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Slaps, Punches, Ugly Names

Spouse abuse in the name of the Lord

Patsy Rae Dawson

The counselor at the second largest women's shelter in the United States said, "Even men who aren't Christians use the Bible to justify their abuse."  She continued, "But men claiming to be Christians can be the most violent of all.  We keep secret the location for our shelter for Christian women, because their husbands are so dangerous.  They claim God gives them the authority to beat their wives."

Copyright © 2010 by Patsy Rae Dawson LLC. All rights reserved. See Permission to Reproduce below.

We decry the abuse of women in third world countries all in the name of religion. Yet the same degradation of women goes on in this country among many Christians, who physically, verbally, and financially abuse their wives.

So I wouldn't be naive when women talked to me about abuse, I went through training at the Women's Shelter in Tacoma, Washington, one of the largest shelters in the US. The counselor said, "Even men who aren't Christians use the Bible to justify their abuse."

She continued, "But men claiming to be Christians can be the most violent of all. We keep secret the location for our shelter for Christian women, because their husbands are so dangerous. They claim God gives them the authority to beat their wives."

Christians leaders often condone abuse

A Christian woman gave me the minutes of a men's leadership meeting, also referred to as "secret counsel meetings of the men," where they discussed her plea for them to discipline her abusive husband. Because of their mistreatment of their own wives, these men declined to censor their brother. They said:

"If my wife is out of control, then I can treat her as a child and spank her." "If your wife is sinning, you can discipline any way you decide is necessary, including beating."

"A man is to rule his household, and if he decides it is necessary to beat his wife, he has the authority to do so."

"I can knock my wife out, if it would save her soul."

While they appealed to God to defend their despicable behavior, these church leaders misquoted their proof text, which says, "that a man know how to rule his house."

Ruling a house with slaps, kicks, punches, ugly names, and temper tantrums that would embarrass an alligator, is totally different than knowing how to rule a house. God expects true leaders to earn respect and honor from their families, instead of instilling fear and servitude.

Many religions teach spouse abuse

Many denominations openly teach their men to use authoritarian-style dominion over their wives. If a woman dares to bring up a Bible verse such as the command for husbands to love their wives as their own bodies, she is quickly labeled a "Jezebel." Her questions and pleas for humane treatment are ignored while she is shunned.

Some churches teach their women that if the husband gets too bad, God will strike him dead like he did Nabal. Others try to appease the wives with, "He'll answer for his decisions and treatment of you in the judgment. Your duty is to obey without question, even if he beats you."

God doesn't hear the prayers of abusers

While many of these abusing husbands assume God gave them the right to assault their wives, such treachery ridicules God's love for women. He warned in I Peter 3:7:

You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow-heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

Is it any wonder that lots of churches are dying when the prayers of their men do not reach any higher than the ceiling because of what goes on behind closed doors in their homes?

What a mockery to God when these men are allowed to lead prayers, offer communion, lead singing, teach classes, serve as elders or deacons, and even preach sermons trying to tell others how to love God and their fellowman!

While many churches shamefully excuse spouse abuse, others require these husbands to get anger-control counseling. Peer pressure is one of the most effective ways of stopping domestic violence against women.

What can a wife do?

Sadly, many churches are letting down wives by not applying God-designed discipline to wayward husbands. These wives need to remember that the same God who created the man to be the head of the home also ordained civil governments to punish evildoers.

It is just as righteous for an abused wife to call the police and file assault charges against her husband as it is for her to partake of the Lord's Supper. When churches refuse to condemn spouse abuse, then perhaps the handcuff cure will get the attention of both abusers and church leaders.

The longer abuse continues, the more dangerous it becomes. A woman can call the national domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233 to get help reviewing her circumstances and in protecting her safety.

Spouse abuse in the name of the Lord is vile blasphemy against God. Heaven forbid that any wife should think that she must submit to abuse as her duty to God and her cross to bear for Jesus. Instead, as Paul admonished, let her expose her shameful husband for what he is--disobedient to God's word--by telling the church, and if they refuse to apply peer pressure, by calling the police.

Permission to Reproduce Slaps, Punches, Ugly Names

Slaps, Punches, Ugly Names by Patsy Rae Dawson. Copyright © 2010 Patsy Rae Dawson LLC. All rights reserved.

Slaps, Punches, Ugly Names by Patsy Rae Dawson is available at PatsyRaeDawson.com. It may be copied for noncommercial use only, provided you do the following: 1. Retain all copyright, trademark and propriety notices; 2. Make no modifications to the materials; 3. Do not use the materials in a manner that suggests an association with Patsy Rae Dawson LLC; and; 4. Do not download quantities of materials to a database, server, or personal computer for reuse for commercial purposes. You may not use this material in any other way without prior written permission. For additional permissions, contact Patsy Rae Dawson LLC at Patsy@PatsyRaeDawson.com.