Pat Robertson Advises Husband to Discipline Unsubmissive Wife

  In this video, a letter is sent to Pat Robertson from a complementarian husband, named Michael, who is frustrated that his wife will not submit to him as head of their home. The letter indicates that the wife is not only unsubmissive but also, allegedly, has a tendency to be physically abusive as well. Following is a transcript of the letter along with Robertson's advice:  

Michael: "My wife has become a real problem. She has no respect for me as the head of the house. She insults me and she even went as far as stretching her hand to beat me. I've lost my self-confidence. Her words hurt so much and she refuses to talk through our problems. Please tell me what to do." --Michael 

Pat Robertson: "You could become a muslim and just beat her...This man's gotta stand up to her. He can't let her get away with this stuff.I don't think we condone wife beating these days but something has got to be done to make her...She is just totally ...rebellious... she doesn't want to submit to any authority...That's the problem, she does not understand authority...You can't divoce her, according to the scripture. I say, move to Saudi Arabia!"

Robertson's response is outrageous and irresponsible. The only thing he is concerned about is the fact that this woman will not acknowledge her husband as her authority. 

Judging from the order of Michael's complaints, he (along with Robertson) is most concerned about his wife's lack of submission.  The unscriptural paradigm of male headship is obviously causing major problems within this couple's marriage, but the only solution Robertson could come up with was for Michael to move to Saudi Arabia so he could legally beat his wife into submission.

The second concern mentioned is that of his wife's physical abuse. If this allegation is true, then the husband has only one recourse, that of deciding whether or not to continue living in the same home with a physically abusive spouse. The wife's behavior is not only sinful but criminal as well, and the husband does have the right of legal recourse and protection. 

He does not have the right (as Robertson claims) to MAKE HER submit

As survivors of abuse usually learn (or should learn), the only person we can or should control is ourselves. It is very possible that that the abusive paradigm of complementarianism (male authority) is largely responsible for the problems in this couple's marriage, however, that does not excuse the wife's alleged physical abuse. 

Concerning the alleged physical abuse, Michael has a number of moral and physical options: 1) repent of his own sinful desire to dominate his wife through the false assumption that, as a male, he is appointed by God as head of his home and authority over her  2) continue to live with her and expose himself to her alleged abuse  3) let her know that she may have to pay a personal consequence of losing her marriage over her sin--divorce for abuse is not forbidden in scripture  4) Take advantage of his legal right and recourse of arrest and prosecution against her for her alleged crime of assault.  

Robertson's remarks are shortsighted, unscriptural, and indicative of his own strong belief in female subordination to males. Pat Robertson is a committed complementarian who obviously is so frustrated at the idea of a woman who will not be subjugated that the only solution he can come up with is for the couple to move to the Middle East  where wife beating is legal.

This is complementarianism at its finest.

Woman this is WAR! Gender, Slavery, and the Evangelical Caste System

Woman this is WAR!, examines Bible commentary and translation practices which have historically been androcentric (male centered) and even misogynistic (anti-woman). These have adversely effected understanding of the scriptures, relations between women and men, the happiness of men and women, and, in general, has hindered the work of the gospel, by forbidding women to preach, pastor, or serve as elders or deacons.

The book chronicles the early history of the women's rights movements, as well as the role of church leadership in aggressively suppressing both women's rights and the historical record of Christian initiatives within the movements. Through the complementarian movement, many of the same arguments used to support the institution of slavery, are still used today in suppressing the rights of Christian women. This book documents identical arguments used by Christian leaders against both movements and is an unparalleled resource for all who desire an in-depth study of gender equality from a Christian perspective. The history of women’s rights is traced back [much further than usual] to the very first feminists…who were Christians—godly women, who brought the issue of women's rights to the forefront as they struggled to alleviate the suffering of others, and found they were hindered in doing so for no other reason than the fact of their sex. This work provides valuable historical insight into Christian initiatives in the movements for women’s rights, that are rarely included in Christian literature.


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Hannah said...

The organization that Robertson works for has the responsibility to move him to the background if he won't retire. Stories and articles on that organizations own website do NOT agree with what he said, and they have a responsibility here too.

Yes, I hold Robertson completely responsible for what he said.

Yet, his employer has some responsibility here as well. They clearly need to use him elsewhere, and fine a more mature person to answer audience's questions.

Its just common sense. Why do these places need a hammer on their head NOT to see that?

Cynthia Kunsman said...

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