Complementarians claim that they do believe in equality of the genders, but that men and women have different roles. However, their behavior says they do NOT think men and women are of equal value. Complementarian Phyllis Schlaffly is a lawyer who works with father supremest groups to repeal WAVA, the Women Against Violence Act, which allows women to obtain a restraining order to protect themselves from their abuser. Apparently, Phyllis thinks the right of men to maintain authority over their wives through threats, verbal assault and physical punishment ought to be protected, even though their wives are afraid for their lives and frequently the wives who are afraid of their husbands do end up severely battered or even murdered by their husbands. Schlaffly claims it is unconstitutional to inflict a restraining order on a man without finding him guilty in a court of law.
On the other side, people like Bruce Ware suggest husbands would not beat their wives if wives submitted. The first thing pastors tell wives who complain of being abused by their husbands, is to go home and submit to their husbands. In other words, Ware and friends prejudge wives as guilty without a trial.
When couples go to pastors for counseling, pastors tend to focus on wife submission. Only after they have been working with the couple for 6-12 months or more, and see that the wife is actually submissive and docile, do they even begin to suspect the husband may be at fault. By that time, they have helped produce such an extreme imbalance in the marriage, it is frequently beyond saving because their intervention has taught the husband that he is lord, king, master, and god of his wife, and the husband is unwilling to relinquish his entitlement and privilege.
So on the one hand, complementarians refuse to believe a man is guilty of abusing his wife until the truth is so obvious they can no longer deny it. On the other hand, they refuse to believe the wife is NOT guilty of insubordination and insist she must be at fault, until the truth is so obvious they can no longer deny it.
Just how is this presupposition equality? Clearly complementarians believe men are more righteous, more believable, more right than their wives, and their behavior is more justifiable. Complementarians also believe wives are liars, untrustworthy, selfish, unrighteous, unscrupulous, rebellious, God haters, men haters, & etc., and their behavior is NOT justifiable. And these beliefs continue in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
I repeat: how can they claim their teaching/belief is equality of the genders? Doesn't this show a belief in male superiority and female inferiority? In fact, this shows they do NOT deal with men and women, husbands and wives, with anything remotely resembling equality. It is NOT just about differing roles. It IS about inequality and about MAINTAINING that inequality.
Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See www.wanetadawn.com A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.
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