Blaming Women for the Sexually Abusive Male Pastor by A. Morcy
I hope I am getting the last name of the author correct. It’s hard to tell if it’s Morcy or MorEy.
I would encourage you to click the link and read the whole thing at the other site; I will only be pasting in a few paragraphs from the page.
The emphasis added below by way of bold font was added by me.
Note that Christian teaching on sex often puts the responsibility and onus on women to keep men pure. When and if men do sexually sin, women are often blamed.
For example, Christians frequently teach un-bibical, false beliefs, such as that men are incapable of sexual self control, God designed men to be visually wired or visually stimulated. They often teach the flip side, that women can cause men to stumble by way of their sexuality and clothing choices.
Single women are especially singled out (pardon the unintentional pun there), as Christians teach men that single women are to be avoided, because single women are sexual temptresses who can and will lead single and married men astray.
This view is problematic and insulting for a few reasons, one of which is that it denies a woman’s agency and does not acknowledge that every woman has her own preferences.
To put this another way, contrary to what Christians are teaching, I, as a single woman, do not find every single or married man I meet physically attractive, so I would not be inclined to want to have sex with such men. This, however, is never taken into account by Christians.
Christians who teach that all single women are harlots (including Christian ones) just insultingly assume that I, a single woman, whose standard of male sexiness and male beauty is on the level of movie star Hugh Jackman (that man is foxy fine!) would just as easily be turned on by a fat, balding, pot-bellied 62 year old preacher.
Ergo, Christians would tell even the fat, ugly, balding 62 year old preacher man to never, ever to meet alone with me, the, may I add, stunning, attractive, alluring and awesome 40 something.
In the usual Christian teachings on modesty, the burden for controlling man’s sexuality is put on the woman for some reason I have never fathomed.
Women are told by Christians (and this is quite similar to Islam’s views on this subject), that they are to dress modestly, because if a Christian man gets a glimpse of a woman’s leg, ear lobe, bare shoulder, or what have you, that the man will have lusty thoughts, and his having lusty thoughts then is blamed on the woman.
Never is the onus put on the man by Christian culture to control his own thought life and to take responsibility for his sexual sin. In almost every book, blog, sermon, or conversation I have come across, this responsibility is always placed on the woman by Christians.
- by Ann-Janine Morey
- Ann-Janine Morey is associate professor of religious studies at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. This article appeared in the Christian Century, October 5, 1988, p. 867. Copyright by the Christian Century Foundation
- With the exception of a few recent articles, most of them cited here, studies on clergy sexuality published in sociological, psychological or religious periodicals — as well as fictional treatments — have focused on male clergy adultery without mentioning the consequences suffered by women involved. Not only does the literature say almost nothing about the other woman,” but it fails to pay any serious attention to the fate of the minister’s wife when she discovers her husband’s sexual betrayal.
- The term “adultery” does not adequately define male ministers’ sexual involvement with female parishioners. Marie Fortune, executive director of the Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence in Seattle, suggests that a male pastor’s sexual advances toward a woman that occur while he performs his professional duties are better understood as “sexual abuse.” Whereas the term “adultery” implies that both participants are consenting equals, the term “sexual abuse” assumes that a person has used personal, social or physical power to coerce sexual intimacy.
- …. Pastoral counseling is one of the pastor’s professional tasks that is likely to offer opportunities for sexual abuse
- ….. The time-honored response to such situations is to blame women — the “other woman” or the pastor’s wife — for the sexual transgressions of a male minister.
- …Typical of recent treatments of the topic is “The Sexual Hazards of Pastoral Care” (Christianity Today, November 8, 1985) , by Dean Merrill, which describes the minister as an attractive target for “the Enemy,” or a “sitting duck for the romantically starved.”
- The pastor’s work “allows for a flexible schedule with little accountability”; he is “attuned to the aesthetic, emotional and interpersonal side of life” — all reasons why “moral failure in the ministry is more often the result of inattention than intent.”
- These excuses portray him as a misguided but innocent victim of circumstances — he was manipulated by a predatory female; he suffered from flextime confusion.
- Ministers’ wives, on the other hand, are often indicted for being discontent with their role, uninterested in sex and less spiritually committed than their husbands, forcing the pastors to seek support and adoration elsewhere. Robert J. Stout’s article “Clergy-Divorce Spills into the Aisle” (Christianity Today, February 5, 1982) blames women who encumber the pastor’s career. “Women of today” are not content sharing their husband’s vocation; perhaps her paycheck is larger than his; the wife does not understand the personal sacrifice necessary “for the work of the Lord to be effective,” and so hampers the work of the church’s leader.
- Finally, “there is a percentage of women who consider the sexual conquest of a pastor a goal worth pursuing.” The author makes no mention of the pastor’s possible interest in sexual conquest.
- In short, most discussions of the sexually abusive pastor perpetuate the misogyny of our theological heritage.
- …But we apologize for the male minister as we do not for women, and our knowledge is seriously skewed.