Justice is No Lady: Chapter 5 ~ In Pursuit of Biblical Theology

Warning: This story series contains descriptions of physical abuse.

by Defendant Rising

Hannah was born at home in spring of 1996. By this time, Nate had a better job at a personal injury law firm and we were able to get a three-bedroom house.

Satan must have followed us, because now there were lesbians having sex in the mailbox and Nate had no idea how the pervert porn peddlers got his name and address again.

I was still in a stupor, still worshipping my cult leader. The lights were on in my brain but no one was home. I think, however, that my brain’s doorbell started ringing in 1996, and Tess’s Good Sense began its three years of patiently knocking, waiting to be invited back in. Doubts, in huge bold type, slipped under the door and were increasingly hard to shove back out onto the doormat of my mind. Even a Branch Davidian or a card-carrying member of the Manson Family would begin to get suspicious when the porno people guessed their leader’s name and address twice.

Nate’s theology had more twists and turns than a ‘coaster at Busch Gardens. I could not keep up, and the numbers of True Christians with whom we could associate grew smaller and smaller.

By degrees, Nate became:

1. A Reformed Baptist—a Calvinist who holds that only “the elect” are predestined to be saved and he’s one of the “elect,” only Nate was the Baptist brand of God’s chosen few, as opposed to the more common Presbyterian variety.

2. A Reformed Baptist Theonomist—all of the above plus embracing Old Testament Law. Nate forbade me to serve bacon, ham, or shellfish. We wore only 100% cotton or other natural fibers.

3. A Reformed Baptist Reconstructionist—all of the above plus a belief that the Old Testament Law as given to Moses should be the one and only law of the United States. This would reconstruct America. In Mosaic Law We Trust.

4. A Reformed Baptist Reconstructionist Polygamist—ditto, with the possibility of the reconstructionist taking multiple wives, the better (and faster) to reconstruct America, my dear.

This was a bit much.

However, Nate was quick to assure me that while God would have no problem with Nate “using his freedom” to take one or more mistresses and call them wives, and while Nate had no problem with polygamy per se—he was actually pretty comfortable with the concept—I, Tess, was so loved by Nate that my husband would set aside his liberty in Christ to sleep with other women out of his great love for me.

Nate did not understand why I was not bowled over with love and gratitude. After all, “God’s Law says . . .” Look at Abraham, Isaac, David, Solomon.
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Justice is No Lady: Chapter 4 ~ Second Prison Break and the Norfolk Years

Warning: This story series contains descriptions of physical abuse.

by Defendant Rising

It was 1995. Nate’s grandmother’s basement was orange. It was wallpapered in a fifties motif with little vinyl record albums. My husband, the newly minted Christian attorney, had been in this basement on his laptop computer, hooked up to the internet, for six months.

I sat and looked out the basement window, the bottom of which was level with the dirt, and begged Nate for the thousandth time to disconnect and spend some time with his wife and three babies. Nate would come out of the basement only for food, sex (I had the wrong lingeré still), evening TV, and excursions to the grocery store. And to sleep.

Nate’s grandmother seemed perfectly content to have her beloved grandson remain in her house, eating and procreating and tying up the phone line, for the remainder of her natural life.

Nate would not get off the computer. He would not get a job. We lived in his grandmother’s house, sponging off his grandmother, for most of Moriah’s infancy. I nearly went mad with boredom and loneliness. Even my usual job of waiting on Nate hand and foot had been usurped by Grandma. Nate left his dirty dishes by the computer and television and Grandma cleared them away.

Nate was depressed for weeks at a time. Then, it was as if aliens had kidnapped him and injected him with super-caffeine. He would talk me to death long into the night, night after night. He had a brilliant idea that would make him millions of dollars—“wait until you hear this, baby”—building cool cars! No, he would write a book about true Christian faith, setting down once and for all proper biblical doctrine, the book of theology to end them all, and it would be called. . .”

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Justice is No Lady: Chapter 3 ~ Company of the Faithful

Warning: This story series contains descriptions of physical abuse.

by Defendant Rising

At Regent University, I had lots of role models. Sweet-tempered women were submitting to their husbands, keeping their student apartments immaculate, and having babies right and left. I learned to buy wheat berries from the local co-op and grind them to bake bread. We were Stepford Wives, only hugely, proudly fertile. We grew herbs. We read books on natural childbirth. We prayed for God to make us more meek and submissive. And we prayed for our dear darling hubbies over at the Christian law school who were going to usher in a new American Revolution and turn this country around. “Shh! Quiet! Daddy’s studying!”

It was a total time warp. Everywhere you looked, it was Ward and June and Wally and the Beav and Wally and the Beav and Wally and the Beav and little Chastity Grace Mary Martha Hope Cleaver.

I got right into the spirit of the place by watching the “700 Club” and getting pregnant. I still didn’t have the right lingeré—speaking of which, for some odd reason, pornography was being mis-addressed to our mailbox with my husband’s name on it. This was a sure sign that we were under Satanic attack. “I swear, honey, Nate swore, aghast, “I don’t know how they got my name. “That needs to be destroyed. Give it to me.” And with eyes brimming with tears at the sorry sinful state of the world, Nate went off to destroy it. Oh, that devil was a wily one, but nothing could deter my husband from his calling in the Lord.

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Justice is No Lady: Chapter 2 ~ First Prison Break

Warning: This story series contains descriptions of physical abuse.

by Defendant Rising

1993 was a rough year. It was the year that Nate was fired from his engineering job in Tazewell, Virginia, and first started thinking about studying the law. It was the year when we went to a conference and met a pastor who advocated corporal punishment for wives, and Nate took to his teachings like a duck to water. It was the year I had Jack, who was conceived a few months after Daniel’s birth. Most notably, 1993 marked my first attempt at a separation from Nate.

Daniel had been born at home. Nate and I were part of the Christian separatist movement of the late ’80s and early ’90s, rooted in the belief that liberals and “secular humanists” would destroy the moral fiber of America. Christian separatists— right-wing religious splinter groups including white supremacists, Y2K survivalists, secessionists, reconstructionists, and so on—believed that the upstanding patriotic Christian Americans needed to separate themselves and create a fortress of Christian homes where the true leaders of tomorrow would be raised.

We were associated with the Quiverfull movement too, which meant that we rejected birth control so that we could physically produce a lot of the leaders of tomorrow: God’s Army. Home birth, home schooling, even home church were big trends. Anything that kept the faithful tucked away in their righteous enclaves and away from the godless masses. Whole communities sprang up where Christian right-wingers could turn on (Rush Limbaugh and G. Gordon Liddy), tune out (the liberal media establishment—many of us even tossed out our television sets), and drop out of mainstream American life.

We were the counter-counterculture. We were fanatics. We were darned proud of it. Quiverfull, in particular, was a philosophy that any married couple in the Christian Right could buy right into. It was so easy: Exercise Dominion! Please Jesus! Take over America! Using Tools You Probably Have Around the House!

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Justice is No Lady: Chapter 1 ~ Twisted Communion

Warning: This story series contains descriptions of physical abuse.

by Defendant Rising

On my wedding day, I embraced a new religion. I marched up the aisle on my father’s arm, in a white lace gown with monstrous leg-o-mutton sleeves—very fitting for a lamb going to the slaughter.

No bride was ever more madly in love, or more giddily romantic, or more enraptured with her white church wedding. It was my greatest accomplishment; it was my reward from God for being virtuous and pure. Saying vows that I wrote myself, I outdid every right-wing, anti-feminist bride on earth. I promised to obey and submit and never speak a word against my husband until either I was dead or he was—but I think I phrased it more poetically than that. Then I walked up to the altar and took the symbolic body and blood of Christ directly from the hand of Nate Willoughby, while my own pastor, and my beloved Granddaddy who was also a pastor, stepped aside. My mother, who later became a pastor herself, told me it was “a little weird.”

She had no idea.

Something was saying “weird” to me on my honeymoon. There were forecasts of bizarre on the horizon, but a 23-year-old virgin wouldn’t know from bizarre, now would she?

It was weird that from day one, Nate would not have sex after dark. Or without immediately showering afterwards. It was weird that I could not initiate sexual contact—it always had to be his idea. I tried seduction, the day after I married him. I had some inkling from TV or the movies that if a new bride on her honeymoon put on a racy little red-and-black number and emerged from a hotel bathroom, her husband would. . . smile? Make passionate love to her? Say, “You look [insert flattering adjective here]”?

Nate looked blank. He looked through me and said, in a voice colder than Christmas in Siberia, “That’s not the kind of lingeré I like.”
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