We in this Christian nation must be careful when searching the bible, a book in which the culture is patriarchal to the core, and where women are the property of men, to determine the dignity and respect and the humanity with which women are to be treated in this postmodern moment.
Such an endeavor would be as fruitful as searching Mr. Willie Lynch’s disputed letter or the Southern manual on the management of slaves, to find ways how Massa ought to treat his human possessions with dignity and respect.
Enough already! The bible, far more often than not, does not treat women well.
As a case in point, in the final commandment of the Decalogue she is listed in importance with the domestic animals and the other possessions of men: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
Let me state this vociferously, with all of the vehemence I can muster: this is the 21st Century and women are no longer the property of men.
Her agency or her humanity is not diminished or canceled once she makes a commitment of marriage. When those papers are signed during a wedding ceremony, the man is not purchasing property. Nor is he in the signing purchasing the rights to rape, maim, whip or psychologically erase the humanity of the woman. Nor is the woman signing up for such a chamber of horrors.
I don’t understand the resistance to the marriage rape bill; I don’t understand the fear; I don’t understand why we have not yet codified the law.
I can only conclude that many men in this country want to keep the door opened so that on any given Sunday if they come home and want to inflict violence on their wives, they can do so without any consequence.
What each is saying subconsciously is that this is my property and I should be able to do with her as I want, and no one, particularly the government, should be able to prevent me from doing so. In essence, everybody should stay out of my bedroom business.
But what these men don’t consider is that it is not their business alone. The sacred body of another is in that room.
If there are men who want to turn the matrimonial sanctuary into a chamber of horrors, we must stop them. We must give them no quarter, no room for their vileness. No loving, decent husband will use violence to force himself upon his wife. So we must stop the brutes.
The pursuit of oneness makes no space for violence; in the same way it makes no space for hate or for the dismissal of the other’s humanity.
Oneness makes space for love. And Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth.
Evangelist Rex Major made some statements in the public square on the matter recently. Suffice to say that I find his statements perplexing and reprehensible.
Perhaps Mr. Major has not heard that there are 50 ways to leave your lover.
The view that we should be cautious about enacting a marriage rape law because once enacted women in droves will petition the courts to divorce their spouses is profoundly insensitive, gravely offensive and absolutely nonsensical.
It is my sincere hope that my government will speedily find the courage to ratify this law; that it will not seek the expedient, but would do what is just and right.
– Keith A. Russell