Complementarian evangelical leaders like to pretend that their view of women is something other than exactly what it sounds like. They like to pretend that feminists (with our silly, womanly emotions) are just overreacting, misunderstanding, or twisting their words.
“Real” complementarians practice godly, Christ-like leadership. They don’t dominate or abuse their wives. Feminists just don’t understand what’s really good for them–they don’t understand that complementarianism isn’t about a hierarchy. It’s just about separate roles.
Apparently, this “difference” is enough to keep women out of leadership roles in the church and the family, and often enough to keep them out of the public sphere altogether. Equal but different. Separate but equal.
Of course, it’s a woman’s “choice” to submit to her husband’s leadership. A choice that will be judged by an almighty God with a history of striking people dead and sending them to hell.
But sure, a choice.
Women “choose” (under the threat of Almighty judgment) to submit to their husbands, who lead them lovingly and gently. It’s all good.
They’re still equal.
But, you see, no matter how nicely complementarians say what they believe, a phrase from a George Orwell book always comes to mind:
“All animals are equal, but some animals are
more equal than others.”
Having “liberated” us from the way popular culture and media objectifies, degrades, and oppresses women, complementarian leaders can now objectify and oppress us in other ways with nicer words (and with support from God).
Centuries ago, Christian men such as Martin Luther preached the same beliefs of submission and headship, without the pretense of believing in equality.
The beliefs have not changed. They’re just wearing a mask.
Changing the way we talk about those beliefs does not change their implications.
I want to expose “equal, but different” for the lie that it is.
So I’m going to be doing a short series on the words of a few complementarian leaders, showing how, despite their claims of “equality,” their views degrade, oppress, control and limit women.
I want to talk about Joshua Harris, John Piper, and Mark Driscoll this week. To make this subject less painful, the leaders will be represented by a puppy, a parakeet, and (of course) a fluffy bunny (respectively).
I may decide to continue with the series beyond that (but long time readers of this blog know how I get with series). If anyone has suggestions of other sermons/books/blog posts by complementarian leaders that reveal the inherent inequality present in complementrianism, or if anyone is interested in writing a guest post on the subject, feel free to tell me in the comments (make sure to include a corresponding adorable animal).
Because, I believe that, once you strip away the bullshit, the motto of complementarianism could be:
All humans are equal, but some humans are more equal than others.