A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Has the Church Embraced the Mindset of Sharia Law in Abuse Cases?

In 2008, the United Nations condemned the stoning to death of a 13 year old girl for fornication. Her crime? She was gang raped and then sentenced to death by a Sharia court.

In 2013, a Norwegian woman was visiting Dubai on business and was raped by a Muslim man. When she reported the rape, she was arrested, tried and convicted by a Sharia court. She was sentenced to jail time before finally being pardoned by the Dubai monarch.

In Bangladesh, raped women are often convicted by Sharia courts for the crime of being raped.

What does this have to do with A Cry For Justice and abuse, you may ask? Isn’t the focus of this site about domestic abuse and the handling of it by church leaders?  Yes, it is; however, what I wish to show is how the way the church often deals with abuse, and those who divorce because of abuse has some similarities with the mindset and philosophy of Sharia law. Please note that I am not calling anyone in the Christian community an Islamist or terrorist, but am only trying to show that the psychology behind the way we treat victims is strikingly similar to radical, fundamentalist Islam.

Let’s examine first the general view of Sharia law toward women in general. Under Sharia, a woman is considered less trustworthy and of less value than a man. This is clear from Qur’an (2:282) where it states that a woman’s testimony is worth only half that of a man’s in court. In other words, a woman is automatically discounted when she testifies about rape. This is proven by the fact that a woman who alleges rape must have no less than four male witnesses to the event who will testify that the man forced himself upon her  Qur’an (24:4 and 13). Note that in these types of cases, the testimony of women is not even allowed, only men.

Contrast that with the way that many churches treat a woman who accuses her husband of abuse. Too often, she is required to meet a burden of proof that is impossible. It is not uncommon for a pastor or elder board to require witnesses to abuse, but since most abuse occurs in secret, there often are no witnesses. If the abuse is primarily emotional, then there are no scars or bruises to prove the woman’s story. Compounding this is the almost endemic belief system in many churches that the woman is automatically suspect because women are considered overly emotional and thus unreliable. Forget the fact that the abuse has taken a huge emotional toll on the woman such that, by the time she reaches out for help, she is desperate while the abuser comes across as cool and level headed. For this and other reasons, the man seems automatically to be believed and the woman blamed for the misdeeds of her husband. (More about blame shifting in a bit)

In Sharia law, the woman is considered a sexual object. Her whole body is “Awrah”, which is essentially Arabic for genitalia. The mere sight of this inflames a man into an uncontrollable sexual urge (according to Islamic belief), which is why they want their women to be covered from head to toe and not leave the house (in the more extreme sects). This is also the excuse they use to say that a woman who was raped caused the rape by simply being present in front of Muslim men. In other words, it was all her fault. Just by the fact that she exists, she is the cause of all a man’s sexual misconduct.

How does the church often treat abused women? They are told that they caused the abuse by not doing the right things. They weren’t submissive enough or they didn’t keep the house clean enough or didn’t look pretty enough for their man. Perhaps, she did not gratify him sexually as much as he “needed”.  Many abusive men will shift blame to even subtle nuances of the way a woman looks at him, or a perceived sarcasm in her tone of voice.  She made me angry! She made me lose control! Like in Sharia law, it is all her fault!

In a similar vein, Sharia law looks on the woman as the property of her husband. In practice, a Muslim woman is subject to anything that her husband wants to do to her, at least sexually. Qur’an (2:223) states that a woman “…is as tilth to you, so approach your tilth when or how ye will…”. Tilth is the Arabic word for arable soil, so the Qur’an is saying that the woman is property to the man, to be plowed and planted as he will. Essentially, there is no such thing as marital rape.

In some Christian circles, especially the patriarchy types, this same attitude seems to prevail not only sexually, but in other ways. We have heard of stories of Christian women who were expected to bend to a husband’s sexual desires whenever or in whatever way he wishes. To deny the husband, in any way or for almost any reason is considered sin. In addition, some in the patriarchy movement have even been known to spank their wives, treat them as children and to “punish” them mercilessly because they are not much more than property. Of course, Scripture is used to support this. When it is brought up to the church, almost invariably the wife is punished and forced to go back into the torment she is trying to escape from.

When a woman is raped under Shariah law, she often receives much greater punishment than the man. In fact, under most applications of this part of Shariah, if it cannot be proven that the man was violent, using the impossible bar set by the same law, the worst punishment he will receive is to pay her financially. That is it. No jail. No beating, just some money. The woman on the other hand is subject to the death penalty if married and 100 lashes if single. The woman is also shunned, becomes a social outcast, brings dishonor on the family and is considered unsuitable for marriage. In some countries, it is a reason for honor killings and many women in Islam commit suicide after such incidents.

How does the church handle abuse, and especially divorce from abuse? Women are excommunicated and shunned. They are sometimes disowned or at least psychologically abused by their families. They are considered unsuitable for church service and marriage as they are seen as adulterers and living in sin. While stoning and lashes are not handed out in the physical sense, they are spiritually and psychologically stoned or beaten. While I cannot say for sure that suicides have happened, we hear from women who tell us they nearly suicided because of the domestic abuse, so it stands to reason that some women have carried out the deed. And I can say that spiritual suicide has happened. We see many stories of women (and men) who have given up on God or church because of the way they were treated!

These are just a few examples of the similarities between the two groups. Women who suffer rape in Islam are disbelieved, counted as unworthy and second class. The burden of proof is so stringent that almost no victim can ever hope to overcome it.  The rape is almost always their fault. They are punished severely, while the man often gets off with little or no punishment. They are considered chattel and all the blame is placed upon them.

The same is true in many churches. The abused are disbelieved. The burden of proof is impossible. Because of the misapplication of several verses, they are blamed  because they did not follow the rules. They are punished severely while the man barely gets a reprimand. They lose their families, friends, jobs, and spiritual support. They are often forced into poverty. Worst of all, they can lose hope.

Questions for the church

My questions are directed at the church and especially to church leaders in the permanence and patriarchy crowd. Do you really want to be tied to the same attitudes as those in radical Islam? Do you not care for the humanity of the victims of abuse, or are they, like in Sharia law, only women or just property to be dealt with as the man (the head of the house) sees fit? Do you not see how your views, that women must remain with their abusers or that they must be at fault or share the blame for the abuse, are actually destroying them?

Do you not have eyes to see or ears to hear that you are engaging in the same evil, just with a Christian face, and more spiritualized, as Sharia? What will it take for you to see that you have set up a system of law that makes you feel all righteous, but destroys precious people?

Matthew 12:20 in the NLT reads:

He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally he will cause justice to be victorious.

When will the church stop crushing those among us who are victims of abuse? When will they cease snuffing out their spirits, all in the name of law? When will the church finally start acting like Jesus?


Woman who reported rape convicted by Sharia law, appeal filed [Internet Archive link]

How Sharia Law Punishes Raped Women [Internet Archive link]

Rape and Adultery [Internet Archive link]


  1. Gary W

    I suggest:

    The question is not whether an abused wife has one or more grounds for divorce. The question is whether there is or is not a marriage.

    The Bible does not contain an exhaustive listing of either grounds for divorce or for establishing that a marriage does or does not exist. Rather, it provides examples by which we may be guided.

    In cases where one spouse consistently and persistently abuses the other, the relationship is not that of husband and wife. It is that of master and slave.

    Any pastor or church that would require a wife to remain enslaved is an accomplice, or at least an accessory, to the abuser’s crimes. If their prescription of continued enslavement is based upon a sharia-like assumption of the wife’s guilt, untrustworthiness, etc, the pastor and church have committed their own independent crimes.

    Where the pastor and church impose sanctions on the victim-wife, such as by excommunication or shunning, their crimes are compounded.

    The enslaved target of abuse need not recognize the authority of either her abusive husband or of her abusing pastor and church. She is most certainly not bound where the pretext for such outrages is the imposition of sharia-like principles and practices.

    In such cases (including but not limited to the imposition of sharia-like injustice), it is the believing wife who, being a child of the King, is authorized to declare the excommunication of all her abusers (husband, pastor and consenting laity) from the congregation of the saints. She, along with other true believers, may be well advised to turn her tormentors over to the satan for the destruction of their flesh, for the salvation of their spirits on the day of the Lord. 1 Cor. 5:5.

    • Wendell G

      Well said, Gary W! Thanks!

    • healingInHIm

      Wendell – this post really hit the mark!
      And Gary, “The question is whether there is or is not a marriage.” I spent countless hours; years studying articles, sermons, etc on Biblical Marriage. I thought the Bible had made it clear but what I was receiving from the churches was conflicting and confusing. Christians condoning domestic abuse just didn’t point to Christ?

      • Still Reforming


        You wrote: “Christians condoning domestic abuse just didn’t point to Christ?”

        I think they’re reversing the roles, actually. The husband is to be as Christ is to the church, giving himself for her, but it’s more often the wife who’s asked to sacrifice herself for the sake of the husband. (Love more, study forgiveness, show mercy, and on and on…)

      • Yes, their inversion of the the husband / wife roles that Paul teaches is ludicrous. If they could see how diabolical this inversion of theirs is, they would crumple in shame!

        Not infrequently, their advice to the abused wife implies that she should give up her life if need be for her husband:– in the name of ‘winning him to the Lord’ she should be willing to endure his abuse even unto the shedding of blood, and certainly she should be willing to suffer the coma of her soul.

        This is the wife dying for the husband, as Christ died for the church. It is totally upside down!

    • NoMoreTears

      Thank you, Gary W.!

      I appreciate your comments and your wisdom. I wish one could put you in charge of the nation’s education of such things. It comforts my soul to know that there are gallant gentlemen like you who would stand up for a woman’s integrity.

  2. Saved By Grace

    I read the title of this post and said to myself: Oh my goodness YES. Thank you Wendell for sharing your insight with us today.

  3. StrongerNow

    All I can say is AMEN! This perfectly describes my own experiences.

  4. LH

    Sadly, this is so true.

  5. Jeff Crippen

    In any human society where sin is just let loose, I think it is inevitable that those who can get power and control, will, and use it for their own selfish ends. And in most settings, men have an easier time getting power and control than women do. Why? Probably lots of reasons, but where the use of that power is for wicked and self-serving purposes, none of those reasons are good ones. So it is going to be the same in a local, visible church, as Wendell has so accurately pointed out here. Not in the true church, but in a local entity which claims to be a Christian church. If, in that church, sin is permitted to operate unchecked, it seems that in most cases one result will be that women are seen as inferior to men, possessing secondary status and all this supposedly in accordance with God’s Word. I have seen it over the years and it is very easy to get sucked into, especially so for people who truly are zealous to serve Christ and are willing to give up most anything for Him. That sincerity is then exploited by the wicked to usurp power and lord it over others. And the deceptiveness of it all can be incredible. These types can sound soooo “godly.” All their children look perfect and obedient. The husband looks so much like a great leader. The wife a model of godly submission, so it seems. But behind the scenes….

    I think that if it served their purposes, these kinds of men would institute the wearing of burkas with severe sanctions for failure to do so. And I don’t exaggerate when I say this. I have personally heard these radical patriarchal type men talk in terms that show they view a wife as a man’s “property.”

    • a prodigal daughter returns

      This is so well said both by Wendell and Jeff’s comments. The fact that 2 men make these astute observations gives me hope that not every male has sold their soul for the power to oppress women. I’ve long thought that marriage is a rationalization for indentured slavery for a great many women in the world. I’ve been abused spiritually by the passage “your desire shall be for your husband and he will rule over you” and exploited terribly by that text. Jeff nailed the reason when he said the desire to sacrifice all for Christ is exploited.

      When I heard the explanation that “Jesus died to redeem us from the curse of the law on the cross”. The curse of the law for women was subservience to men. Men don’t hesitate to find ways around the curse that fell on them including labor saving devices to undo the “sweat of the brow” sanction for their part of the fall. Women are supposed to accept that its the natural order of things that the man is the “lord” of the house and if they resist it, its their sinful rebellious heart expressing itself. I can imagine a boss telling his male employee “write the report, but you aren’t allowed to use a computer because you are supposed to sweat since you sinned in the garden of Eden”. Or “plow the field without a tractor because you earned the curse of the law.”

      Yet women are supposed to accept that the “curse” is their lot ignoring that Jesus death and resurrection freed them from that. Further, when the idea of “co-heirs together” was mentioned in the New Testament the dynamic of being ruled over was in fact crucified with Jesus and a new order of power sharing instituted.

      • Still Reforming

        a prodigal daughter returns,

        I had heard several times from the pulpit and from Christian women in classes and in person that Genesis 3:16 (Your desire shall be for your husband and he will rule over you) really means (red flag there) “your desire shall be to rule over your husband.” The first time I heard it I thought, “How did the words in their plain sense come to mean that interpretation”? It never ever sat well with me, yet I kept hearing that interpretation from… women!

        The longer I lived in an abusive marriage, the more I understood the verse to mean exactly what it is – a curse. It was a curse to me that my desire was indeed for my husband when he was so deceptive and manipulative and cruel. Yet, I still desired him to be the husband I hoped for and prayed for. The weight of that curse fell upon me.

        Like you, I find it particularly soothing and comforting to read a post like this written by a man – and also the participation of men here. It’s reassuring.

        Jeff really nailed something for me too yesterday, as I was listening to one of his sermons on the psychology of sin (the abuser series). He said something to the effect that submission is a precious gift that a woman gives to her trusted husband, not a demand that the husband makes of the wife. Thought of in that light, it places everything into better perspective for me.

        After all, the Holy Spirit resides in us and we willingly submit. Sometimes of course we don’t, but generally speaking, as His children we delight in submitting to our loving Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, but our Lord as husband doesn’t force us to our knees in submission. In that sense that Jeff presented it – as a loving gift and not a forced demand, well, every time now that I hear verses used against another (under the guise of admonishment), I shall consider how they are better applied to oneself (the speaker) than against another. The Spirit exhorts and persuades gently, not by force.

      • PEARL

        Prodigal Daughter,
        They actually say a woman SHOULD suffer in childbirth.

    • NoMoreTears

      Thank you too for standing up for us women.

      In some of my disagreements with my former pastor, I became quickly aware that he expected for women to be completely submissive, have no brain to think, are second class and have no right to make decisions on their own.

      I grew up in the aftermath of WWII in Europe. I quickly learned that I had to learn to depend on myself. I had to be smart to survive. And learning I did. I came to N.Y. all by myself.
      I started as a nanny and ended up in corporate banking. I was paid well for my good judgement, decision making and hard work only to come upon a pastor who did not see me fit to make my own decisions on domestic matters …!

      In today’s church there is no room for such a woman. Sadly, all that was said in the previous comments …IS TRUE!

      • Still Reforming


        Wow! Your personal history sounds fascinating. Have you ever thought of writing a book about it?

      • NoMoreTears

        To: Still Reforming!
        Thank you for your comment about my past. There are times, I thought of writing a book … maybe some day.
        by NoMoreTears

    • loves6

      You speak of the very church we left three years ago. The after affects of nearly three decades of marriage under this way of looking at women and abuse is rickosheting in my home.

    • Sunflower

      Sigh! Yes, my x and I were discussing a lesson we had attended about how partnerships were not good. I said, “But marriage is a partnership, isn’t it?” His reply,”No it isn’t. It is ownership.”

  6. Annie

    Early on in my marriage when the fighting was ramping up I tentatively reached out to a female family member and mentioned my husband and I were fighting a lot because he never seemed to be happy with anything I did. Her response was to tell me to wear makeup and dress prettier!

    • Suzanne

      This puts me in mind of another very disturbing aspect of abuse in marriage: the objectification of womens bodies. Too many men see their wives as sexual playthings and an endless source of sexual gratification with no thought given to the wifes emotions or even of her physical condition. Exhausted after a long hard day of child rearing, housekeeping, etc.? Discouraged and down-hearted because you were harangued for the last hour because you didn’t do something to his satisfaction? Too bad. Getting older? Putting on weight after multiple childbirths, illness, etc.? Starve yourself and get to the salon to get those grey hairs covered. And don’t forget to stop at the gym on the way home. Your husband deserves a 40 year old wife who still looks like she’s 20. Men grow old, go bald, develop a pot belly and wrinkle just like women but no one tells them to “pretty up” for their wives. Adultery often begins at mid life when a man notices his wife is not as attractive as she once was and he decides that it’s time to look elsewhere for sexual satisfaction. Even other women are quick to blame the victims of adultery and other abuses for not being attractive enough for their husbands. Gods Word says it best: “…So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.” Malachi 2:15. Notice that God said the wife of your youth, not simply your wife. He knew that men would face this temptation. Godly husbands flee from temptation and remain faithful spouses. And godly pastors and church leaders don’t tell a woman she was responsible for her abuse because she wasn’t pretty enough.

    • StandsWithAFist

      Oh good grief. I feel violated just reading this. Imagine little girls being taught such fluff from childhood (and many are) so it’s no wonder they are conflicted as adults about honesty, integrity, grace & honor. The objectification of women is not of God.

  7. Karen

    Still Reforming…..I am in agreement with everything you posted. My heart goes out to you and we share the same pain and suffering regarding “the know it all church woman.” One of the characteristics that I have observed in church is this, those women who diligently seek leadership positions often preach and teach submission to the rest of us in obeying our husbands in all areas of life. And yet turn around and wear the “pants in the family,” actively asserting their rights and desires within the marriage bond, and having no inhibitions in doing so. And when these same women leaders see the rest of us trying to have some autonomy, they bash us over the head with their busy body and meddling ways in quoting Scriptures against us. This simply amazes me.

    I too, asked for prayer from the pastor’s wife and a small group of women during a women’s church function. A minute into the prayer, the pastor’s wife received a call on her cell phone from another more important church woman, having a personal crisis meltdown with her mother-in -law in the hotel room next to us. And presto! That was it, end of prayer, no Jesus, no petitioning, no amen. She just up and left us there to resume getting ready for the morning “break out sessions” on how to be better wives. That put an end to my attending expensive church functions with a group of shallow, cold women.

    In prayer for your well being and joy in our LORD Jesus Christ.

    • NoMoreTears

      It is not the organization that makes a church “christ-like”… it is the people. There are good and bad in every church. I simply do not care to belong to a certain denomination. It is the right people that matter … Remember, it is between God an you! …Not an organization …

  8. Suzanne

    This is an excellent article. For some time now I’ve come to believe that there are so-called Christians and Christian churches that are no better than Islamists in how they treat women. It starts, I believe, when a church segregates men and women into separate groups for fellowship and Bible study. There is simply no scriptural reason for this and it’s a good indicator of how a congregation will approach abuse victims. Shunning those victims either overtly or subtly is also a practice akin to Sharia.
    It’s long past time for Christians to shed these pagan practices.

    • Still Reforming


      That’s an interesting observation. My former church does this. I never thought about it before. Women are segregated from the men for “discipleship” classes. It was in the women’s class that I heard the topic raised to obey our husbands as Sarah did Abraham when she went to Pharaoh. (Genesis 12:11-16)

      It still amazes me that it was the women who who by and large supported the patriarchal system to me. I remember one night in this women’s class as prayer requests were being given, I tearfully mentioned my marriage. In response, one woman said I should probably be more quiet around my husband. She actually wrote down Psalm 141:3 for me and stuck it in my hand, telling me to put it in my Bible as a reminder how our husbands don’t want to hear us talk so much: “Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

      I did as she said, and essentially became an empty quiet shell at home.

      • Wendell G

        My wife and I are both very reluctant to go to separate Bible studies / home groups that are exclusively for either men or women. As she puts it, we are one and we should go as one. That isn’t to say that we have not gone to an occasional event or retreat for one or the other, but we desire to be together in church activities as much as possible. Besides, she does not like much of the discussions at the women’s meetings as they often revolve around “frilly” things (her words) and my wife is not a frilly type of woman. I don’t tend to go to too many men’s groups because all they want to talk about is sports (which I really don’t care for much) or complain about their wives and girlfriends.

        I’m sorry. My wife is a precious gift from God to me, whom I respect, adore and love with all my heart. I’m not going to go to some meeting to complain about her and try to devise ways to not be with her.

      • she does not like much of the discussions at the women’s meetings as they often revolve around “frilly” things (her words) and my wife is not a frilly type of woman.

        Me too! exactly!

      • NoMoreTears

        I am sorry, “Still Reforming!” I understand. I have walked in your shoes. At first, I did not understand either why men and women were separated. I thought that the reason was that either sex would feel more comfortable sharing among themselves …?
        Interestingly enough, a few years ago, I was in a group of men and women (about 15-20 years younger than I was). It was that the younger men showed more compassion than the older generation of men…? They tried to comfort me …

    • PEARL

      That’s how ours is set up and I won’t go. I quit listening to all “C”hristian radio programs too and it’s amazing how less tense I am.

  9. Still Reforming

    It’s amazing how believable this actually is. Perhaps only a few years ago I might have thought this comparison a stretch. Sadly, it is not.

    While the church may not publicly stone wives, the ease with which my former church welcomed my abuser back and never contacted me after I fled due to his return is particularly injurious to me. I hear they are now supporting him by giving him furniture to set up a new life.

    The church has become a support system for abusers and in my recent experience can even be run by abusive men. I’m not yet back in church for many reasons, but am counting on the Lord to keep me in His.

    Wendell, I think this comparison quite apt. After all, one is either for the Lord and willing to hear Him – or one is not. So whether one is Islamic or wearing the name of Christ (in name only) and not listening to Him (“Anyone who loves Me will obey Me” – John 14:23) it matters not what title one wears (Islamic or “Christian”) other than the fact they impugn the name of Christ by supporting abuse and valuing not His truth and justice.

  10. Barnabasintraining

    Wendell, really good observations and very well put together. I think the comparisons are very easy to see here, and you are entirely right.

  11. KayE

    I believe that some people who call themselves “Christians” would do all these things if only the laws of their governments would allow.These people are far worse than the harshest of enforcers of Sharia Law, because they’ve had the opportunity to hear the truth and rejected it.

    • Wendell G

      Very true. Who is the more guilty party, the one who sins unintentionally or the one who knows the truth and sins anyway?

    • healingInHIm

      Amen, Kay … sad but true.

  12. KayE

    And also prevent many others from hearing the truth.

  13. StandsWithAFist

    I am struck by how Jesus viewed women, and how revolutionary He was in His value of them. He saw woman created in the image of God, thus having intrinsic value and beauty and worth.
    Jesus included women in His ministry, He continually reached out to them by healing their infirmities, healing their children, affirming their presence, appearing to them first after His resurrection.
    Jesus valued women. He valued them, He honored them….with or without men, wirh or without husbands, with or without “religion”. He spoke to the Samaritan woman, he healed the stigmatized woman, he praised women who worshipped God and sought Him.
    Women were important to Him and to His ministry.
    Shame on the church for assigning value to women in the context of “belonging” to men, birthing children, cooking, cleaning & coddling in the absence of inherent worth as a child of God., created in HIS image, not man’s.

    • NoMoreTears

      My own husband told me to put on my garter belt to look sexier. My comment: If you cannot love me the way God made me …you do not love me at all. At times, he told me: Have looked in the mirror lately, you have gained some weight? In my eyes, he broke the covenant by not loving me. It was the cruelty of his replies that killed my love for him!

    • Still Reforming


      Indeed. And I often remember the daughters of Zelophehad from Scripture, which is a beautiful testimony of God’s heart for women.

      From Wikipedia:

      Zelophehad’s daughters petitioned Moses, Eleazar the priest, the chieftains, and the whole assembly, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting for their right to inherit his property rights in the Land of Israel. Zelophehad’s daughters noted that their father Zelophehad had not taken part in Korah’s rebellion, but only died in his own sin. Zelophehad’s daughters argued that were they not to inherit, then Zelophehad’s name would be lost to his clan. Moses took their case to God. God told Moses that the plea of Zelophehad’s daughters was just, and that they should be granted their father’s hereditary holding.

    • Wendell G

      One thing I have mentioned many times to friends who have the attitude you express here is that when Jesus said that he goes to prepare a place for us, He does not say anything about a different place for women from men. There is no separate heaven and no separate area for us all to worship Him. Neither will be superior to the other as there, we will be perfect as Christ is perfect.

      • Still Reforming

        Wendell, isn’t it written that there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female in Christ? Of course, we are still women and men in flesh and perhaps in our resurrected bodies, but the distinctions made by man here on earth are not those made by our Lord.

      • Wendell G

        Exactly, SR!

    • NoMoreTears

      Thank you … well said!

  14. NoMoreTears

    Thank you so much for this clarification that women are not half of men nor second-class citizens.

  15. Sharon

    This makes me wonder whether the woman “caught in adultery” in the Gospels, and about to be stoned for it, might have actually been raped…. Certainly there is gender inequality in that story, since the man (who was presumably necessary for an act of adultery to occur) is nowhere to be found.

    • Jeff Crippen

      I suspect you are right, Sharon.

    • Suzanne

      I once heard a sermon on this parable. Before Jesus said “…He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”, He…”stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, …”. The pastor said that Jesus was writing the names of those who were ready to stone her. He theorized that someone had caught them in the act of violating her and to avoid being prosecuted themselves they cooked up the story that she was a willing adulteress. This is not unlike a defense lawyer telling a jury that the rape victim was dressed provocatively, had too much to drink, or in some other way invited the rape.

    • Good point, Sharon. Or if not actually raped, maybe set up. The men who wanted to catch Jesus on the horns of a dilemma might have formed a plot as follows: get one man to entice a married woman into having illicit sex with him, then drag her off as a culprit for Jesus to judge. The man who had sex with her might have been a willing party to the set up, full knowing that (a) he would get sexual satifaction out of it for himself, (b) he would not be dragged before Jesus or exposed to the public for his sin, and (c) their enemy Jesus would, they hoped, be trapped into giving a response that they could use to convict him.

      The woman could even have been someone who this group of men had a particular grudge against already. Maybe she had blown the whistle on them before so they had it in for her, and thus chose her as the perfect pawn for their game. . . Killing several birds with one stone is very typical conduct of abusers. If my speculation were correct, the men would be getting revenge on a woman they hated and simultaneously getting evidence to charge Jesus with some breach of the Mosaic Law.

      I know this is all speculation, but it is perfectly possible.

  16. Pal

    I’ve been pondering if there is any general criteria that a person could use to do a quick scan of a church and determine which way the wind blows. The separation of men and women has a long tradition in Judendom and Kristendom, even if the sexes were each seated crossed the aisle from one another. But perhaps separation could be used today as an indication of where the church stands in gender roles.
    Human nature never denies itself and power hungry people often seek gratification in the admiration of others. It puts them in the “know” or a position of influence. Strokes the ego. The feminists and atheists that have discussion with me on my discussion board have often brought up the submission phrase in the Bible. I told them the man has the harder part because he’s to love his wife as Christ loved the church – be willing to die for her. It seems not even the churches have fathomed that. How could the unbeliever? And we weren’t ventilating abuse such as it’s being discussed on this site because I had no idea it was so prevalent in so many churches! It was only that I have learned that by reading the testimonies here.

  17. Anonymous

    Recently I met a woman with a unique insight into this abuse. She was born Jewish but now a Christian and has lived all over the world including Russia, Israel, China and Europe. She HATED Communism, but one thing she said about it that I found really interesting was that where Communism was the majority and ruled, the Muslim women of that area had far more freedoms than they did in places that were strictly Muslim. She hated the Muslim religion because of its severe abuse of its women and children.

    Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and is militant in its growth and abuse. Don’t forget Pat Robertson’s famous use of it on how to control a “problem” woman. A letter was sent to the show and here’s what it said, “My wife has become a real problem. She has no respect for me as the head of the house. She insults me and even went as far as stretching her hand to beat me. I’ve lost my self-confidence. Her words hurt so much and she refuses to talk through our problems. Please tell me what I can do.” Pat’s response? “Well you could become a Muslim and you could beat her.” (Pat Robertson Tells Man to Beat his Wife, Move to Saudi Arabia)

    The way Jesus treated women was the way the Jewish men were supposed to have treated them all along. As fellow heirs of God. We as Christians are supposed to exemplify God by first loving each other so that others will want to obtain what we have. But when the typical example of a ‘C’hristian man is one who lords himself over his family, we instead draw people in who want to abuse and now use “Gods authority” to justify it.

  18. PEARL

    This sounds so much like Islam it makes me want to puke. Why would anybody in patriarchy worry about Sharia law coming here? They should feel right at home. Oh, I guess they wouldn’t be in power or would they? I think both groups worship Allah not Jesus Christ.

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