An Alliance Of Wannabe Alpha Males

Many strains of evangelical Christianity lay great emphasis on the doctrine that wives must submit to their husbands. Some of the teachers take care to counterbalance this with the doctrine, out of Ephesians, that the husband must sacrifice himself for his wife; others do not. We may contemplate the possibility that men whose natural inclination is to treat their wives as equals or even defer to them will be converted, and so reluctantly convinced that they were mistaken, and that it is the will of God that they take all authority within the marriage. It is, however, altogether easier to contemplate the possibility of men being converted to fundamentalism precisely because it offers them the headship over their wives – without the bother of imposing it by strength of character or brute force. The same applies to the demand for unconditional obedience by the children. It may be suggested, therefore, that this flavour of religion may function as a sort of trade union for fathers and husbands who are not only abusive, but lazy as well.

When a 14-year-old girl begged Warren Jeffs, the leader of the breakaway Mormon extremists, not to marry her off to her cousin, he replied, “Your heart is in the wrong place. This is your mission and duty to do.” Had the context been other than polygamy and statutory rape, there would be nothing whatever unusual about Jeffs’ words. All fundamentalist leaders and elders talk like this, all the time: “Your heart is in the wrong place” is one of their favourite phrases. The anatomical assertion takes the place of argument or even a polite request, and invariably means that your actions are not sufficiently in their own interest, or in the interests of the other male heads of household, together with whom they constitute the ruling caste.

It is a national convention of the Bradford house-church movement; the hall reeks at one and the same time of sexual pheromones and denial. One man delivers a tirade against a TV show on the grounds that the wife served as a cop and the husband was unemployed and let her support him. Now, I had seen that show, and so knew that in fact the husband worked long hours as a building contractor. The most charitable interpretation was that the speaker had based his sermons on hearsay; indeed, such venues would be rewarding for any collector of urban legends. A less charitable interpretation is the pia fraus. Another man tells me that my spiritual progress requires shaving my beard off, as I am clearly hiding behind it. Well, I think he is hiding, too; he is an ugly little runt in an oversized spiritual-authority costume trying to play the alpha male. Who knows, if the women listened to his preaching on female submission, it might actually work.

Posted on February 28, 2010 at 11:00 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: THE LONGEST CON, 'Family Values'

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