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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Do Some Baptist Beliefs Promote Violence?

I was reading this article by Starhawk today and thought of several comments by Baptists that have been bothering me lately. Here is a brief excerpt:

But patriarchy assigns the qualities associated with aggression and competition to men, and relegates to women the devalued roles of nurturing and service. Patriarchy values the hard over the soft, the tough over the tender; punishment, vengeance and vindictiveness over compassion, negotiation, and reconciliation. The 'hard' qualities are identified with power, success and masculinity, and exhalted. The 'soft' qualities are identified with weakness, powerlessness, and femininity, and denigrated.

Under patriarchy, men are shamed and considered weak if they exhibit qualities associated with women. Politicians win elections by being tough on terror, tough on crime, tough on drugs, tough on welfare mothers. Calls for cooperation, negotiation, compassion or recognition of our mutual interdependence are equated with womanly weakness. In the name of 'toughness', the power holders deprive the poor of the means of life, the troubled and the ill of treatment and care, the ordinary citizen of our privacy and civil rights. Force, punishment, and violence are patriarchy's answer to conflicts and social problems.

Patriarchy finds its ultimate expression in war.... War is the justification for the clampdown that lets the rulers impose control on every aspect of life.

Now for the quotes by Baptists. Here’s Al Mohler on boys and their relationships to girls—He’s contrasting Barbarians and Wimps—he describes wimps thusly: “Wimps, on the other hand, look to women for emotional support, consider girlfriends to be conversation partners, and look to women for pity. They are shameless.”

God forbid a real man (or boy) look to a woman for emotional support or consider them conversation partners! We know how real men should view them don’t we? Almost-humans that can satisfy our desires and serve us and submit to us. AMEN Al!

Another Baptist explains what he is teaching his little boys. Russell D. Moore, Dean of Theology and Senior Vice President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, serves as executive director of the Henry Institute wrote a recent article, “Why I'm Raising Violent 4 Year-Olds.” Below is a sample of Moore’s “wisdom” concerning child-rearing.

This is because of my overall philosophy of childrearing. I am aiming to raise up violent sons.

I am not seeking to raise sons who are violent in the amoral, pagan sense of contemporary teenagers playing "Grand Theft Auto" video games or carjacking motorists. I want them to be more violent than that.

I want them to understand that the Christian life is not a Hallmark Channel version of baptized sentimentality. Instead, it is a cosmic battle between an evil dragon and the child of the woman, an ancient warfare that now includes all who belong to the Child of the Promise (Rev 12). I want them to forgive their enemies, not because they are good boys, but because they understand that vengeance against the Serpent comes not from their hand, but from that of the anointed Warrior-King (Rev 19), whose blood-soaked garments don't often transfer to the imagery of a Precious Moments wall-hanging. And I want them to exercise self-control of their passions, not because it is polite, but because they are called to struggle against the Evil One, even to the point of cutting off their own limbs rather than succumb to devices.

The "Star Wars" movie offered the opportunity to talk through these issues of cosmic struggle with my boys. And to place such themes in context of what they already know from the most blessedly violent bedtime stories they hear every day: the Holy Scriptures.

Thanks Al and Russell! I can now tell my boys not to see girls as persons they can talk to and confide in. I can also encourage them to be violent! I'm so proud to be a Baptist! Guess that's why I'm also Republican!--oops need to burn my ACLU card, join the NRA, and the Republican Party.


At 8:23 PM, Blogger Dr. Mike Kear said...

Stunning. I'm speechless.



At 8:26 PM, Blogger D.R. said...

I like the new design, Howie. But I suggest not using any yellow. You just can't see it.

As for your article, I would say first that you should re-read Mohler. I think he is summarizing Terrance Moore's view. Though he may be supporting it in general, I don't think what you quoted was specifically his opinion, but rather a summary of what he derived from Moore's book. And I think the shameless comment was not to be taken with the rest, but an addendem to the whole, not like "they do thus and thus, HENCE, they are shameless." I just didn't get that from the article.

As for Russell Moore, I think you should be able to relate -- didn't you say that you scare your kids with passages from Deuteronomy? I think that is Moore's point -- that he doesn't want to present a pacifistic view of the world that keeps them from seeing the viciousness of evil or making them feel that fighting against the powers that be is a bad thing to do. We all would agree that we should agressively fight evil in this world. So I think you misunderstood their intent. From my experience with these two men, neither would be seriously trying to incite violence. Have you seen Dr. Moore. He's about an inch shorter than me and weighs about 50 pounds less than me (and I dont think its because I am a little overweight). He ain't starting a fight with nobody!

At 6:42 AM, Blogger Scott Jones said...

I've never noticed Mohler saying something so brazen!

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Howie Luvzus said...

Good points on Mohler. I think Moore's comments were very irresponsible.Just like I called Prescott for his inflamatory remarks in an earlier post, I think Moore as a representative of Southern Seminary ought to be more careful. How tall are you BTW? Mohler looks pretty mean, but I think I could take Russ!

At 8:59 PM, Blogger D.R. said...

I saw Bruce Prescott picked up on your post here and ran with it. I encourage you to read the comment section by Anonymous. I think he did a good job of explaining what Moore was trying to say.

At 1:12 PM, Blogger Jim said...

It just looks like you bolded the seemingly inflammatory comments to pull them out of context. Clearly Moore wants his sons to violent against spiritual enemies, not physical ones.

At 6:14 PM, Blogger JTapp said...

Mohler didn't define wimps, Moore did! Mohler simply quoted Moore's description, but didn't claim it as his own. Just to clarify it since you attributed the thought to him.

At 5:52 PM, Blogger Editor B said...

Starhawk rocks.

At 7:26 AM, Blogger john_m_burt said...

I'm not entirely assuaged by the idea of "spiritual" violence. It sound,s in fact, like an opening for "physical" violence with even fewer restraints.

"This isn't a beating, it's an exorcism. And if the child seems to be a little bit dinged up afterwards, well, the demons we drove out of him were annihilated, so you see the kid's physical form got off easy".

"This isn't a firebomb, it's a vessel of holy oil with which we're going to anoint this contaminated building. It's going to be physically charred but spiritually cleansed when we're done doing these poor souls this favor."

At 9:48 AM, Blogger D.R. said...


Where are you getting these quotes from? Neither are found in either of the two articles this post refers to. Hence you have not proven your point. Please give clarification.

At 1:33 AM, Blogger john_m_burt said...

I made up the quotes as examples of how violent "spiritual" rhetoric can encourage violent acts.

Would you like me to provide a concrete example from the real world?

Well, you could try Googling "World Trade Center". . . .


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