Friday, August 30, 2013

Kendra Weddle Irons on Gender Complementarity and the Christian Right: "Continuation of Christianity . . . Depends Almost Entirely on How Well Women Submit to Their Men"

At her Ain't I a Woman blog, Kendra Weddle Irons explains why the notion of gender complementarity and of female submission to male rule looms so large in the thinking of the Christian right--why this notion has now become the most important articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae of our time, the doctrine on which the church stands or falls in the thinking of the Christian right:

Any woman who rejects her God-ordained role as a submissive wife diminishes the glory of God because her clear divine calling of a wife is to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and to carry through on his direction. To do any less than this or to doubt this is God’s designed plan is to reject the notion of womanhood and also to disobey not only to her husband but, by extension, God. 
Gender differences and roles are not peripheral aspects of faithful living but are instead essential in the life of a good Christian because without a wife duly submitting to her husband the sacrificial love of Christ for the church is not appropriately conveyed. It is only through the perfect model of a Christian marriage that God’s honor is reflected and Jesus’ sacrifice is clearly understood. 
You see, this is critical stuff. Most likely the continuation of Christianity as we know depends almost entirely on how well women submit to their men and given the devil’s successful campaign against biblical womanhood waged through the secular feminist movement, all truly Christian women need to return to their own Edens (homes) eager to repair the damaging work Eve started.

This is critical stuff: the continuation of Christianity as we know depends almost entirely on how well women submit to their men. It depends on women's willingness to submit to their God-ordained role of submission. God Himself is offended by women's rebellion against God's designed plan.

Men stand in the place of God in the world--heterosexual men do so, that is. In demanding the submission of women (and feminized men) to themselves, heterosexual men are simply upholding the natural order of creation, which the Creator Himself (the big Heterosexual Man in the Sky) wove into the nature of things from the outset of creation. The sustenance of the entire world and of the Creator's plan for salvation depends on how well men rule and how meekly women (and feminized men) submit to this rule. 

As Fred Clark (from whom I've garnered the link to Kendra Weddle Irons's fine posting), says,

For these folks, men’s authority over women and women’s submission to that authority is a central, essential keystone to their whole understanding of Christianity. Take it away and everything falls apart.

Hence the "litmus test" of opposition to tolerance and acceptance of homosexuals (that is, of gay men primarily) now promoted by one right-wing Christian after another, Fred notes: ask Christians of the right to shift their understanding of gay people and gay life, and you ask them to deconstruct the entire foundations of their faith, because they've built their faith on the foundations of gender complementarity, with its demand that women submit to the authority of men. And in the "rebellion" of gay men against the authority of heterosexual males, Christians of the right see the rebellion of women, quite specifically . . . . 

This is a fine plan for things, isn't it? If one happens to have been made by the big Heterosexual Man in the Sky a heterosexual male, it is. 

For the rest of us beings who, sadly, were designed by God to occupy the lower perches of the order of creation, it's less than enchanting, so that I wonder why Joseph Bottum has recently argued that "we" need to find ways to re-enchant a world "we" have forgotten how to enchant, without ever seeming to realize that the disenchantment of so many people with "Christianity" has quite specifically to do with the ludicrous claims of conservative heterosexual men that they and only they speak on behalf of the Deity. And that the rest of us have no songs worth singing (the word "enchantment" speaks of singing), but should listen in awe to the one single song that matters in the world, that of straight men who claim that their chant echoes the divine chant in a unilateral, unique, and all-surpassing way.

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