*Trigger Warning for rape and spiritual abuse (but don’t worry–if you get upset, just click on any mention of Driscoll’s name for an adorable fluffy bunny)*
In case you’re not as obsessed with the Christian blogosphere as I am, there’s been a petition going around asking Liberty University to keep Mark Driscoll from speaking there. When I saw the petition being circulated by several progressive bloggers, you know this radical feminist had to check it out. So, I clicked, and I read and…
(are you sitting down for this?)
I’m not going to sign it.
Go ahead and check your calendars. It’s not April Fool’s Day. I mean it. I’m not going to sign that petition and let me tell you why.
First, let me share with you some of the text of the petition, found, in whole, here.
How would your founder Jerry Falwell respond to a preacher who taught this in his writing and speaking?
“In conjunction with the rhythm method of birth control, it is possible to use anal sex as an option.”
“Jesus Christ commands you to [perform oral sex on your husband]…
Some of you are sitting here going, “Is this happening? Is this really happening?” Yes it is. [Laughter from audience.]…And he says that, “Your vagina is a garden.” It has wonderful smells and it has wonderful tastes. It’s a garden. . . . He talks about how much he loves her vagina. Many women feel awkward about this. The husband needs to tell the wife, “It’s beautiful. It tastes well. It smells well. You keep yourself well. I enjoy it. It’s a garden to me.”
I see only one problem with the words of Mark Driscoll that are mentioned in this petition (and it’s a huge problem) and that is the line, “Jesus Christ commands you to [perform oral sex on your husband].”
My response to this line is a resounding f*** you, Mark Driscoll. Because, this line is advocating rape. Using a woman’s religion to hold her head down when she doesn’t want to perform a certain sex act is NOT consensual sex. Threatening a woman using her religion is just as wrong as threatening a woman using a gun. It IS rape. And Driscoll influences thousands of young Christian men–he is teaching them to use Jesus to rape their partners.
It’s hard to put this sickening thought aside, but I’m going to for a moment. Because the rest of Driscoll’s words that are quoted in the petition actually do not advocate rape. They actually advocate healthy, positive, consensual sexuality.
Why can’t more Christian leaders do this?
How affirming would it be for a Christian gay male couple to hear that the sex acts they were participating in were not inherently perverse, as some in our culture would believe? How freeing would it be for any couple wanting to try new things to know that Jesus wasn’t going to strike them down for getting a little freaky in the sheets (note, though. Anal sex is not really a reliable alternative to birth control like Driscoll claims. Use a condom, you crazy lovers!)? And, as a woman living in a world where the word “vagina” is banned from Christian bookstores, I can tell you first hand that it would be extremely liberating if my genitals were not treated as taboo and dirty.
But other Christian leaders aren’t doing this. The only man who is doing this is also teaching men to use Jesus as a date rape drug.
Mark Driscoll is taking beautiful, healthy, positive sexuality and lumping it in with rape. That absolutely disgusts me.
So why am I not signing this petition?
Because the writers of this petition are doing the same thing.
As much as I would love to see Mark Driscoll be held accountable for his deplorable words, demonizing healthy sexuality at the same time is only going to set us back, Christians.
I read this petition and I hear, “Anal sex? Gross! Isn’t that what the gays do?” and “Why is he talking about vaginas? Eww! Who does he think he is? Rachel Held Evans?”
This isn’t right. By demonizing these sex acts along with the command from Jesus for women to give out oral sex, the writers of this petition are, like Driscoll, equating rape with sex. And world…
Rape does NOT equal sex!
We need leaders who can tell the difference between healthy sexuality and rape. We need leaders that are neither Mark Driscoll nor Jerry Falwell in their approach to discussing human sexuality, who stand up and say that rape in Jesus’ name is wrong, but that consensual sex acts, even if they seem abnormal to some, can be positive and healthy and fun.
We can fight Driscoll’s misogyny by being more clear and open about healthy sexuality and by comparing it to Driscoll’s harmful power-hungry, coercive means of manipulating women. Putting healthy sex in the same category as rape only perpetuates the problem. No more blurring these lines. The ends here do not justify the problematic means.