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 Christian 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.
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.