Dissecting the marital rape issue

Dear Editor,

House Speaker Halson Moultrie stirred up a hornet’s nest while commenting on a report titled “The Criminalization of Marital Rape and Intimate Partner Sexual Violence Across the Commonwealth”.

Spiritually, Moultrie opined, a husband cannot rape his wife.

The speaker went to great lengths in delineating a dichotomy between the legal and spiritual aspects of the marital union.

By using the term “spiritually”, Moultrie raised a moot point that was borderline reductio ad absurdum and a non sequitur argument to secular Bahamians, most of whom are biblically illiterate.

The question of whether or not a husband can rape his wife is tantamount to the question of whether or not water is wet.

And while in some cases marital rape is downright hard to prove in a court of law, its reality is a no-brainer.

For instance, while the Bible endorses spanking for unruly children, it nowhere endorses the physical, verbal and emotional abuse of children.

Consequently, a parent who crosses the line in meting out disciplinary action against his children cannot use the Bible to justify his physical abuse any more than a husband can use the Bible to justify forcing himself on his wife.

No matter how one looks at it, however, the issue of marital rape raises a whole host of tricky issues — one being a wife who wants out of a marriage for any number of reasons might be tempted to cry “rape” in order to expedite a divorce.

She might even use it to get back at her husband for his philandering.

Indeed, the Moultrie camp poses several serious issues that must be satisfactorily addressed by Equality and Justice Alliance and other feminist organizations that are pushing for the enactment of marital rape laws.

What’s more, the term “spiritually” that Moultrie used conjures up images such as angelic beings, who by their very nature are incorporeal. Consequently, they are asexual beings, according to Matthew 22:30.

I think it was the Bahamas Christian Council which got itself in a heap of trouble over this same sensitive issue some years ago, when some of its members said that the state must stay out of the bedrooms of married couples, while failing to address the issue of the hundreds of welfare recipients who are products of dysfunctional homes.

Marriage is the very first institution God created in the Book of Genesis.

Obviously, the disintegration of the family structure would inevitably lead to the disintegration of society.

Marriage is the union between one man and one woman, according to Genesis 2:24.

According to 1 Corinthians 7:1-5, sexual intimacy is imperative to a marriage relationship; and is not to be coerced by either partner.

Indeed, coercion presupposes the absence of love within a marriage.

Conversely, love is persuasive, according to the late Dr. Norman Geisler in his “Unshakable Foundations”.

Ephesians 5:28 commands husbands to love their wives as their own bodies.

If a man abuses himself, he would be deemed insane by mental health practitioners.

If he sexually abuses his wife, he would be sexually abusing himself, according to the Bible.

The author of the Ephesians and Corinthian Letters is none other than the apostle Paul, who has been unfairly labeled a “male chauvinist” by feminist organizations abroad.

It is worth noting that Paul viewed the woman as coequal with her husband, something that was revolutionary in the Greco-Roman world.

The New Testament elevates the status of women.

The matter of submission that the typical feminist squirms at relates to the various roles within the family structure.

Indeed, by being the head of the home, the husband is tasked with the “spiritual” and physical maintenance of his family, something the wife was simply not designed to do in an ideal world, as the plethora of single parent homes led by women has amply demonstrated.

The woman’s role within the family structure does not imply inferiority, anymore than it implies the inherent inferiority of the children to the father.

For what it’s worth, the Bible is anything but misogynistic.

The marital covenant should not and cannot be used as a pretext for rape.

It is high time that certain elements within the church abandon the tenuous and embarrassing position that rape is impossible in a marriage.

Kevin Evans

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