I recently had two separate interactions with Christian men that I found disturbing, to say the least. As I pondered these situations I realized that they represented a good topic for a blog post…so here we are.
The first situation involved an interaction I had on Twitter. Normally, I find Twitter to be a great resource. I’ve been active on Twitter for about two years and have two separate accounts there: one is a personal account and the other is based around my website, but they often do overlap.
As I said, I normally find Twitter to be a great resource for political news, posts by other homeschoolers, and for general encouragement and friendship. I’ve made some great connections there and was even able to get my son in touch with someone who’s helping him out in regards to a specific job he’s pursuing.
But as with anything else in life, you sometimes come across disappointing, annoying or even offensive material on Twitter. For the most part I simply let it roll off, or if the person I’m following is a jerk on a consistent basis, I’ll just unfollow them.
On the other hand, since the people I interact with there are (presumably) adults, I also think you should be able to call attention to something they post that is inaccurate or even downright offensive. Hence, my recent interaction with a man on Twitter that I will call “Tom.” Tom’s bio picture leads me to believe that he’s old enough to have some manners. Moreover, in his bio he says that he is “a child of God.” Which is precisely the reason I messaged him about his comment. Clearly, if you are going to publicly claim to be a Christian you better be willing and able to at least attempt to live up to that claim. Not that you’re going to be perfect, but you should not only strive for “Christlike-ness” but you should also be willing to offer apologies and make amends when you fail.
In any case, the post by Tom that I found so offensive was a so-called “joke” about murdering women. It was disgusting – along the lines of the way a serial killer might murder a woman and dispose of her body. How anyone can think this is funny I don’t know but particularly for a Christian man to find this humorous was incomprehensible to me. I sent him a polite message stating that, as a woman, I find jokes about murdering women to be offensive.
Now, let me first describe what would have been the right response to my objection. It should have gone something like this: I can see how you would find that offensive and I apologize for my insensitivity.
Not so difficult, right?
The response I did get from this “child of God?” His response was essentially something along the lines of: “Go to hell.” Seriously.
As I pointed out in my opening remarks, this wasn’t the first time in recent months that I had encountered this kind of treatment by a Christian man. We have a local talk radio show that represents itself as being conservative and, furthermore, since I know the lead commentator was once an associate pastor at a church I used to attend, I know that he considers himself to be a Christian.
In the case of this local talk radio “personality” – there was a promo for his show a couple of months back that was basically mocking Michelle Bachmann for taking a stand against pornography. Frankly, I wasn’t quite sure whether the intention was to mock Michelle Bachmann or to defend porn but either way, a show that is supposed to be conservative hosted by a man who publicly claims to be a Christian should certainly NOT be mocking a principled conservative woman who is taking a stand against porn (which is essentially a cancer eating away at our society).
So I sent him an e-mail. It seems this is the only way to contact people these days so that’s what I did. I pointed out, politely I believe, that a show that purports to support conservative values hosted by a Christian man should not be mocking a Christian woman who has the courage to publicly state the truth about the horrible effects pornography has on our culture, women and families.
Again, the response I should have gotten would have been something like this: I can see how that promo could have been construed as mocking Michelle Bachmann and that was not our intention. We apologize for any offense it may have caused.
The actual response I received was a condescending rant that almost seemed to defend the porn industry even while stating that, of course, he believes pornography is immoral. I was stunned.
Keep in mind, these were responses from men who claim publicly to be Christians. It’s not like I’m writing Howard Stern to say I find his material to be utterly offensive to women! Why would I? That’s what Stern is trying to do and no one would (or should) consider him to have any morals much less any Christian sensibilities.
But Christian men who tell women to go to hell as opposed to offering a polite apology? What is wrong with these men? As I have pondered this conundrum I have tried to get to the root cause that would make grown men so lacking in any kind of proper sensibilities. I doubt that these men were raised to behave so abominably. So my conclusion has been that this is a result of the sexual immorality and debauchery that pervades our culture and causes men to perceive women as objects rather than as people. It is a result of a society where the notion of individual responsibility is about as rare as the chances of me winning “American Idol.” It is the result of a perceived, but not actual, anonymity that dupes people into believing that the person on the other end of that internet connection is not deserving of respect. There may be more reasons but these are the ones that come readily to my mind.
We live in a post-“women’s liberation” environment that has warped men’s sensibilities. Even men who claim to be Christian. And this is where you moms (and dads) need to step up to purposefully raise your sons to have a different worldview in regards to women.
Before I go further I feel I should share some of what my worldview is in terms of women’s roles. I believe the best description is that I consider myself a “conservative feminist.” What do I mean by “conservative feminist?” Well, for one thing I don’t subscribe to the traditional interpretations of many of the Scriptures that deal with the interactions between men and women and specifically, husbands and wives. The truth is, those interpretations all came from men. If you want an outstanding resource that explains my position on these questions I recommend Who Said Women Can’t Teach by Charles Trombley.
On the other hand, when I say “feminist” I’m talking about the type of feminism that defined such women as Susan B. Anthony who was a strong opponent of abortion and sexual immorality. In fact, I do believe that (generally) a mother’s primary role is in the home raising her children. But I also believe that our daughters should go to college and develop their giftings outside the home because, frankly, no one knows what the future holds and no one can know if it’s even in God’s plan for their daughter to be married. In all likelihood your daughter will marry, but can you know when God will bring the right man into your daughter’s life? Of course not. Furthermore, I believe she needs to learn to be independent because even if she does marry, what if she should become a widow at an early age? (It happens.) So much of the “patriarchal” movement in homeschooling fails to recognize that life is not as tidy as they make it out to be.
(Oh, and one more thing…higher education and the development of her gifts will only help your daughter to be an even more amazing homeschool mom.)
With all that being said, there is no question that the so-called “women’s liberation movement” of the ‘60s and ’70s was anything but. (I might also add that I don’t believe the “feminists” of that time were truly feminists – their focus was not on the qualities that make women unique and valuable but rather they were intent on advancing a godless morality and a political philosophy that would best be described as Marxism.)
The fact is (and few people are actually aware of this) the Roe v. Wade court case that made abortion legal (at every stage of development for any reason) was financed in part by Hugh Hefner. The deception that has been perpetrated against women of our era is diabolical. The whole reason for “The Pill” and legalized abortion was so that men could have sex whenever, wherever, and with whomever they want without consequences. Women’s Lib actually resulted in women’s bondage to the lusts of men. It’s a sad, sick truth.
And another truth is, Christian men have not been immune to the effects of the moral dumbing-down of our society. Furthermore, they seem to not even realize it. How else do you explain Christian men who can’t (or won’t) make a simple apology to a woman for a comment that should be obviously offensive? Are they afraid they will lose their manhood card if they show some sensitivity to a woman’s feelings?
I know it’s probably a hopeless wish, but I do wish that every man could somehow comprehend how utterly different life is for a woman. And yes, more difficult as well. What I am referring to specifically is the issue of women being victimized. How many men even think twice about walking into a deserted parking garage? How many men think twice about walking alone at night to the corner convenience store (or a friend’s house or anywhere for that matter)?
On the other hand, women have to always keep in mind the possibility that they could very easily become a victim of assault, particularly sexual assault. How many men do you think pattern their life in any way so as to avoid being raped? Yet for women, it affects our lives every single day. When I walk into a deserted parking garage I need to remember to have my keys out and ready, either so I can make a quick escape in my car, or so that I can use them to gouge out the eyes of an attacker! I know that I should never walk alone at night but if for some reason I have to (for instance, to get to where my car is parked) I should make sure that I am walking in a well-lighted area (which means that when I park my car I need to make sure it’s in a well-lighted area even if when I park it, it’s still broad daylight!)
Moreover, if you are a woman (like me) who enjoys taking road trips alone, it certainly is a calculated risk. You definitely don’t want to find yourself stuck somewhere on the interstate. Yet I refuse to allow the threat of harm to completely control my life. I love to take road trips alone, and I do. But I always make sure I get my car into the shop for a “checkup” beforehand.
Frankly, it’s a constant balance for women: how much do we allow the risk of sexual assault to determine where we go and what we do? We try to use wisdom while at the same time pursuing a normal life where fear does not control us. I am absolutely convinced that very few men, if any, have given any thought at all as to how much women adapt their lives to the ever-present threat of becoming a victim.
But the sad truth is, women are victimized every day – let me be specific – they are sexually assaulted every day and in most cases the people in their lives will never know that. I guarantee you that most (if not all) men are absolutely clueless to the fact that their mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces, or friends have more than likely been a victim of sexual assault at some point in their lives. Because it’s something we just don’t talk about.
What does this have to do with my original premise concerning the stunning responses I had from the Christian men I mentioned? It’s this: moms (and dads) need to be helping their sons to understand that life is different for women. When a women objects to a “joke” about murder, maybe that’s because she knows women that have been murdered by boyfriends or husbands. (I do.) Maybe it’s because a woman is all too aware how tenuous her existence can be if she makes even the slight mistake of parking in a not-so-well-lighted parking lot.
It’s a tragic fact that women more and more have to “watch their backs” lest they become a victim of sexual assault. I’m absolutely convinced that our pornography-saturated culture is breeding sexual predators at an alarming rate. I also believe that many young men, especially of college age, are more likely than not to rape a woman if they get the chance and think they can do so with impunity. (And it seems all a guy has to say these days is, “it was consensual,” and he’s given an automatic pass). It is a sick truth that if a guy sees a drunk girl at a party he is far more likely to be thinking of a way he can have sex with (i.e. rape) her than he is thinking of a way to protect her from the other guys.
So it’s up to Christian moms to consistently and purposefully teach our sons what it is like to be a woman and how dangerous the world can be for those of us who have two X chromosomes. They also need to be taught that being a polite, caring, considerate Christian man doesn’t just mean opening a door or two. It also means realizing that in this world that is so different for women, they need to develop a sensitivity to how women may perceive a comment that, for instance, portends to joke about violence toward women. They need to be considerate and sensitive enough to actually step up and apologize every once in awhile. Even if they think the woman in question is over-reacting or over-sensitive. So what? Will it really hurt them to say, “I’m sorry?” Of course not.
Yes I believe women should be confident, smart, and independent. It’s quite possible their life will depend on it. But I also believe men, and especially Christian men, should be more than willing to be sensitive to a woman’s viewpoint. They should be more than willing to defend women and they should be more than willing to go the extra mile to not be offensive. And when they are offensive – and again, no one is expecting you guys to be perfect – they should be more than willing to apologize. THAT is what a real man would do.Print This Post