Singles Discrimination, Complementarianism, Equally Yoked Teaching, and Spotting Predators in Church Video
Someone in a Christian discussion group posted this video (and I don’t want to link to the group or mention it by name, though you may be able to figure out which one it is, especially if you are already familiar with it), and the Christians on the discussion board talked about it:
That same video has also been making the rounds on other Christian blogs, sites, forums, and on Twitter.
The video is around 18 minutes long. I watched it a few days ago.
The video features a Christian woman who says a 50-something guy showed up at her church, a man who set off red flags for her, due to his weird behavior around the kids who were there at the church, including her own.
The man behaved overly-familiar with her kid, other people’s kids who were there, and he ignored the parents of the kids.
(1) First, I’m going to discuss what I believe this video has to do with complementarianism.
(2) Then I am going to discuss some of the disturbing comments about adult singles that were made in the Christian discussion group where I saw this video posted to, and next,
(3) I’ll move on to discussing, as mentioned by a woman or two in the group, about the creepy behavior single adult women have to put up with, even at church, and what this has to do with the Christian “Equally Yoked” teaching.
So, this Christian woman (I think her name is Sarah McDugal) made a video and uploaded it to You Tube, a video about how she confronted a 50-something man who came in to her church alone and was acting, in her opinion, very suspiciously around children at the church.
McDugal not only confronted the guy, but she told church security about him. They informed her they had gotten other complaints about him, and that he had been spotted chatting up little girls outside the church’s girl’s bathroom or something of that nature.
This woman confronted him – pretty boldly, it would seem. She didn’t seem intimidated at all at the idea of confronting the man.
I’m not sure what kind of church McDugal attends (if she mentioned it in the video, I didn’t hear, or I forgot), and I don’t know if she considers herself a complementarian.
I wrote a post some time ago explaining that I am (Link): no longer a complementarian.
I would be very surprised if the woman in this video is a complementarian, especially if she was raised under it from the time she was a child.
If I found out that McDugal was raised, say, as an atheist but only later in life converted to complementarianism, that I would find way more plausible, because she didn’t have her assertiveness stripped from her, as do Christian women who were indoctrinated since childhood to believe in complementarianism.
Christian gender complementarianism is the same thing as codependency.
Codependency encompasses, but is not limited to, behavior such as being very passive, lacking boundaries, and never putting you or your needs first, because doing so would supposedly be selfish.
Codependents are very hesitant to be assertive and are highly conflict avoidant.
Christian gender complementarians interpret the Bible in such a way that they define “biblical womanhood” to mirror codependent behaviors.
Many complementarians believe and teach that God designed femininity (women) to lack boundaries, be followers (not leaders), to be passive, and never get their own needs met (it is taught that women exist only to meet the needs of men).
Non-Christian culture also expects, and socially conditions, women, from the time they are girls, to behave in a passive manner, and conveys the message it is wrong for girls or women to be out-spoken, assertive, to have boundaries, and so. (Only men are supposed to, or are allowed to, have those characteristics.)
Christian complementarian women are not encouraged by complementarians to be bold as lions. They are not encouraged to be confrontational and assertive.
Christian complementarian women are encouraged to act in a weak, quiet, sweet, non-confrontational manner, because that is considered to be “biblical womanhood” and “feminine” behavior.
Christian woman, especially if being brought up in a complementarian denomination, are conditioned to think of themselves as being continual “Damsels in Distress” who should count on men to protect and rescue them.
Some complementarian apologists would likely want to dispute my characterization of their views.
But remember, I myself was brought up by complementarian parents in a series of complementarian churches.
Further, I was exposed to complementarian preaching and complementarian books and magazines from the time I was a kid.
I can tell you first hand that none of the complementarian parenting, sermons, or other material I heard growing up instilled in me self-confidence, to think it acceptable to challenge a man, to be bold.
Complementarianism does not produce women who are daring and brave enough to confront a man in their church whom they suspect is a child molester.
I personally think it’s great that the woman in this video did what she did.
I think it’s wonderful she has the self-assurance and courage to know and believe it’s acceptable for her to march right up to a strange man in her church and ask him very pointedly what he is doing there and to ask “who are you.”
She did not back down with this guy, even as he sat there glaring at her, attempting to intimidate her into slinking away. She stood her ground.
Her self-assured attitude in this video, and how she describes her interaction with the man, leads me to believe that either she is not a complementarian, or she’s a complementarian who is one in name only – that is, she claims the label but lives in an egalitarian fashion.
A true complementarian woman (one who was fully indoctrinated in complementarianism and who really, really beleives in it) would not be as assertive as this woman was, especially not to a man she did not know.
The only exception I can think of, however, is this one: while complementarians and secular culture generally shame or discourage women from behaving assertively, they do tend to make an exception if the woman is defending her children, or is defending children in general.
So it’s possible that even more strident complementarians (except for John Piper – he seems to think (Link): women in danger should wait on a man to step forward to (Link): protect them) would applaud this woman for following through on her protective “Mama Bear” behavior.
But generally speaking, complementarians (and secular society) strongly frown on women who are bold, out-spoken, and daring.
I don’t how, who, or what gave the woman in this video the strength and fortitude to confront a grown man in her church as she did, but I know it was most certainly not Christian gender complementarianism.
Gender complementarianism removes the qualities in a woman it would take for her to be able to confront a man, or to even realize it’s permissible for her to have the right to confront a man in the first place, as this woman did.
Complementarianism seeks to “weed out” such behavior and thinking in women and make them weak, not strong.
Adult Singles And This Video
In the Christian discussion group about this video, some women under the video got into a discussion cautioning other women from characterizing all men (especially single men) as being pedophiles.
Then other women challenged those women on that score.
To summarize some of the attitudes I saw going on below that thread (which I did not post to myself. I only read), some of the (married) women seemed to feel that any and all men who are alone – who appear to be un-married in public – are child molesting perverts.
I cringed when I saw that.
Yes, it’s true that a person has to be cautious in today’s society.
It seems like most every news article I see about child molesting, it’s a man (not a woman) who is guilty.
But some child molesters are married men. Studies I’ve cited on this blog before on older posts show that there are more married child molesters than there are single male child molesters.
It’s so incredibly unfair and insulting to automatically assume that a person is a pedophile just because he is un-married and out in public alone.
I did a blog post about this subject a long time back:
Singles should not be harassed, discriminated against, or banned from appearing in water parks, playgrounds, or where ever else, due to being single alone.
I’m all for keeping kids safe and taking precautions, but not when it infringes upon singles, or when this endeavor morphs into punishing single adults for merely being single and for going out alone in public. Then it becomes ridiculous and over-kill.
Being single and going out single is not immoral. It is not a crime. It should not be treated as such.
One of the women pointed out that a man alone should not be treated as though he were a sexual predator just because he’s alone at a church or at a playground, not unless his behavior, his actions, is giving one reason to assume.
But just being alone in public is not grounds enough for a woman to march up to him and accuse him of being a pedophile, or to act as though he is.
A woman in that thread offered a rebuttal.
She said years ago, she went to the park with her children. While she was there, a man showed up, put down a lawn chair facing the playground, and sat down and began reading a book. This, to her, was suspicious.
So, she said, she walked over to the guy and started grilling him.
Because, in her opinion, a man sitting in a lawn chair reading a book facing kids on a playground is troubling, and this behavior suggests he’s a child rapist.
I don’t know this park. This woman did not mention the name of the park or its location. I don’t know how big the park is.
But this woman poster seemed to think it was a big enough park the man could’ve chosen a spot in another area, or not faced his chair towards the playing children.
I’m sitting there thinking, lady, if the guy is not talking to the kids, not grooming them (“flirting” with them), and he’s not offering candy to kids if they will go get in a creepy Pedo van, and he’s not asking them to go behind some bushes with him to find his lost puppy, don’t assume he’s a child molester or treat him like one.
It’s not a crime or immoral for a man alone to sit facing kids on a playground in a park reading a book.
Anyway, the lady poster said she went to go talk to the Lawn Chair guy.
She said after they talked for a bit, it became clear to him that she was just checking he was on the “up and up” and meant no harm to anyone.
He told her he was at the park early, that his wife would be coming by in another few minutes with their kids.
She then said if she did not see his wife show up, she would return to talk to him further.
I sat there stunned and infuriated.
First of all, that man has every right to sit in a park reading a book, even if he wants to sit in a chair facing kids – it matters not if he has a wife or not.
A man alone reading a book in a park, even if he’s facing the direction of playing children, is not seedy or engaging in questionable behavior.
If he gets up off the chair and starts trying to lure the kids back to some bushes and so on, yes, I’d consider that suspicious. But sitting in a chair alone reading a book? No.
The woman in the Christian discussion group said it’s all okay because the man laughed, she laughed, so it was all good.
She further tried to defend her position as being acceptable because she said she did not speak to the guy in a threatening or rude manner.
That doesn’t entirely matter – your behavior was, your assumptions were, insulting.
No, lady, it’s not good. It was rude and presumptuous.
I don’t think there is a POLITE way to imply to someone’s face that you suspect he may be a child molester, all due to the mere fact he’s alone at a park reading a book.
I’m a never-married adult, and I have every right to go out in public, even around areas where there are children, and be left alone – not treated like a pervert.
There is a sensitive line between being vigilant to protect children and ostracizing single adults for being single in public.
You’re giving never-married adults yet another reason to stay away from churches (and other places), which is not fair to us.
Christian singles are already shuttled off to “Singles Ghettos” in churches, where they are brushed off and forgotten. But you want them marginalized from public places as well, I see.
And, reminder, some married men are child molesters.
A man being married is not a safety guarantee that he won’t molest kids.
Another woman in that discussion in the Christian group mentioned that when she was in her twenties and in a singles church group there, a new single guy showed up to their singles Bible studies.
She said he made her uncomfortable.
She said the guy never asked her on a date, but he kept following her around the church, he would approach her, claiming to have questions about the Bible, and he already knew where she lived, and that she lived alone.
She informed the people in her group about this guy’s odd-ball behavior (he was giving off weirdo vibes).
She said he later followed her home after a Bible study, he came to her door, wanted her to let him in, she refused, and he got angry.
He gave up on her and began stalking a different woman from their church. He then showed up to her (or another woman’s – she wasn’t clear) apartment and did the same routine on her.
Finally, someone from this scenario told the church leadership what was going on. They kicked the guy out of their church. She said he started going to another church, where he began stalking and threatening another woman there. He was arrested.
I bring this woman’s story up to say I no longer regard churches or their singles classes as safe places to meet and date single men.
My parents always told me as I was growing up that I’d have a better chance of meeting a decent man to marry that I met at a church rather than at a bar or night club, but I no longer believe that.
There are just as many perverts, sexual harassers, abusers in churches as there are in secular spaces.
(Kudos to this church for barring this guy in the woman’s story, but many churches won’t do that, especially if the woman in question is MARRIED to the guy. Had this woman telling this incident to the group been married to the man, they most likely would’ve forbidden her from divorcing him, calling the police on him. They would’ve likely told her to submit to him more and pray for him – be passive and just “hope” that he changes or magically hope that God fixes the guy.)
Many Christians teach the Equally Yoked rule, which says that a Christian should only marry another Christian. They shame and pressure Christian women to refrain from dating and marrying Non-Christian men.
I gave up on the Equally Yoked teaching many years ago (I’m willing to date or marry a Non-Christian now), for several reasons, but one of them is that men who profess Christ are no safer to date for women than Non-Christians.
Professing Christian men are no better, safer, polite, or higher quality than the average Non-Christian man.
If you’re a single woman at a church, you’re just as apt to run into creepy, abusive, or stalker men who profess Christ as you are out in the secular world among Non-Christians. So the Equally Yoked rule in regards to marriage is stupid and a waste of a single woman’s time.
Video below from You Tube of ‘What to Do When A Predator Comes To Your Church’:
And take-aways from this video and the discussion it created on other Christian sites:
-The woman in the video must not be a complementarian
(complementarians DISCOURAGE women from displaying the assertive qualities this lady showed)
-Do not treat all single adults who show up alone in a church or public place as though they are automatically child molesters,
unless their ACTIONS give you solid reason to suspect them of being as such
-Perverts, abusers, weirdos, and stalkers, who claim to be Christians, attend churches, where they harass women,
so I cannot advise single Christian women to follow the “equally yoked” rule or tell them they can expect to feel safe in a church environment
(Link): Why Is It So Difficult To Believe Single Men Can Have Paternal Instincts Too? by A. Mahdawi
(Link): Welcoming Singles Into Your Church by E. Metaxas via Gina Dalfonzo
(Don’t accuse them all of being pedophiles, or treat them as though they are, for starters)
(Link): Christian ‘Married People’ Privilege – Most Marrieds Remain Amazingly Blinded to Christian Discrimination Against Singles Or Write Unmarrieds’ Concerns Off, As Though They Are Nothing Compared to Marriage/ Parenting.
Marrieds and Parents also turn every thing into them, about them, about marriage and their needs/ problems