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The Proper Christian Wife

Posted by karmalily on March 6, 2009

I’m a pretty hard-core feminist, and this article from MotherJones about conservative Christian wives drove me nuts. Titled “The Purpose-Driven Wife,” it takes a look at the “priorities” of a good Christian wife/homemaker (God forbid a woman have a job). Here’s an excerpt:

Those priorities may include rising early to feed the family, being available anytime to satisfy a husband’s desires (barring a few “ungodly” or “homosexual” acts), seeking his approval regarding work, appearance, and leisure, and accepting that he has the “burden” of final say in arguments. After a wife has respectfully appealed her spouse’s decision – a privilege she should not abuse – she must accept his final answer as “God’s will for her at that time,” Peace advises. The godly wife must also suppress selfish desires (for romance, a career, an equitable marriage), practice addressing her spouse in soothing tones, and maintain a private log of bitter thoughts to guide her repentance. “If you disobey your husband,” Peace admonishes in The Excellent Wife, “you are indirectly shaking your fist at God.”

Let’s hear that last bit one more time: “If you disobey your husband, you are indirectly shaking your fist at God.” I don’t fucking think so.

People who have read some of my earlier posts have probably realized that I’m not a big fan of organized religion. That said, I have no problem with religion. I just think people take it too far. As Gandhi once wisely said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Living in the Bible Belt, I’ve met plenty of women who subscribe to the view that they are somehow inferior to their husbands. Although I usually feel like grabbing these women by the face and shaking them to make them understand that there’s nothing wrong about being a woman, most of the time I feel more pity than frustration. I was lucky enough to grow up in a home where my mother didn’t push religion on me. I was allowed to choose a path for myself. But someone growing up in a strict fundamentalist Christian family would practically be brainwashed from birth.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Fundamentalist Christianity (or, for that matter, fundamentalists of any religion) are one of the biggest threats to American democracy. Far-right fundamentalist Christians are a huge voting block, and helped the worst president in American history get elected. This group of people want to practically push Christianity down our throats – by banning books, placing religion in schools, making laws and constitutional admendments based faith. I can honestly say that I’m more scared of an America under fundamentalist values than of the terrorist-prone America that Republicans would have us believe in.

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State


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