Liberation from the Patriarchal Church by R.H.
The pastor reminded me I needed to be submissive to my husband and all would be well.
The mental and emotional abuse, infidelity, and violence were not demonstrated during our year-long courtship. They came about after we moved to rural Idaho. In despair, pain and shame, I sought out the counsel of the family’s pastor.
President Jimmy Carter’s book, A Call to Action: Women, Religion and Power, expressed what I experienced. He addresses the suffering inflicted upon women by a false interpretation of carefully selected religious texts. Carter reveals how key verses are often omitted or quoted out of context by male religious leaders to exalt the status of men and exclude women. Carter states, “… the social creation of gender roles is not ‘the divine will.’ Gender roles are the result of human social control, greed, power politics, and the continued pursuit of sexual gratification that blames all women for the crime of seducing men.”
Over the years I realized the church betrayed me and our daughter.
Its focus was on my staying in the marriage; being complicit in keeping order over myself and our child, and assuming blame for his behavior. A good woman could turn him around.
After the divorce, within church walls or teachings, I gained no comfort. I was the woman who had a failed marriage. The status of my husband in this failure was of no matter. Anger and disappointment led me from institutional religion. I stay away to protect my heart, mind, and soul.
The church is not a friend of women.
The church needs to release its role of enforcing and protecting patriarchy rules that don’t reflect Christ’s teaching. As Carter wrote, “Jesus Christ was the greatest liberator of women in a society where they had been considered throughout biblical history to be inferior.” He and his wife resigned from the Southern Baptist Church, after 70 years due to a choice by the new leaders who promoted interpretations of the Bible including the requirement for wives to be "submissive" to their husbands.
Divorce allowed me to become liberated from the patriarchal church.
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