.

It took me leaving the ministry and Christianity to realize the value and importance of having female friends. Over the past decade or so, I have been privileged to befriend a number of women. Having them in my life has forced me to change my view of the opposite sex. Evangelicalism is inherently patriarchal and misogynistic — let the screaming and whining begin. Thus, I had a warped, deficient view of women for many years. Much like my views of LGBTQ people, my beliefs about women were largely shaped by what Evangelical men and the women-are-property Bible said about them. Divorcing Jesus — we were in a same-sex marriage — and throwing aside the authority of the Bible allowed me to take a fresh look at my relationships with women. This blog and social media have brought into my life a cornucopia of women, along with LGBTQ people too. My editor is a woman. I doubt, had I been an Evangelical blogger, that our relationship would have worked. Now, not only have my grammar and style improved, but her input has helped me mature as a person. Other women have challenged some of things I have written, asking me to consider their perspective. I remember one woman taking issue with my use of the word pussy. I used the word to imply weakness. However, to women, my use of this word said, women are weak. Once this was pointed out to me, I stopped using it – well, except in the privacy of my bedroom, that is.

And my wife? She loves the new and improved Bruce Gerencser, the man who now views her as an equal, as a partner, as someone whose opinions and ideas have value. Most of all she loves the fact that this man of hers has gone from being the head of the home to being her friend. Not only are we lovers and confidants, we are best friends. We trust each other, each believing that the other will honor, even when alone with the opposite sex, the commitment we made forty years ago. No fling is worth what we have built together over the past five decades. Why in the world would I want to trade the best cooking in the world for a romp in the sack with someone I don’t really know? Polly makes the most awesome sloppy joes I have ever eaten. Better than sex — oh yes they are! Since she tried this new recipe out the first time a few weeks ago, I’ve asked her to make it again several times. Heaven? Oh, my Gawd, it’s on my plate, thank you very much. If given the choice between an illicit relationship and Polly’s sloppy joes, I know which one I am taking. Well, that and the fact that she now does all her cooking with cast iron pans. I can only imagine (to rip off the title of the latest Evangelical porno to hit the big screen) what one of the pans would do to the side of my head.

I hope both men and women will share their thoughts and experiences in the comment section. Are women really as dangerous as Graham, Pence, and Ellis say they are? Comment away!

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Founders of Feminism Were Reprobates Says Lori Alexander

lori alexander twitter

Christian women are floundering today. They have no idea what they are supposed to do with their lives? Should they work after having children or be home full time? But if they don’t work outside of the home, they will probably get bored and won’t make any money so they will feel useless. Oh, what should they do?

Mark Taspon did an interview with Mallory Millet who is the sister of Kate Millet. Kate is one of the founders of the second wave of feminism. Mallory admits that Kate was mentally ill and was a terror to live with:

I was with them at that table as they founded the Women’s Movement and NOW. The entire stated point of their activities was to destroy the American family and with that, Western Civilization. Is this not crazy? They were tooth-grittingly determined.

They were driven by destruction and deeply violent impulses toward men and the patriarchy. Their goal? To establish a matriarchy in order to end all war because that’s what men do, wage war. They believed that if women ran everything there would be no more war. In their madness they have conspired to destroy masculinity, drugging our little boys while trying to remake them into little girls and thus, emboldening our enemies who now see us as easy pickings. No nation is easier to overwhelm than one which has feminized the men and put females at the head of the tribe. Matriarchies never survive – never have, never will!

God tells us that those who “hold the truth in unrighteousness” (they know the truth but rebel against it) are given over to a reprobate mind (Romans 1). Reprobate means “a person abandoned to sin; one lost to virtue and religion.” This completely describes the founders of feminism since they were against all of God’s beautiful ways and they deceived women, even Christian women, into believing that leaving their homes all day and their children in the care of others is best

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Instead of following culture and the lies of the mentally ill, young women should consider this when making life decisions:“If all mothers based their choices on whether to return to work by asking the questions, ‘What does the Bible say?’ and ‘What is best for my child spiritually?’ different choices would be made” (Judy Turner)

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Christian women need to wake up and understand that they need to stop following women who had and have reprobate minds and begin following Jesus and His ways instead. Our culture is a mess and it’s because women have left their God-ordained roles at home and pursued their own selfish gain at the expense of their children.

— Lori Anderson, The Transformed Wife, Founders of Feminism Had Reprobate Minds, February 13, 2018

Courtland Sykes Says to Women, Your Place is in the Kitchen Making Sure Dinner is Ready at 6:00 PM

courtland sykes

Missouri GOP Senate candidate Courtland Sykes took to Facebook recently to let feminists and nontraditional women what he thought of them. Let me hit the highlights for you. Grammatical errors are in the original:

  • I want to come home to a home cooked dinner every night at six. One that she [Sykes is engaged to be married] fixes and one that I expect one day to have daughters learn to fix after they become traditional homemakers and family wives.
  • I want my daughters to have their own intelligence, their own dignity, their own work space, and their own degrees; I want them to build home based enterprises and live in homes shared with good husbands and I don’t want them to grow up into career obsessed banshees who forgo home life and children and the happiness of family to become nail-biting manophobic hell-bent feminist she devils who shriek from the tops  of a thousand tall buildings they are think they could have leaped over in a single bound — had men not been “suppressing them.” It’s  just nuts. It always was.
  • I want to come home to a home cooked dinner at six every night, one that she fixes and one that I expect one day to have my daughters learn to fix after they become traditional homemakers and family wives — think Norman Rockwell here,  and Gloria Steinhem be damned.

Here’s Sykes’ full statement.

courtland sykes view of women

Sykes’ Facebook page describes him this way:

Courtland Sykes, Missouri’s newest candidate for the U.S. Senate, has been called MAGA’s boldest warrior. He is no stranger to conflict and danger—he spent four tours of duty in the military and intelligence arena in Iraq, the Middle East, plus a tour in Central and South American missions operating from the U.S. Embassy in Panama.

A certain forthrightness—call it a certain boldness in spirit—comes from a background like that and he takes no prisoners in stating his positions outright about America and its future.

Sykes is pro-Trump, pro-MAGA, pro-gun, anti-abortion, pro-wall—some have said he is the most outright and boldest of all Senatorial candidates regarding President Trump’s America First Agenda.

In other words, Sykes is a Trumpian Asshole®.

Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

complementarianism

Cartoon by David Hayward

Guest post by ObstacleChick

Growing up in Evangelical Christianity, both in the Southern Baptist church and at a Christian school, I had a lot of things to learn about what it means to be a good, obedient Christian. We were taught that if we were saved and followed X, Y, and Z rules — God’s plan for our lives — then we would be living the best lives possible. Rebellion against God’s plan for our lives would lead to misery, suffering, and not living up to the potential for which God created us. Most of what I learned between church and school matched up, but what did not exactly match up was the concept of Biblical gender roles.

Looking back, I believe that the administration at the Christian school were careful not to dwell too much on gender roles because their role as a school was to provide students with a good education based on Biblical values and teachings. So other than gender-based dress code and the understanding that only men were called to preach the Word, we were not taught too much about differences between men and women or their approved roles. However, at church it was a different story.

During the 1980s, some of the leadership within our church started to teach Biblical manhood and womanhood seminars. Originally designed for married people to attend, there was a small class for us older teen girls that was taught by my friend’s mother who wanted her daughter to learn proper Biblical roles. My mom and grandma took the Biblical womanhood courses taught for married women. I do not recall if my stepfather and grandpa took the courses (most likely not as neither particularly liked sitting in classes or seminars). I do not even know how much my mom and grandma knew about the courses before they started taking them. Had she known, I’m fairly certain that my mom would have discouraged me from taking the course.

In any case, every Saturday morning, six teenage girls from my church and school sat in my friend’s living room while her mother taught us what it meant to be a Biblical woman. First, we learned that God designed men and women differently outside the obvious physical differences. Men were designed to be analytical thinkers, to rely on data, to desire to solve problems, and to be nearly devoid of emotion (or at least to be able to control emotion — which reminded me of the description of the Vulcans on Star Trek). Men were driven to arousal entirely by visual cues — if they saw an attractive woman, they would desire to touch her. Women, on the other hand, were highly emotionally driven and relied on feelings rather than data or intellect. Women were designed to be nurturers and to desire to bear and take care of children. Whereas men were visually aroused, women were only aroused by physical touch. Therefore, it was important for women not to do anything to draw undue or unnecessary attention to their physical appearances in order to prevent men from wanting to touch them.

From there, we moved into all the Bible verses that supported the notion that children are supposed to be submissive to all adults; that wives are supposed to be submissive to their husbands; that husbands are supposed to be submissive to the church; and that the church is supposed to be submissive to Jesus. This hierarchy is God’s perfect and holy plan for humans, given to them so that they may live fulfilling and happy lives in service to him. We were taught that rebellion to God’s plan would lead to an unhappy home life, full of strife and displeasing to God. And husbands who did not live in perfect submission to the church would be putting their families in jeopardy by not providing the God-approved spiritual leadership that they were required to provide. While wives were required to submit their will to that of their husbands, it was only suggested to men that they could listen to their wives and love them if they so chose.

We young women were taught that feelings of rebellion against this perfect plan from God was a sign of sin in our lives, and that we should pray and read the Bible in order to purge these wicked thoughts from our lives. It was reiterated that the only way we could be happy in life was to submit our will to that of our husbands because we were not designed to be able to make big decisions for our families. Only our husbands were designed to make decisions because they thought logically and analytically and weren’t swayed by emotion or hysteria. (Our silly little women’s brains were flooded with pesky hormones and emotions, drowning out any analytical or logic-based skills we may have had, though it was doubtful that we had any).

I literally felt nauseous hearing all this. Rebellion rose up within me like bile, a sign that I was not right with God, a sign that Satan was drawing me away from God’s perfect plan. Obviously, there was something seriously wrong with me because I excelled at mathematics and science, I was drawn to maps and navigation, and I rarely exhibited emotions. I suppose it was possible that all the boys in my grade were underperforming and not living up to God’s standards, but facts showed that I was the top math and science student in my grade (the top student in every subject, in fact). Knowing that there was something wrong with me (it’s sad that my first thought was that there was something wrong with me, not that the religious concept was wrong), I swore at age 18 as a senior in high school that I would never marry. I knew I would never be able to submit my will to that of another, regardless of how intelligent or godly or anything else he was.

My grandma, always striving to follow her deity’s will to the best of her ability, implemented this complementarian doctrine into her marriage. My grandpa wanted nothing to do with it, and occasionally I would hear grandma say, “well, I have to submit to my husband” when we all knew she wanted to speak up but withheld her opinion. Grandpa had to start going to great lengths to encourage Grandma to give her honest opinion. He was drawn to her for her intellect and spirit, so I think it was difficult to see her suddenly struggling to turn off those traits about her that he loved. I don’t know how they eventually worked it out as I moved away to college soon after, but they seemed to find a way to manage so that she could still serve her deity and he could still have the woman he fell in love with. (I’ll write about my grandfather’s feminist tendencies another time).

My mom and stepdad never followed the complementarian roles. My mom was by far my stepdad’s intellectual superior, and they had determined that they would discuss big decisions, but in the end, my mom would make the decisions.

Science shows us gender and sexuality are on a spectrum, not strictly binary. While most people carry XX or XY chromosomes, there are people who are XO, XXX, XXY, or XYY. I can only surmise that Evangelical Christians would say that these people should adopt the gender shown by their external sex organs and that they must only practice married sex with someone with the opposite external sex organs. And if the union does not bless them with children, then that is due to the problem of sin in the world. Perhaps their sect allows adoption; in any case, they should pray and seek God’s will in the situation.

During college, I moved further from Evangelical Christianity and was able to expand my world view. In the end, I found a man who was looking for a partner, not a submissive wife, and we have a good relationship. We are both analytical and logical thinkers, and oddly enough, he is more emotional than I am. Whenever we watch a sad movie, the joke from our kids is “how many times did Dad cry?” I had put a lot of this complementarian drivel out of my mind for many years, but it started coming up again with Josh Duggar scandal, Roy Moore, and people from my past posting complementarian ideas on social media. Recently, I told my husband about my experience learning these Biblical manhood and womanhood roles. He was uncharacteristically silent for a moment and looked at me like I had two heads, then in his true sarcastic fashion, he said, “Well, then, woman, submit and go make me a sandwich and bring me a beer!” I told him where he could shove the sandwich and beer.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Worldly Women Are Murderous Whores Says Lori Alexander

lori alexander twitter

There are many foolish women today. A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing (Proverbs 9:13). Foolish means “void of understanding or sound judgment; weak in intellect; unwise; silly; vain; acting without regard to the divine law and glory.” Universities don’t make women wise. They make them foolish; for the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (1 Corinthians 3:19). What they learn in these places of “higher learning” is that there is no difference between men and women and they are steeped in the feminist agenda which is anti-God and anti-family. They teach them nothing that is good, honorable, pure, holy, or worthy.

….

God commands that parents raise their children in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord. Too many parents are careful about doing this while their children are young and then spend a ton of money on secular colleges and universities for their children to attend. Many children who go into these institutions with their faith intact come out without faith in God because “bad company corrupts good morals” as the Bible clearly states. Universities do everything they can to turn young women into foolish, clamorous, and simple women.

Clamorous means “speaking and repeating loud words; noisy; vociferous; loud; turbulent.” Most of Proverbs describes foolishness (feminism) compared to wisdom (feminine). Many of the early chapters of Proverbs are about harlots or “strange women” as they are called and then the ending chapter is the well-known Proverbs 31 woman who embodies wisdom. Who are the harlots of today?

We are to be wise in what is good and innocent to that which is evil. It seems the majority of women today are knowledgeable to all forms of evil and practice them: fornication, adultery, immodesty, indiscretion, drunkenness, and lewdness. They despise what is good and love what is evil. They are willful and reckless, refusing to see the long-term consequences of their sin and instead indulging their flesh in any way they please. They entice married men, break up families, and easily abort their babies. They are foolish through and through and are reaping the rotten fruit that they are sowing.

— Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, A Foolish, Clamorous Woman, January 9, 2018

The Sounds of Fundamentalism: IFB Preacher Steven Anderson Explains Why Fundamentalists Shouldn’t Use Birth Control

steven anderson

This is the one hundred and sixty-fifth installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a video clip of Steven Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, telling congregants why they should eschew birth control and have lots and lots of Fundamentalist babies.

Video Link

How Evangelical Preachers Sexually Demean and Harass Female Congregants

god is a woman

Cartoon by David Hayward

Many Evangelical churches are hierarchical in nature: male God, male pastor, male church leaders, married men, and then women and children. God, of course, comes first. God, of course — because it says so in the Bible — is a HE, not a she. God, of course, determines the order of all things, including the church and home.

God created man first, and then woman. He commanded that men are to be the head of their homes, and women are to submit to their husbands in all things, as unto the Lord. God commanded that women were to be keepers of the home, submitting cheerfully and without complaint to their husbands. Children are commanded by God to joyfully obey their parents in all things.

God commanded that men, as pastors, elders, and deacons, are to rule the church. Only men are permitted to preach and teach during public worship services. Women are permitted to teach other women and children, but they must never, ever usurp authority over men. In some Evangelical churches, women are expected to be quiet during worship services. I knew of one church (Mennonite) where women were not permitted to sing the first note or two of any song lest they are guilty of “leading” men. I attended a number of their services, and the men would start the singing and then the women would join them a note or two later. I knew of another church (Sovereign Grace Baptist) where women were not permitted to speak during the services. If a woman had a prayer request, she was expected to whisper the request to her husband or another man, and he would make the request known. This same church would not allow women to ask questions during business meetings. If a woman had a question, she was to, again, whisper the question to her husband or another man, and he could then ask the question.

In many Evangelical churches, women working outside of the home is frowned upon, if not outright prohibited. In such churches, married women are expected to bear children, cook meals, do laundry, clean the house, teach the children, and submit to their husband’s sexual advances — all without complaint or question. Unmarried girls and women are expected to learn domestic duties from their mothers, preparing them for marriage. In some churches, girls are discouraged from having college or career ambitions. Their future was sealed the moment they were born — a life devoted to husband, children, and domestic duties. Some churches do permit young women to attend church-approved Bible colleges, but only for the express purpose of getting an MRS degree.

I can safely say that Evangelicalism, in general, is anti-woman. While it is encouraging to see some churches abandoning complementarianism for egalitarianism, millions of Evangelical women and girls are members of churches that treat them as subservient, inferior, second-class people. Their lives are dominated by the male species, first as daughters, and then as wives. Attempts to break free from male dominance is viewed as rebellion against God and rebellion against the men He has set as rulers over them. In some instances, rebellious women are brought under church discipline, which leads to shunning until they confess their sin and bow in submission to male authority.

People not raised in Evangelical churches will likely read this post and say, Bruce, surely this is satire. It’s 2017 and women are free to be whatever they want to be. It may be 2017 where you live, but for many Evangelical women and girls, it is the 1940s, or the 1840s for that matter. The driving belief behind the anti-abortion, anti-birth control movement is that God has commanded women to marry, spread their legs when asked by their husbands, and bear lots of children. Women who chase dreams of higher education, athletics, or careers are living lives contrary to God’s plan and his divine order for families and societies. According to more than a few Evangelical preachers, much of what is wrong with the world can be traced back to women not accepting their God-given role as mothers and keepers of the home.

Imagine, for a moment, being raised in churches where women are treated as I mentioned above. Week after week, month after month, year after year, you are reminded of your second-class status before God and man. Sunday after Sunday, your preacher reminds you of your place in the home and church, and your duty to submit to your husband and male church authority. Imagine being a bright, inquisitive girl who has great ambition, only to have these things stomped into the ground by men who say they know God’s plan for your life, and that plan does not include college, athletics, or a career. Even worse, imagine when one of these “godly men” sexually harasses, molests, or rapes you, and if you dare report it, you are blamed for the man’s perverse behavior.

biblical submission

Outsiders rightly ask, why would any woman willingly submit herself to such psychological abuse? Why don’t they stand up against patriarchal thinking and demand equality? Surely, these women want more for their lives than babies, casseroles, and watching the church nursery? Unfortunately, for many women, they were raised in churches that devalued women and it is the only thing they know. Imagine being repeatedly threatened with judgment and chastisement from God if you dare to demand the same opportunities in life as men. Being told over and over that God wants you to live a certain way and living otherwise could lead to pain, loss, and even death, is sure to result in obedience and conformity.

Preachers are God-ordained keepers of divine order. Through their preaching and modeling, women are shown how God wants them to live. Using a plethora of Biblical proof texts, women and girls are frequently reminded of their place, and that not accepting that place means they are being sinful and disobedient to God. These preachers literally demean and harass female congregants with their sermons and Bible quotations. Girls come into this world rebellious against God’s constituted order, and it is up to preachers to use the Bible to beat the rebellion out of them. Countless effervescent girls have been turned into dowdy, rarely-smiling, obedient women who no longer have dreams of life beyond the bed, cradle, or kitchen. Such preaching can and does suck the life out of women, turning them into servants of the male God, their husbands, and male-controlled churches.

The good news is that many Evangelical women are tired of being treated as doormats. They are tired of having their ambitions drowned out by their husbands’ wants, needs, and desires. Evangelical teen girls are increasingly rebelling against their fathers and pastors, demanding that they be treated with decency and respect and afforded the same opportunities as boys. I know of a number of women who demanded the right to take college classes. Many of these women, once they graduated from college and figured out they could live on their own, left their churches and divorced their husbands — proving to Evangelical troglodytes that women must be tethered to the home lest they overthrow God’s order.

My wife and I grew up in churches where complementarianism was frequently preached from the pulpit; churches where women were expected to be married, barefoot, and pregnant; churches where women were expected to do menial labor while the men sat in the gates and did the “real” work of ruling nations, churches, and homes. It should come as no surprise, then, that when Polly and I married, we had what was commonly called a “traditional” marriage, with me being the patriarchal head of the home, and Polly devoting herself to domestic chores and children. Fortunately, both of us saw the light, resulting in fundamental change to our marriage and home. Some of this change was driven by my health problems. I worked for much of our marriage and Polly quietly and happily maintained the home. When fibromyalgia, pain, and neurological problems forced a change of roles, our marriage changed too — for the better, I might add.

The girl I married in 1978 was quiet, soft-spoken, and content to let me be the boss. The bad-ass woman I am now married to is still quiet and soft-spoken, but that boss thing? That ain’t happening. Both of us will admit that we have struggled with our changing marital dynamic. It wasn’t easy at first. It has taken years for the bad thinking from our patriarchal past to be transformed into egalitarian thinking that values and respects people regardless of their sex. Even now, both of us can, on occasion, fall back into our former way of life. I still, at times, want to be the boss, and Polly is content to let me make decisions, especially those that could have negative outcomes. Our new, ever-evolving relationship has taken a lot of conversation, arguing, and forgiving. I can honestly say that our marriage today is better than it ever has been. I love and respect Polly more than ever, even when she still refuses to know what she wants to order when we pull up at a fast-food order window. Each of us recognizes the other’s strengths and weaknesses and our divisions of labor are determined by expertise and not some verses from an outdated, ancient religious text. It’s unlikely that we will ever have the “perfect” marriage, but I can safely say that what was begun almost forty years ago continues to blossom and grow.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Just Say NO to Divorce, No Matter the Reason Says Lori Alexander

divorce

There are women who are STANDING for their marriages. Yes, they are married to disobedient, unfaithful, and difficult husbands [pretty well covers anything and everything a man can do to a woman] but they understand the cost and are willing to obey God instead of listening to those around them encouraging them to take the “easy” way out and get divorced. Several women in the chat room are standing strong in the gap for their husband’s soul and their marriages even though many have told them to divorce their husbands. It is a beautiful thing to witness. Here is one woman who is doing this and encouraging others who have also chosen to stand for their errant husbands:

“You keeping your faith and your testimony is strong, even now. People want to fix the situation; it’s human nature. Most people default to fixing marriage problems by shifting the power from the errant spouse to the hurting spouse, by recommending the hurting spouse use divorce to top from the bottom (regain power and authority over the situation).

“Human sympathy seems appropriate. I always ask people if they’re trying to be more sympathetic than God is merciful. Because that’s really what’s going on: people think that they care more than God does about the errant spouse AND the hurting spouse. ‘Fix this pain!’ cries the flesh. My friends often think I’m completely crazy, or that I must have zero respect for myself for remaining married with things the way they can be.

“What they don’t realize is that they’re not going to be the ones picking up the pieces: they won’t be the ones loading up four children every few days to switch homes and clearing the emotional fallout from that. They won’t be paying to support my children or driving to medical appointments with me alone to help. They won’t be paying the lawyers or therapists; they won’t be training up my children to believe in covenant when they can’t even see it. They won’t be in my home holding babies for me. They won’t be at Court hearings fighting for my children to have stability in the midst of chaos.

“So unless someone’s planning on getting some skin in the game, I just ignore them and smile. Because I’m standing. And I’m standing with YOU!”

— Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Never Encourage Women to Divorce Their Husbands, November 29, 2017

Note:

I know more than a few Evangelical pastors who believe that there is no grounds for divorce; that marriage is until death do us part. Sure sounds to me like these pastors are encouraging women to murder their spouses. Just saying…

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Women Aren’t “Wired” to be Breadwinners Says Lori Alexander

lori-alexander

There are way too many women I hear about who are postponing marriage and having children for their careers. Then when they finally get married, their husbands want them to continue working since they make good money. Reality is proving that this isn’t good for marriage. Suzanne Venker wrote about this. “Nevertheless, the new reality of many women outpacing men educationally and sometimes financially has serious implications for marriage.” God created men to be the providers and women to be the keepers at home. This is His plan and nothing that men and women do today will every change this.

….

No, God did NOT wire women to be men. He didn’t wire them to be the providers. Our hormones prove this. Our physical build proves this. Everything about us proves that this is not our role in society no matter how hard feminists have fought to say that it is. They will NEVER outsmart God and His plan for us. Never.

….

Even though many men want their wives to continue working because they see dollar signs instead of a mother at home with her children, it harms the marriage since the husband is last on the totem pole for the wife’s attention. She only has so much energy and most of her energy must go to her work to keep it, then to her children, then her home, and nothing is left for her husband. It’s too steep of a price to pay for extra money. Way too steep of a price. Men have ten times the testosterone for a reason. They are the ones created by our Creator to go out and “slay the dragons,” as Dr. Laura always used to say. Many women who try to do this eventually suffer from burned out adrenals and ill-health.

….

Half of medical and dental school students are women these days. This is tragic for the women: for the men whose jobs they are taking away, for the lack of children they will be having, and for their future marriage. Stop the madness, women. Don’t pursue a high-powered career that makes a lot of money. Marry a godly husband who wants to work hard and be the provider.

— Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Women Aren’t Wired to Be Providers, November 21, 2017

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Hey Girls, Having Close Male Friends After You Are Married is Unwise Says Bethany Baird

bethany bairdWhen guys and girls are close friends, often someone becomes emotionally attached. One person just wants to “be friends” and the other person is left sad and brokenhearted. I’ve been there! If two people who are “just friends” develop a deep and emotionally driven friendship, one of them is bound to come out with a broken heart.

….

When a guy friend has a listening ear and we’ve got a lot going on, it can be really tempting to pour out our hearts to the closest guy friend available. If guy friends are all we’ve got, the temptation to open up and share the deepest parts of our heart with someone who isn’t our boyfriend or husband is hard to resist.

….

Consider this: Once you’re married [Baird is single, by the way], is it beneficial to maintain deep friendships with guys who aren’t your husband? No way! It’s not wise or healthy. That means that all of your current deep guy friendships are all short-term. If you’re investing most of your time into guy friendships, what will you have once you get married? Who will stand up next to you in your wedding? Who will be there to laugh and cry with, to love, and to challenge you during your future marriage? Guy friendships just can’t realistically be maintained like that long-term.

— Bethany Baird, Lies Young Women Believe, When Guy Friendships Are Easier Than Girl Friendships, November 27, 2017

Black Collar Crime: Former Evangelical Youth Pastor Roshad Thomas Charged with Sexually Molesting Children

roshad thomas

Roshad Thomas, former youth pastor at Calvary Chapel in Tallahassee, Florida and founder of Crosswild Ministries, (link no longer active) has been arrested for sexually molesting children.

WTXL-27 reports:

A former youth pastor has been arrested for sex acts with children.

The Leon County Sheriff’s Office arrested 41-year-old Roshad Thomas on six counts of sex offense against a child.

On July 11, special victims unit detectives spoke to a victim who said Thomas had fondled the victim about 10 years ago when the victim was 13 years old.

As detectives investigated, they found four more victims.

Deputies say each one described sexual encounters with Thomas from 2007-2014. Thomas voluntarily spoke to detectives Monday.

After the interview, he was taken to jail.

According to his LinkedIn page, Thomas was the director of student programs at Live the Life and co-author of Champions, a curriculum for teenage boys.

He is also the founder of realife Inc. and CRosSwild Ministries.(link no longer active)

Prior to that, Thomas served as a high school guidance counselor, community activist, and youth pastor at Calvary Chapel Tallahassee.

The Tallahassee Democrat adds:

A Tallahassee youth counselor who worked at Maclay School as a life management teacher has been arrested in connection with molesting children.

Roshad Thomas, a 41-year-old former director of student programs at Live the Life and Maclay life management, was arrested by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office Monday on six counts of child fondling.

Court documents detailing the incidents have not yet been filed, but Thomas’ name appeared in Tuesday’s Leon County Jail booking report. He is being held at the jail without bond and appeared before a judge Tuesday morning.

LCSO detectives say a victim came forward to say Thomas had fondled him or her about 10 years ago at age 13. Four others came forward during the investigation, according to an LCSO news release. The victims described sexual encounters with Thomas between 2007 and 2014.

After Thomas voluntarily spoke with investigators Monday, he was arrested.

A statement from Maclay’s Director of Communications Kim McWilliams confirmed Thomas was contracted to teach three life management classes in the upper school but that none of the allegations surrounding his arrest involve Maclay students.

“Earlier today, it was brought to our attention that Roshad Thomas, a former member of the Maclay School faculty, who taught Life Management in the Upper School during the 2016-2017 school year, was arrested for alleged sexual misconduct committed prior to 2015,” McWilliams wrote. “Mr. Thomas also worked with several of our sports teams and Middle School Life Management classes. After speaking with the authorities, the allegations do not involve any students from Maclay.”

Emails obtained by the Tallahassee Democrat between parents and Maclay’s Headmaster James Milford that indicate Thomas was hired in 2016 as the lead of a program for character education.

Parents express concern with the contracted “Get Real” program’s connection to Live the Life’s faith-based messaging and teachings. The optional “risky sexual behavior” reduction program was directed at seventh and eighth-grade students and described as secular without mention of faith or religion.

“Get Real training is a highly successful skills course approved by the federal government which teaches students how, why and when to exercise self-control and how to develop healthy relationships,” an email detailing the program to parents said.

McWilliams said Thomas used the “Get Real” curricula along with others in his teaching.

….

Thomas hasn’t worked at the Tallahassee offices of Live the Life since January 2016, said Zac Funari, an executive assistant to the organization’s Founding President Richard Albertson. Funari said the organization was in the middle of reemploying Thomas for a South Florida position but those talks have stopped.

Albertson in a statement said Thomas worked fr Live the Life, along with other organizations, around the time of the incidents but the organization has not been contacted by law enforcement leading him to believe the allegations did not involve children in the program.

“Live the Life was one of a number of agencies that Roshad was associated with during part of the time frame that the incidents allegedly took place,” Alberrtson wrote. “We have not been contacted by the sheriff’s department, any of the victims, or any of the families of the victims, which leads us to believe that all of the incidents occurred outside of Roshad’s involvement with our organization. And if we are contacted by the authorities, we will cooperate in any way possible. If these allegations are true, our primary concern is for the students whose lives have been turned upside down because of the faith and trust they gave innocently to an adult in a position of power and great influence.”

A bio for Thomas appeared on the website of John Rosemond, a parenting and family raising psychologist, public speaker, author and syndicated columnist. It was taken down Tuesday (link no longer active) but included the number for the Tallahassee office of Live the Life and a link to the organization’s website.

….

According to Thomas’ bio page:

Roshad Thomas is an accomplished and world-renowned public speaker, counselor, consultant, and mentor for teens and parents of all races and cultures. He has spoken at numerous organizations, seminars, retreats, churches, and events and has an unparalleled ability to quickly connect with his audience whether it is one person or hundreds. His laid back humorous style coupled with his vast experience allows him to address any issue in a way that is comfortable yet informative.

Having been on the front lines as a high school guidance counselor and community activist for almost 10 years, Roshad is extremely knowledgeable about issues that teens and parents deal with on a daily basis and is able to consistently provide practical guidance and solutions on many levels. This has earned him the title of expert in the eyes of many. When he speaks or presents, his passion, love, and excitement are revealed in a way where you not only leave feeling full of wisdom and inspired, but you’ll immediately want to bring him back.

Roshad is the founder of realife inc. and CRosSWILD Ministries. He received his B.S. in Psychology with honors distinction from Florida State University. He continued his graduate education at Florida State University and received his Master’s and Specialist degrees in Counseling and Human Systems, specializing in children and adolescents. He was certified in Guidance counseling for 12 years by Florida Department of Education. Trained personally under worldwide parent guru John Rosemond in parent coaching. He is also one of the few nationally certified Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialist in the state of Florida as certified by the NAEA and has been invited to be featured on the national website parentguru.com.

– Masters and Specialist degree in Counseling from Florida State University

– Certified High School Guidance Counselor from 2000-2012

– Trained personally under parenting expert John Rosemond

– Certified Parent Coach

– Co-Author of Champions Curriculum for Teenage Boys

– 15 years experience working with teens in Tallahassee

– Certified Specialist in Sexual Risk Avoidance

– Certified Get REAL (Relationship Education and Leadership) Training

– Features on National parenting website parentguru.com

Thomas’ LinkedIn profile states: (link no longer active)

Roshad Thomas is an accomplished and world-renowned public speaker, counselor, consultant, and mentor for teens and parents of all races and cultures. He has spoken at numerous organizations, seminars, retreats, churches, and events and has an unparalleled ability to quickly connect with his audience whether it is one person or hundreds. His laid back humorous style coupled with his vast experience allows him to address any issue in a way that is comfortable yet informative.

Having been on the front lines as a high school guidance counselor and community activist for almost 10 years, Roshad is extremely knowledgeable about issues that teens and parents deal with on a daily basis and is able to consistently provide practical guidance and solutions on many levels. This has earned him the title of expert in the eyes of many. When he speaks or presents, his passion, love and excitement are revealed in a way where you not only leave feeling full of wisdom and inspired, you’ll immediately want to bring him back.

Roshad is the Director of Student Programs at Live the Life and founder of CRosSWILD Ministries. He received his B.S. in Psychology with honors distinction from Florida State University. He continued his graduate education at Florida State University and received his Master’s and Specialist degrees in Counseling and Human Systems, specializing in children and adolescents. He was certified in Guidance counseling for 12 years by Florida Department of Education. Trained personally under worldwide parent guru John Rosemond in parent coaching. He is also one of the few nationally certified Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialist in the state of Florida as certified by the NAEA.

To set up an appointment or book him as speaker, call Live the Life at 850-668-3700 or visit www.livethelife.org.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Thomas was a youth pastor at Calvary Chapel in Tallahassee, Florida for almost fourteen years. For seven years, Thomas was the student life director for Live the Life. Live the Life’s website states that their mission is:

Communities will become “divorce-free zones”, where divorces are rarely, if ever, wanted or needed, and where strong marriages are encouraged, nurtured, developed, and maintained. As our dream comes true, more children will grow up in safe, happy, and healthy married families characterized by nurturing parents, permanence and better life outcomes.

Update

The Tallahassee Democrat reports:

As many as 10 men have come forward telling Leon County Sheriff’s Office investigators they, as teens, were fondled by Tallahassee youth counselor and pastor Roshad Thomas.

Thomas, who already is facing six counts of child fondling, was charged with an additional five counts of lewd and lascivious acts or exhibitionism with children on Tuesday.

After the 41-year-old was first arrested on July 17, LCSO investigators learned more about how he used his position to gain access to young boys. Five others came forward to say they too were victims.

One man, who was 12 at the time of the incident, said his parents asked Thomas to counsel him during their divorce. The first time he was “groped,” the now adult victim told investigators, was when his parents dropped him off at a Walmart parking lot and he left with Thomas.

From that encounter in 2009, according to court records, he was fondled by Thomas as many as 10 times.

The victim said after he turned 15, Thomas called to say, “I hope you understand I love you and anything I might have done to you was purely out of godly love,” according to court records.

The other four victims leveling accusations against Thomas, who at one point worked as a counselor at various churches in Tallahassee and as a life management teacher at Maclay School, said they were groped while spending time at his home.

The victims ranged in age from 11 to 15, according to court records. The reported incidents date back to 2007.

Each told LCSO investigators Thomas would grab their genitals in a joking manner and would create a feeling of trust between them. One said Thomas told him he had been approached about being too playful when he touched the boys and indicated he would stop if asked.

….

 

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Godly Men are on a Superior Level to “Unsubmissive” Women

wives submission

Good men, God-fearing men are very very important. We all heard “cut off the head”, right?!?! The enemy knows this so he makes it a point to destroy relationships between man and woman. Satan hates the man that knows not only to protect the woman from the dangers of the natural world but also from the more dangerous  supernatural world. These men are rare, the ones that lead families etc. in the ways of God. They’re on another level placed there by their continued submission to God. Promoted by God for His glory. So that woman must get on his level. Not the level he put himself on but the level God is placing him on. Samson was messing with females that weren’t on his level and it cost him his life and anointing. The woman can’t jump ship when the trials and tests hit the home. She shouldn’t tell the man to “curse God and die” like Job’s wife did, because she blames him for all the drama and pain in her life, yet he was blindsided by it all too. A woman that submits to God and a man of God will be honored by her husband. He will brag on her at the gates, lol. God created an order, a structure. Women say they want good men but for some reason they keep throwing their lures in the same wrong pond(club, bar etc). Murky water! God’s pond crystal clear but get your level up ladies by seeking Him and He just might grant you access to peaceful waters.

— EmJay, Seeking His Kingdom, A Word to the Ladies From EmJay, April 25, 2017