Media and blogosphere are abuzz with sex abuse stories coming from Patriarchy proponents, Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips. Gothard releases a statement, other Christian leaders defend Patriarchy.
I tell you what, my head is spinning this week with so many items of news regarding scandals by Christian leaders, especially within Christian Patriarchy. But one thing is very clear, Patriarchy is under the spotlight. Patriarchy defenders will be quick to blame this attack on feminists (or women bloggers), or from a society who has turned its back on “proper Biblical gender roles”, etc. This is to be expected. But there is indeed damage control going on these past months and will likely continue as investigations and court cases continue.
A couple of newsworthy items:
Image from my old Basic Seminar Textbook (teachings by Bill Gothard)
Bill Gothard recently issued a statement. Here is an excerpt from the middle of the statement which addresses boundaries he crossed with young ladies. Be prepared to yawn.
My wrong focus produced a further consequence. Families were made to feel that they must “measure up.” This resulted in some parents putting undue pressure on their sons and daughters in order for the family to be accepted. When there was a lack of love or consistency, sons and daughters saw this as hypocrisy and rejected it. Also, many felt that the expectations where so high that they could never measure up to them. This resulted in a feeling of deep defeat.
This emphasis on outward appearance was also manifested by bringing selected young people to serve at the Headquarters and causing others to feel rejected and offended by my favoritism. My actions of holding of hands, hugs, and touching of feet or hair with young ladies crossed the boundaries of discretion and were wrong. They demonstrated a double-standard and violated a trust. Because of the claims about me I do want to state that I have never kissed a girl nor have I touched a girl immorally or with sexual intent.
Ahem, Mr. Gothard, “touching of feet,” the kind of accounts I read from personal testimonies is not normal behavior:
Foot fetishism, foot partialism, foot worship, or podophilia is a pronounced sexual interest in feet. (Source)
Doug Wilson, the pastor who said this about marital sex, “A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts,” shared a few words about the Lourdes-Manteufel vs. Phillips case in this article: Vision Forum and Confessing Your Virtues.
What’s interesting is in the first paragraph, he uses the word “affair.” Does this refer to “extra-marital affair” or “affair ” meaning an event:
Lourdes Torres-Manteufel was 15 when she met Doug Phillips, leader of Vision Forum, back in 1999. On her account, she was an adult when the relationship became sexual. The whole tangled affair is now in the courts, and it looks to become even more tangled and tawdry before we are all done.
It’s important to consider Wilson’s views on sex (the conquer/surrender) issue as we continue digging through his article. Now, keep in mind, that conquer quote had to do with marital sex. Phillips and Torres-Manteufel were not married, so how does he look at this issue for Torres-Manteufel as a single young woman who was an employee of Phillips, one of his church members under his spiritual guidance? (Bolding is done by me for emphasis.)
Now, with brazen threats of suits, Doug Phillips is disobeying the Word in a flagrant way (1 Cor. 6:1-8), and all to avoid paying consequences that he brought down on his own head. The Pauline injunction does apply to Torres-Manteufel also, but Phillips is the one was a teacher for many years, and who professed to understand this principle, and who should be willing to pay every dime he has to prevent this from becoming a greater laughingstock than it already has.
Wilson then goes on to defend Patriarchy and tells us to not view Patriarchy as the issue – that many people get abused without Patriarchy. Patriarchy is Wilson’s core belief, he must defend it. But Wilson claims it was the wrong kind of Patriarchy that caused this problem, not Patriarchy, in general.
Now, what’s interesting is this statement:
But the tell that the wrong kind of patriarchalism was operative in this (along with wrong notions of forgiveness, elder qualifications, etc.) was that after the first incident there was no insistence that Torres-Manteufel be moved to safety.
Moved to SAFETY? Wait a minute. He just said that the Pauline injunction implies to Torres-Manteufel. If she needed to be moved to safety, that implies a risk involved to her. Oh, so this wasn’t consensual and she should have been moved to safety? Did he forget himself for a minute? Which one is it? Is she responsible for her part or not? Keep in mind in the State of Texas there is a clergy ethic law that says there is no consensual relationship between pastor/church member when sex is involved, regardless of the age.
There were a couple of interesting comments in the article. The first came from K. Swanson. Could this be the Kevin Swanson (of Womb Tomb fame)?
Michael Farris, founder of Homeschool Legal Defense Fund Association (HSLDA) and founder of Patrick Henry College has now come out against Doug Phillips. Doug Phillips at one point was an attorney working at HSLDA. It was after his work at HSLDA that he moved to San Antonio area and started Vision Forum.
I appreciate the fact that he is now coming out against Phillips, but it’s a little late. Farris’ primary place for promoting HSLDA has been at homeschool conventions which were essentially a Patriarchal Pleasure Party. This has been going on for over two decades now. So, I suppose again Farris has problems with Phillips’ brand of Patriarchy, but the rest of Patriarchy is okay? (And I haven’t even touched the rape culture at Patrick Henry College which does not receive Title IX funding, so they are exempt from reporting alleged sex abuse cases.) I am concerned when a college that is heavily into law, seems to sneak around the Title IX issue, leaving young women more vulnerable if they are sexually violated on campus.
Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard have wreaked havoc on Patriarchy. Proponents of Patriarchy will be quick to say that these two men were in sin and believed in the wrong kind of Patriarchy, because when Patriarchy works the right way, it is beautiful, yada yada.
It’s not a matter of what kind of Patriarchy, or the wrong kind of Patriarchy, or substituting a nicer word. When women are treated as objects, as personal property, when they are not allowed to question, to think for themselves, that is wrong. When a woman has to surrender to a man who uses sex to “conquer” her, that is wrong. When a woman must go through her husband as mediator to get to God, that is wrong.
If you haven’t had a chance to read Pastor Jeff Crippen’s article, Attitudes that Promote Abuse in the Church: Major System Flush Needed, he touches on Patriarchy and legalism which is something that were in both Phillips’ and Gothard’s teachings. Jeff brilliantly shared about abuse in the church with an illustration of his hot tub needing maintenance. I think you will appreciate this brief article and the simple truths he presented.
Consider the following kinds of unhealthy, disease-breeding germs that inevitably start growing if we neglect the regular maintenance of the application of God’s truth:
- Patriarchy: the notion that men, by virtue of being men, are superior to women (who are inferior, more faulty beings by virtue of being women),
- Legalism: the teaching and practice that announces (overtly or covertly) that faith alone in Christ alone is not sufficient to be justified and loved by God. Works on our part must be added to Christ’s work. This is a particularly nasty spiritual bacteria that doesn’t get flushed out easily. We need regular doses of a loud and clear announcement that Christ is our righteousness! Perhaps banners by the front door of the church, behind the pulpit, on the….well, all over the place.