“The Religious Abusers…” It’s not the name of an Alternative Rock Music group. It’s not a 12 Step Program for Controlled Substance Drug Addicts Who Practice A Spiritual Belief System.
This is a holy roller religious group of bombastic church pulpit bullies who wear humble holy hats to the congregation, but in reality are nothing more than theological thugs behind closed doors. When and if they’re not beating down and abusing their own Wives, they’re incompetently signing off on the abusive marriages many of the women in their congregations are caught up in.
“Submission Strategics” is the mantra most Pastors apply in marriage counseling. The vast majority of Church’s across the United States are simply not prepared for the dynamic of domestic violence now being brought in record numbers into marriage counseling sessions. Many christian counselors/ministers are not trained to deal with the social dynamic of domestic violence and usually revert to scriptures on wifely submission. You know, the old societal standby of when in doubt, “blame the victim…”
Why is it that the predominant school of thought is to always suggest that somehow its the victims fault for her abusers violence. That somehow the victim is not being the fullness of a biblical Wife, through not being submissive enough to her husband.
That somehow she has neglected the duties of being a biblical wife and therefore has irresponsibly brought this violence upon herself. Clean the kitchen more often; yield to him when he demands to be physically pleased (a sign-off on marital rape); consider quitting your job and staying at home, etc;.. are some of the absurd suggestions and advice given to victims of domestic violence who seek help from the Church.
Sadly, this dynamic crosses all denominations of the Christian faith. The predominance of male headship in the Body of Christ regrettably can often lend itself to an insensitivity to its female congregants. Pastors who struggle with the issue of abuse must first stop trying to sugar-coat the issue by scripturally blaming the victim while religiously exonerating the abuser.
Holding the abuser first and foremost accountable for his actions of violence is morally demanding upon any church leader. Let that Pastor use the moral power of the church to shame the abuser, convict him by his conscience to change his ways. Let that Pastor prioritize protecting the victim and the children. That is what JESUS would do.
This proactive stance will burn itself into the conscience of the abuser and remove whatever religious veil of God he was hiding behind to justify his deplorable and despicable acts of abuse. This is vitally most important if the abuser is an Associate Pastor, Deacon or holds some other prominent position within the church.
Until that abuser fully repents and commits himself to a six to twelve month fully licensed anger management course for treatment, coupled with extensive bi-daily Pastoral counseling, then any further attempts of marriage counseling will be in vain. Let the Church serve as a true place of refuge and biblical teaching: “Husbands are to love their Wives as Christ loves the Church, and gave himself up for her, to make her holy – Ephesians 5:25-26…”
Let the church be a place not of complicity and an accessory after the fact for victims of abuse to fear, but rather a true place of healing, protection, courage and love for a Wife, as a sanctuary of hope, leadership and true faith. IJPN – In JESUS Precious Name.