My vanilla blog is part of the Progressive Christian Bloggers Network, a collection of blogs in which moral values influence our political and theological views in a rather left of center way. I love to wander among the various blogs in our blogroll as there is often a lot of great writing (and, yeah, some bad writing too), as well as a growing sense of community among those of us who often feel somewhat isolated in our conservative churches.
One of the blogs that I tend to click on often had a post reviewing some recent articles on sex written by Evangelicals, including an article on Domestic Discipline in which the blogger dismissed it as giving men the right to beat their wives.
I gulped. Sort of tensed up as if I'd been caught doing something naughty.
Now, she separated it from kinky, consensual stuff like BDSM, which she had no problem with (phew!). And while she usually finds their prudishness unrealistic at best, she applauded a conservative Christian site, The Marriage Bed, which provided a detailed rebuttle to those who use the Bible to defend Domestic Discipline. I clicked on the link and read the following:
DDers rest their case very heavily on arguments that explain the authority/submission structure of the home. They stress the need for the husband and wife to take their roles in obedience to God's Word. So far, so good, but then they make a rather large intellectual leap in giving the husband the responsibility of "motivating" his wife to mature and grow through the use of domestic discipline. There are often strong implications that if you are truly submitted you will see DD as relevant and biblical, while those who reject DD are somehow being rebellious, or are immature in their understanding of submission and authority.
While I disagree strongly with the whole "need for the husband and wife to take their roles in obedience to God's Word," I found myself pleasantly surprised as I read this husband and wife, who believe in the whole "head of the household" thing, completely shatter any arguments from the Bible those Christian DDers use to justify spanking their wives/girlfrieds, etc. And at some points the wife almost sounds like a feminist:
I must also say that the number of women that I know who are walking mature, godly, and submitted lives without DD, makes DD seem unneeded at best...Another serious problem with the DD philosophy is that if women need this kind of discipline, how do teens, singles and widows get what they need? The extension of this philosophy gets frightening pretty quick. Why would God meet this "need" in marriage and leave the rest without the "help" that they need? Or maybe fathers should discipline their girls until they are married, and singles/widows should be disciplined by the elders? Yikes!
The husband did more of a verse by verse analysis of the "Bible demands DD" argument. I think one of his concerns, however, is really the crux of the issue:
It is also our belief that some are using DD to legitimize sexual fetishes. Desiring spanking may be wrong in their minds, so giving it "biblical validity" makes spanking OK. It is also a legitimized outlet for those who emotionally need to dominate/punish or be dominated/punished.
There's nothing in the Bible that says sexual fetishes are wrong. And there's certainly nothing in the Bible that says spanking your wife or girlfriend is ordained by God. Being a spanko is just part of who you are. And should be part of who your wife or girlfriend is too if spanking is a part of your relationship.
So go ahead and spank or be spanked. But leave the Bible and all those arguements about correcting her "feminine misbehavior" out of it.
At least, that's what I do. Yet, I'm beginning to appreciate that there are those for whom the narrative of biblical mandate or, rather, biblical "flavor" perhaps, works better. Believing in the "head of household" and designating biblical roles is more comforting, more natural than my own narrative of genderlessness and choice.
Is it wrong for them to do that? If a woman feels that she is empowering herself by submitting to her husband as she believes God wants her to, should I discourage her? Is it a matter of "your kink is not my kink" or is it more dangerous?