Monday, September 10, 2007

Do Large Numbers of Evangelicals Believe Women Should Shoulder Part of the Responsibility for Being Beaten?

At least one conservative evangelical is honest about his views concerning women and domestic violence.

Below are the Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson's comments in a media advisory released just today:
>>"Juanita Bynum's comments and actions prove that she's an angry, out-of-control woman. God wouldn't have her discard her marriage in order to promote the domestic abuse issue or any other phony cause," <<>>how can Juanita Bynum be the poster child for domestic abuse before we know the truth about her role in this altercation? <<>>two sides to every story and like too many domestic abuse cases the husband is being tried and convicted based on a one-sided account<<

I believe the Reverend Peterson may be a bit "over the top" in his attitudes concerning women and what he believes is the "role they play" in domestic violence. However, it might surprise some to find out that high-profile conservatives, Dr. James Dobson and Dr. John MacArthur, don't really disagree with him that women should shoulder part of the responsibility for being beaten. I have cited examples in my book, Woman Submit! Christians & Domestic Violence, where these evangelical leaders essentially agree with what Peterson is saying.

In his bestselling book, Love Must be Tough, Dobson high-lighted an example of a woman who, he believed, deliberately provoked her husband into hitting her, so she could show off her “trophy” (that’s what he called her bruises). He portrayed this woman as being a fairly typical representation of battered wives. He completely exonerated the poor, "uncommunicative" husband who inflicted the bruises (that was in the edition I purchased in March of this year. Dobson just released a new edition of that book in April. I do not know if he has changed anything in the newest edition). And John MacArthur came right out and said (in a recorded question/answer session) that many times, he believes the wife provokes the violent behavior of the husband.

The news reported that the attack on Juanita Bynum was perpetrated in a public setting. From what I can gather, there is little to no doubt that Bynum was physically assaulted by her estranged husband. Refraining from physical violence remains entirely within the realm of responsibility of the one committing the violence. There is no excuse for domestic violence regardless of the provocation or lack thereof.

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