can’t say no to God: conservative Christianity and consent: I’m not sure that consent and conservative Christianity can coexist together. Rape and sexual assault are wrong because of purity reasons, because of property reasons, because of a vague “don’t hurt a child of God” reasons, but no one ever taught me that it was because it is my body and no one is allowed to violate it reasons. ...
God created our loneliness, but will wait on our permission…permission brought about by the inability to handle the pain any longer, pain he purposefully created so that we would come to him. He inflicts the knife wounds, hoards the medicine and waits patiently until we can no longer stand the torture and “consent” to the only “choice” we have to keep us alive.
God in Reeboks In God’s eyes, I was a worthless sinner. Any good I might do was nothing more than filthy rags to God [ed note: I to this day vividly remember this Bible study lesson; we were ask to generate a list of things like used tampons and snotty Kleenex then we were told that is what are good deeds are to God. Yeah.]. God’s spokesmen (Baptist church pastors, of course) were constantly reminding me of this. If I were truly humble, I’d realize the wickedness of my own heart and stop trusting myself, my emotions, my thoughts. I’d stop trying to be independent and I’d put my future in God’s loving hands.
[an abusive God] told me “Love me, or I’ll send you to be tortured for all of eternity.” [an abusive boyfriend] told me “Love me, or I’ll blackmail you, yell at you, hurt you, kill you.”
A Church Group, a Lawsuit, and a Culture of Abuse It’s no accident that so many allegations of serious abuse have arisen across SGM’s churches. The combination of patriarchal gender roles, purity culture, and authoritarian clergy that characterizes Sovereign Grace’s teachings on parenting, marriage, and sexuality creates an environment where women and children—especially girls—are uniquely vulnerable to abuse.
Critics of evangelical sexual mores have noted the connections between demands for female modesty and chastity and a culture where these same bodies are constantly exposed to sexual violence and abuse. As E.J. Graff put it her analysis of the global implications of the gang rape and murder of Indian medical student Jyoti Singh Pandey, purity culture, whether in India or America, casts “women’s bodies [as]…primarily for procreation or male pleasure… a culture in which women must cover up or be threatened is a rape culture.” [Emphasis mine]
If, as Graff writes, purity culture is rape culture, then the submission culture that exists in many conservative evangelical churches is abuse culture. The level of deference and obedience that children are expected to pay to parents, wives to husbands, and girls and women to an exclusively male leadership is so extreme that it encourages—and sometimes outright demands—submission to men who use their power to abuse.
At Sovereign Grace, abuse culture was literally a part of the teachings. The allegations against CLC co-founder Larry Tomczak bring to mind his bizarrely titled 1982 book God, the Rod, and Your Child’s Bod, a parenting guide that was in heavy use at SGM before his departure. In it, he advises parents to keep multiple instruments for beatings in handy locations so they can “apply loving correction immediately.”