Quoting Quiverfull: Patriarchy Is Biblical – Get Over It?

Quoting Quiverfull: Patriarchy Is Biblical – Get Over It? July 27, 2015

quotingquiverfullby Vaughn Ohlman from True Love Doesn’t Rape – What is Patriarchy I: Defining Our Term

Editor’s note: So here’s the end results of another long posting by Von where he twists things and cherry picks the Bible. Because the word Patriarch is mentioned 14 times in the New Testament that makes it a real thing according to him. Followed by lots of ‘children must obey their fathers’ doubling down. Plus I have to say I always find it amusing when Christians that rant about the evils of homosexuality and/or alcohol love the King James Bible. The ruler for which it is named did commission scholars to do the translation while he was drinking and running around with his gay lover.

The term ‘patriarch’ in Scripture is not specifically defined by any passage. The underlying Greek could best be translated as something like ‘lineage ruler’.  The term is specifically used to refer to fourteen men: Abraham, David, and the twelve sons of Jacob.

And the concept of ‘patriarch’ is real and present in Scripture. One of the ten commandements(sic) is ‘honor thy father and thy mother’. Three of the case laws present the death penalty for violations of specfic(sic) aspects of the idea of honoring. And Christ Himself rebuked the pharisees for using their man-made regulations to defeat the purpose of God’s Holy and Perfect Law.

So the church cannot remain faithful to Scripture and try to run away from either the term or the idea of patriarchy. While the church must, as it does in every area, define and refute false definitions and prescriptions going under the name of ‘patriarchy’, it cannot do so by denying or denigrating the very real, very Biblical, definition and prescription of patriarchy.

Patriarchy, as defined by Scripture, is a very real, and very important, concept: the concept of a lineage-ruler. A man with a multitude of descendants who look to him and give him honor and obedience. It is a concept that has its roots in the very idea of God as Father. To deny ‘patriarchy’ is to deny one of the fundamental metaphors of all creation. It is time we took back and emphasized this important, Biblical word.

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders, cultural enforcers and those that seek to keep women submitted to men and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull and Spiritual Abuse honestly and thoughtfully.

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M Dolon Hickmon

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Nea

    Shorter: I get to rule my family even after my death because penis. Ignore all the bits of the bible where I am told to be humble, consider myself an equal among equals, and directly warned against pride and arrogance.

  • Allison the Great

    Just because something is “biblical”, doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing. The bible is filled with things that are downright horrible. V.O. is only into the patriarchy thing because that’s the only place he has power in life and because he is weak and threatened by women.

  • Mel

    If those are the 14 patriarchs, lets look at who missed the list: Adam, Noah, Isaac, Essau, Ismael, Moses, Joshua, Aaron, Jacob, Gideon, Solomon, Saul, Samuel, Boaz, and Jesse for starters. And Jesus and Paul.

    The Bible would look very different w/o those men. So, it sounds like “patriarch” is a descriptive term involving the descent of the Jewish nation rather than a lasting title for the ages.

  • KarenH

    Vaughn, patriarchy is an old, obsolete, decrepit and highly imperfect system that needs to be shitcanned. Along with your belief you’re entitled to special status based on your ownership of a penis. Now go run along and do something constructive with your time and stop trying to enslave women and children.

  • SAO

    Just because the bible mentions some patriarchs doesn’t mean the patriarchs didn’t earn their role. People follow those with wisdom and judgement. Being the father of many kids does not automatically confer either. Why would God condemn the kids and grandchildren of fools with delusions of glory to be subject to their whims?

  • Karen the rock whisperer

    I’m not sure I can honestly argue with him (though earlier comments do a good job of pointing out problems with his world view). In terms of my personal life, I don’t care what his holy book says; to me it’s just a book. But when patriarchy negatively affects my society by promoting wife abuse, child abuse, and rape culture, I get very cranky. I’m a pacifist in action, but that doesn’t keep me from wanting to beat patriarchy proponents about the head with their own holy books, in the hope that creating a small hole might let in some wisdom. (That’s a paraphrase from Kipling, but it seems apt.)

  • Antoinette Herrera

    All the upvotes! Infinity plus one!

  • Antoinette Herrera

    Shorter Vaughn Ohlman: Watch me attempt to rationalize my need to subjugate women and children by defining the word “patriarchy” as I please. And if it seems like I’m going to bring out the No True Scotsman fallacy, well, pay no attention. Because Bible. Because testosterone. Because I say so.

  • B.E. Miller

    Clearly he is advocating a return to the ancestor worship practiced in some cultures, like the Mayans and the Chinese. (I know that there are others, but can’t recall them right now.)

    Now I wanna’ go point that out to him….

  • Astrin Ymris

    It’s possible to prove anything you wish is “biblical” by cherry-picking verses– and sometimes undefined terminology, as Vaughn does here– then come up with some rationalization built on headcanon to make your case, while ignoring all scriptural passages which clearly contradict your position.

  • Antoinette Herrera

    Perhaps he would have done better as a fanfic writer. Poor thing would be at a loss, though, with all the Johnlock, Destiel, and Eleven/River Song.

  • Julia Childress

    Sheep are mentioned in the Bible over 500 times. The fact that Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd should be an indication of the importance of sheep. As Christians, why do we not revere sheep herders, and teach our sons that herding sheep is among the highest and best uses of their talents? So can the church remain faithful to Scripture and try to run away from either the term or the idea of shepherds and sheepherding?

  • Astrin Ymris

    There are also many, many places in the Bible in which readers are enjoined to be charitable to the poor, especially poor women and their children– something that today’s Religious Right ignores completely as they cut food stamps, try to repeal the ACA, oppose increases in the minimum wage, push legislation which weakens unions, and in many other ways fight against the interests of the poor.

  • pl1224

    With respect to the meaning attached to this word by fundies, I shall paraphrase Mr. Henry Ford–“Patriarchy is bunk”.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Okay, I can understand how the slash might break his brain, but why Eleven/River Song?

  • Antoinette Herrera

    Mr Ohlman doesn’t strike me as a sci-fi fan. Between the multiple incarnations of the Doctor, and the very independent woman who once was his wife, his poor brain would explode.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Ahh. I see. ;-D

  • Nightshade

    Takes quite a control freak to insist on absolute obedience from one’s adult offspring. Isn’t the whole point of this parenthood thing to bring children to the point of being adults themselves, not lifelong slaves?

  • Antoinette Herrera


  • Astrin Ymris

    I don’t follow Night Vale– I’m too visual. But I’ll take your word for it.

  • Antoinette Herrera

    If you’re on Tumblr, look up “Night Vale fanart.” The art was what piqued my interest in the podcast.

  • Astrin Ymris

    I’m not on Tumblr, but Googling “Night Vale fanart Tumblr” gave me an idea. Yes, it would break Vaughn’s brain– even without the hinted-at tentacles. (Is that a thing, or fanon?)

  • Antoinette Herrera

    The tentacles have more to do, I think, with the inspiration that the podcast takes from Lovecraft. But the love between Cecil Palmer and Carlos the scientist, with his perfect, perfect hair? That is 100% canon, and integral to the series. It’s actually refreshing, knowing that Cecilos is a thing.

  • Astrin Ymris


    Of course, “Janto” was canon on ‘Torchwood’, then the soulless bastards killed Ianto off… *cries*

  • Wow so, okay. That last paragraph there explains a LOT about my dad’s obsession with his grandchildren. Not just the typical spoiling/spending lots of time with them, but specifically with the number of them. As if he is somehow personally responsible and has bragging rights for just how many grandchildren he has. I find it super creepy and weird, but no one else in my family seems bothered by it. I think it must be rooted in this ‘multitude of descendants who look to him and give him honor’ thing. Seriously, he brags about how he has X number of grandchildren, and with each new grandchild born, he seems to get more proud of it.

    I’ve said here before that we weren’t exactly QF, but mainly because my mom had too many miscarriages. My dad was always a huge follower of Gothard and demanded submission from his wife, started from their wedding day trying to make her over in his image, though to her credit she has a great inner strength and a very strong personal relationship with God, that led her to suffer much of it in silence while resisting when and where she could.

    We did do ATI for like, a year and a half or two, all us kids hated it, and she decided it wasn’t working for us. Fortunately for her, my dad left all schooling decisions up to her for the most part, he didn’t care to be part of the educating, he was far too busy pursuing the pastorship he’d always dreamed of. So we quit with ATI, but still used Gothard materials for other things, and the QF principles sunk in deep with most of my siblings.

    We’ve always wondered if part of the reason it didn’t work on us was because of our multiple personalities? Plus the primary personalities during our growing up years were male, though one of them is genderqueer and enjoys feminine things sometimes, but we fought tooth and nail against anything ‘feminine’ growing up, because it felt like being put in a cage where someone else had the key, and we would never be able to just be ourself. We needed agency, and while we didn’t have concepts for things like trans and queer growing up, we knew we didn’t fit into any of their molds.

    We still find it sad that so many of the kids ended up staying in fundamentalism, even if a less extreme version. We wish we had been able to do more for them than just…drawing my dad’s attention to shield them from some of the abuse. Even there we – Key mostly – feels like we failed. None of them came through without damage.

  • He specifically says he doesn’t, somewhere in the prophets, that the sons will not be punished for the sins of the fathers.

  • My dad is the controlliest of freaks. If he hadn’t gotten knocked off course, literally, by a small plane crash that left him disabled and without much of his own agency, he would be worse than he is now. He’s actually gotten BETTER since then, and he’s still bad. He doesn’t insist on obedience from adult offspring, but he sulks when he doesn’t get it – or when he expresses disapproval of their actions and they do it anyway. It’s so childish.

  • That is why I absolutely refuse to watch anything past the second season. Bastards.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Me too– except for the ‘Stolen Earth/Journey’s End’ crossover.

  • Sarah Kirk

    In Quiverfull, Freudian penis envy must be a real thing.

  • Sarah Kirk

    Good shepherds don’t abuse their sheep. So while shepherding is an important theme, the way Quiverfull theologians use it is harmful.

  • Sarah Kirk

    And why do they say only males can be shepherds? Jesus valued women as much as men.

  • Sarah Kirk

    Key, you didn’t fail your siblings. Your dad failed. He should have known better than to plunge his family into QF chaos. If your siblings are damaged, it’s because of damaging theology and toxic behaviors/people.

  • Sarah Kirk

    Your dad needs to grow up. Definitely childish behavior.

  • We – I know that, in my head. But it feels like I could have done more. -K

  • Partly it’s that…we learned that we are on the spectrum, and we’re pretty sure he is too, but he never learned how to…get past it, or see any view but his own. He’s locked into it now, too old I think to learn to manage it. His parents certainly never understood or were able to connect with him. And ASD was much less well known or understood when he was growing up.

  • Sarah Kirk

    That’s sad. But still no excuse for religious maltreatment or male privilege.

  • Sarah Kirk

    Well, no matter what you feel, you couldn’t have done more. You were a kid. You had no say. QF and Christian Patriarchy are structured so that only the elders have a say.
    I remember being expected to shut up whenever someone older spoke. It’s a system of silencing and exploiting children and women.

  • No….I do understand better, though, why we have so much trouble communicating with him. It’s like a double handicap lol. But yes, he benefits a great deal from WSM privilege, cannot be made to see it, ‘racism doesn’t exist anymore’, and he was incredibly sexist growing up etc. And growing up with verbal, emotional, physical and spiritual abuse is a part of what made us what we are.

    How sad is it that doing your best to be a good parent is still abusive? 🙁 I guess it’s happened to other people though, especially older generations.

  • Yes we – I thought he was disappointed his eldest was a daughter instead of a son, so I tried as hard as I could to be the son we thought he wanted. But we still coded as female to him, so a double load of silencing. Even my mother would speak softly and diffidently whenever she had to speak to him, trying not to make him angry. He would get frustrated and angry so easily, and upset by the noise and motion that comes from kids just being kids. We learned to hide when he was home.