Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Magical Male Covering and Authority Keeps You Safe (The IFB's Strange Woman)

This post is part of a series examining the “strange woman” doctrine.

The concept of a “strange woman” is an unofficial doctrine** held by some Independent Fundamental Baptists concerning sexually abused girls: They become human garbage and things to be used, to be dispensed with in whatever way is convenient to those who have charge over them. Note that many doctrines in a high demand group are not formally documented but become part of the oral tradition or the hidden curriculum** of their culture and are often more powerful rules than the formally stated ones.

Ron Williams of Hephzibah House offers a very lengthy sermon about this insidiously taught doctrine causing pastors confront occurrences of sexual abuse in their congregations and in educational settings. (Full sermon transcript available HERE. Audio available HERE.)

Just stay at home, and you won't get raped.

Only leave the home with a male covering, and you won't get raped.

QUOTE: Part II, Dinah's Preventable Defilement
But Dinah, for her part, had responsibility too, she was culpable she had her responsibility.

QUOTE: Part II, Far Country Disease
She violated the principle of Titus chapter 2 and verse 5. Now I understand that Titus had not yet been written, but for our benefit the principal of Titus 2:5 is that we should love out homes. . . Because may I say, if you’re not contented with your home then you’re not going to be contented anywhere.
[. . .]
And if you start thinking that someplace else is better than your home, you’re gonna get the far country disease, and you’re gonna get the same kind of mind set that Dinah apparently got here.

QUOTE: Part II, Far Country Disease
See a person that’s content with God, content with family, content with home, content with what they’ve been taught is not going to go out curiosity seeking how do the Pagans of this world live.

Because that’s dangerous. But rather she would have been content to stay at home, she would have been content to be a separated person. . . . But Dinah didn’t, as she went out to see the daughters of the land, she should have known that we live in a world filled with sin. And believe me, we do.

QUOTE: Part II, The Predatory Nature of Men
Egyptians and Canaanites consider women as game. . . . But Egyptians and Canaanites look at women that way. You’re game, to be stalked and hunted, and the mindset of the modern Egyptian and Canaanite is of being a predator.
[. . .]
And if you’ve ever heard of the concept of ‘predatory sex’ that’s exactly what I’m describing right now. . . . So it’s open season on girls.
[. . .]
If you knew what the average man of this world was thinking you’d carry a weapon.

QUOTE: Part II, The Predatory Nature of Men
And by the way, if you’re a Dinah in this kind of a situation, the devil will put in your path peers, friends so-called, who will encourage you.
[. . .]
So girls, may I plead with you, stay under the protection of your mom and dad. Stay under the protection of those that God has placed over you. That’s the safest place in this world to be, if you’re under God’s authority you’re as safe as God wants you to be.

QUOTE: Part II, Defiled Young Women and the Dishonor of Womanhood
May I say in this story, Dinah was unchaperoned. She wasn’t with her brothers, and she wasn’t with her daddy. She was all by herself and that’s how she lost control of this situation.

Rashi (an acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki) was the “father of commentary” who lived from 1040-1105 and worked on the midrash, the extra-biblical texts that sought to fill in the gaps in other Jewish writings. He wrote the first and definitive commentary on the Old Testament and his is the most published, making all other Rabbinical commentaries that followed his own essentially commentaries on his original work as well.  Rashi disliked both Dinah and Leah, Dinah's mother.

     Magical thinking about a "male covering."  Rashi's interpretation of this passage becomes one of the most primary foundations for the mystical doctrine of requiring a male covering through ownership to provide for safety. Had Dinah stayed at home or had been under the supervision of a male, it is argued from silence that she would not have been raped.  This fringe version of Christianity also distorts the Old Testament and ancient Jewish tradition of a bride's price in compensation for raping a young woman

Despite the fact that Proverbs Chapter 31's Woman of Valor goes out of the home to work, to bring food from afar, and buy land after considering the purchase (without note of a male overseer), many patriarchal Christians still hold this interpretation as valid.  It also neglects the examples of women like Deborah (the judge), Ruth and Naomi who journeyed together, or even Jael (alone with her tent peg).  And what of Zelophehad's Daughters?  Even Rabbi Maurice Lamm points out that Judaism allowed women to leave the home freely on their own, even to work, and that they were their own moral agents.  Ancient Judaism allowed women far more freedom than this stripe of patriarchal Christian.

Take note of this quote from Chattel or Person? The Status of Women in the Mishnah by Wegner (pages 4 – 8):

The Mishnah, a book of legal rules compiled by Jewish sages in second century Roman Palestine, depicts a society whose central character is the free adult Israelite male. Possessor of wives, children, land, slaves, livestock, and other chattels, he occupies a sociolegal status not unlike that of the Roman paterfamilias, his counterpart in the dominant culture of the day.

The Mishnah's socioeconomic system, rooted in private property, considers people and things from the perspective of their relationship to the owner or master...

When faced with the need to classify women, the sages treat them very much as they treat the koy [the mythical offspring of a goat and gazelle – a hybrid of a domesticated and wild animals]. They vacillate between defining women as chattel and as person...

To the Mishnah's framers, the, woman presents an anomaly, a “legal hybrid” that defies logical classification. She is “like” a man, hence a person in some ways, and “not like” a man, hence a nonperson, in others.  
As with the koy, the sages, unwilling to recognize an intermediate category, choose to split the woman into her “chattel” and “person” components, depending on context, and treat her accordingly (pp. 4-8).
[. . .]
They perceive the girl not as a human being possessing or lacking sexual experience, but as a chattel whose owner pays bride-price for an intact hymen – an attitude borne out by the casual assumption that men will routinely violate girls in their power, even those of tender years. As shocking as this seems, its chief significance is the perception of the female as a mere sex object (p. 23).
None of this characterizes New Testament Protestant Christianity, particularly in consideration of how Jesus treated women.