Evangelical churches should stop trying to have it both ways


It turns out that the pastor of the evangelical church that the shooter who is accused of killing eight people including six Asian women in Georgia attended has some rancid views about women.

In recorded sermons that have since been deleted from the church’s web site, lead pastor Jerry Dockery decried “radical feminism” and criticized recent shifts in gender roles as the work of Satan.

“Radical feminism has engulfed our culture like a tsunami,” Dockery told his congregation on September 20, 2020. “We’re now striving for gender neutrality, for gender fluidity, you name it. It’s just gender whatever-you-want. And I would say to you that this is a blatant, a blatant—I will say it one more time—a blatant guidance, direction and strategy of Satan to oppose and usurp the authority of God.” 


The church makes clear it takes a strict stand against sex outside of marriage. 

“We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman,” the church’s bylaws state. “We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, polygamy, pedophilia, pornography, or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God.” 

Yes, that is just the kind of thing that would generate feeling of Chrisitan benevolence towards one’s fellows, isn’t it? It is interesting how they proudly post these things until someone actually acts consistently with them.

The head of the Asian American Christian Collaborative says that evangelical churches need to do some serious soul searching in the wake of these attacks.

Raymond Chang, a Korean American who is head of the Asian American Christian Collaborative, told the Washington Post earlier this week that he was disappointed but not surprised to learn that the suspected gunman was a Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) member.

“One of the things that is difficult about white evangelical Christian churches and spaces is that they struggle to talk about race and racism in any meaningful way and create conditions in which racism and white supremacy can sadly flourish,” said Chang.

He said the SBC “need to wrestle with whether they had a part systemically in the long chain of discipleship in producing someone that could do something like this”.

Samantha Bee uses the recent murders in Atlanta and of the young woman Sarah Everard in London to decry the fact that some people, including the authorities, try to shift part of the responsibility onto women to change their behaviors, without focusing on the fact that it is the men who have to change.

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This is a very tricky balance to maintain. Of course, women have every right to expect to be safe doing the normal things that men take for granted, like going about their daily lives, and that is the goal we should strive towards. On the other hand, the current reality is that there are men who seek out isolated women to attack, especially at night. Is advising women to avoid isolated settings at night good safety advice or is it helping to perpetuate the existing inequalities in expectations of safety?

It is not unlike ‘the talk’ that Black parents give their sons about the very careful behaviors they must engage in when dealing with the police in order to avoid being shot, something that white parents do not feel the need to do. Is giving that talk perpetuating the current system of police abuse of minorities since it results in police expecting excessively obsequious behavior by Black men towards them or is it a reasonable precaution until things generally improve?

It is always thus. Long-term change comes when enough people refuse to conform to an unequal system. But initial efforts at creating these kinds of changes usually involve just a few people and doing so risks short-term harm to those individuals challenging the system.

Comments

  1. mnb0 says

    “Is advising women to avoid isolated settings at night good safety advice or is it helping to perpetuate the existing inequalities in expectations of safety?”
    I’d say both. I’d also say that we can’t expect women (and Blacks) to self-sacrifice for the goal of not perpetuating. Somehow such altruism is always imposed on others.

  2. sonofrojblake says

    “Of course, women have every right to expect to be safe doing the normal things {…} . On the other hand…”

    Holy shit. Be careful. There is no other hand here.

  3. says

    The obvious racial aspect of the murders has overshadowed the very misogynistic aspect of them, but that could largely be because we’re used to this level of violence in the US against women but it’s unusual to see it again people of Asian origin, plus there has been a rising tide of anti-Asian violence stoked by the former president seeking to avoid any blame on American COVID deaths.

    Of course, women have every right to expect to be safe doing the normal things that men take for granted, like going about their daily lives, and that is the goal we should strive towards. On the other hand, the current reality is that there are men who seek out isolated women to attack, especially at night. Is advising women to avoid isolated settings at night good safety advice or is it helping to perpetuate the existing inequalities in expectations of safety?

    The problem is placing the onus on women and avoiding any real effort to change violent behaviour in men. We hear the advice all the time, we know what we should be doing. But any attempts to get men to make changes in their behaviour? A perfect example for this blog network is to look at what happened when a woman told men to not ask a woman who doesn’t know you back to your hotel room at 4am in a country she is just visiting while it’s just the two of you in an elevator. The backlash to that is still resonating today, but we know how much blame she would be taking if she took him up on the invitation and something happened because “she should have known better”.

  4. says

    “Of course, women have every right to expect to be safe doing the normal things that men take for granted, like going about their daily lives, and that is the goal we should strive towards.”
    Obviously.
    “On the other hand, the current reality is that there are men who seek out isolated women to attack, especially at night.”
    The solution isn’t, “women, be cautious”, it’s “men, stop preying on women.” And since men clearly cannot be counted on to not attack women and other vulnerable people, men should be subject to certain restrictions on their freedom (i.e. curfews, restricted areas) to keep everyone who isn’t a cisgendered man safe.

  5. lagioiella says

    Many churches breed misogynistic males* that commit all kinds of crimes against humanity. Clergy in many cases will side with the male* offenders because they are dropping 10% of their income (hush money) in their churches bank accounts. On the other, hand clergy and other believers will demonize and shun victims of rape, pedophilia, incest, unplanned pregnancy, etc. abuse the victims with the scripture at Deuteronomy 19:15 telling them they need to “have 2 to 3 preferably male* witnesses” and face their abuser in the company with all male* clergy that will always side with the abuser. Victims will be labeled “sinner, slanderer (For not having 2 to 3 witnesses), apostate (for going to the police or telling another church member about it without having 2 to 3 witnesses), using feminine wiles to tempt a weak man (a child wearing summer clothing or a stranded child hitchhiking)” and other seriously psychologically defective and damaging reasoning. Churches are just men’s clubs and places where voiceless women who are married to sex offenders turn a blind eye to rape and invest, and those that hide them that kowtow to clergy and obey them like the family dog or a farm animal. It is a place where people drink Koolaid laced with stupid pills are told which misogynistic male* fake Christian politicians to vote for even though Jesus said, “My kingdom (old-fashioned way of saying government) is no part of this world.”

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