Mega Church Preacher Bill Hybels in Trouble Again For More Sexual Harassment

Mega Church Preacher Bill Hybels in Trouble Again For More Sexual Harassment (2018)

I don’t think I ever blogged about this Hybels guy before.

He was first in the news many months ago for sexually harassing several different women in his church years before, who had worked as church staff.

His church first denied that this was true, and they attempted to say the women who stepped forward to discuss their harassment or abuse by this guy were lying.

There are so many of these pervy pastors it’s hard to keep up with them all. If all I ever did was blogged about perverted pastors, it would be a full time job, and I’d never have a break from this blog!

I’m pretty sure that Hybels is a married guy, too. Christians keep teaching that marriage is necessary to make a person a godly, responsible adult, and to keep them out of sexual sin, but as we see (yet once again!) marriage does not necessarily instill character into anyone, nor does it keep anyone from sexual sin or from sexually abusing others.

Let this story also go to show that a person does NOT have to become perfect, godly, or sinless to “earn” a spouse from God.

Yes, there are some Christians out there who teach that if you are single and want to get married, God will with-hold your spouse from you unless you become more godly, mature, or whatever quality. As  you can see from news reports such as this one, that is total bunk.

God did not withhold a spouse from Hybels (again, I’m fairly certain he has a wife), even though God had to know what a pervert the man is.

(Link): He’s a Superstar Pastor. She Worked for Him and Says He Groped Her Repeatedly.


Bill Hybels built an iconic evangelical church outside Chicago. A former assistant says that in the 1980s, he sexually harassed her.

SOUTH BARRINGTON, Ill. — After the pain of watching her marriage fall apart, Pat Baranowski felt that God was suddenly showering her with blessings.

She had a new job at her Chicago-area megachurch, led by a dynamic young pastor named the Rev. Bill Hybels, who in the 1980s was becoming one of the most influential evangelical leaders in the country.

Continue reading “Mega Church Preacher Bill Hybels in Trouble Again For More Sexual Harassment”

James Dobson’s Family Talk Begs For Donations

James Dobson’s Family Talk Begs For Donations

You can visit the barfy “Family Talk” group here (on Facebook). Why is it barfy?

If you are single, especially a never married, childless adult over the age of 30, the posts and photos on the page will make you hurl.

The top entry on the page has a graphic reading, “I love my spouse in every situation!” (You can view that post (Link): here.)

I will give the folks at Dobson’s “Family Talk” props for (Link): the post with content by pastor Greg Laurie on how to handle the death of a loved one, because death is something that affects EVERYONE, regardless or marital status.

Farther down the page, though, is a post with a photo of a laughing couple with text reading: “When two people Love each other deeply…” (you can view that post (Link): here). Clearly, given the photo and such, it is referring to marital / romantic love, not the love that two friends can have for one another. Christian culture never acknowledges or promotes Friendship Love.

It remains obsessed with pushing a very narrow view of love: love for God, love for spouse, and sometimes, love for one’s own off spring. What of people who have never married or who are childless? These sorts of messages are hurtful or irrelevant.

Anyway, Dobson recently sent out a letter begging donors for more money. You can see it here:

(Link): Dec 2013 Letter from Dr James Dobson of Family Talk

The relevant portion of the guy’s letter, and the parts I found interesting (as in nauseatingly obsessed with “marriage and family”):

    Family Talk is not only attempting to strengthen marriage, parenting and the family; we are also working tirelessly to defend righteousness in the culture.

    For example, with the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom, (ADF), we will be bringing a lawsuit this month against HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to stop her Department from assaulting the Sanctity of Human Life.

    As I hope you know, the Obama Administration has mandated and intends to require that pro-life organizations, such as ours, and our healthcare insurers or administrators provide abortion-inducing drugs and devices to our employees, and thereby violate our deeply held convictions.

    Family Talk has not yielded to those demands…

    I must close by telling you that our contributions during the summer and fall of 2013 have been far below our needs. It isn’t difficult to figure out where that leads.

    It is likely that this shortfall in income has been caused in part by economic uncertainty and the utter foolishness of Obamacare. But if you can help us here at the end of the year, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Will you prayerfully consider a gift this month to help us reach and impact millions of families? In the process, it is our desire to assist you in building your family legacy.

Now, some liberal Christians, or ex-Christians and atheists and agnostics, who I saw discussing this letter, on another website or two, had a fit over Dobson’s comments about Obamacare, or they laughed about it. They were offended or put off by the anti Obamacare commentary.

I do not care about that; I’m not an Obama supporter and resent the fact I will be forced, by the Obama admin, to buy something I don’t want and do not need.

Dobson can rag on Obamacare all he likes, and it doesn’t bother me at all.

((Link, off site): Owning Up to the Obamacare Lies / Liberals are finally admitting, quietly, that conservative critiques were right all along.)

So the liberal Christians, atheists, and ex-Christians can go suck a lemon on that score.

(You know, just because you were hurt or offended by a “conservative” Church at some point, or by conservative theology, does not mean you have to turn a 180 and become a liberal or an Obama-supporting Democrat, or toss out a literalist understanding of the Bible, or mock those who still adhere to literalism.)

What I find repellent are these “pro family groups” asking people for money. These idiots do little to nothing to promote adult singles, or anyone who does not fit into the very narrow paradigm of “married with children.”

They feed into the evangelical, Reformed, Fundamentalist, and Baptist tendency to worship marriage and procreation (having children).

This also reminds me of the news story several months ago where Focus on the Family was not only firing employees due to budget shortfalls, but also begging donors for five million dollars to make a “pro family” film. The world does not need a “pro family” film, what a waste of five million dollars.
Related posts:

(Link): Focus on the Family Members Practice Infidelity or Homosexuality and Get Divorced and Remarry – links to exposes

(Link): The Bible Does Not Teach Christians to “Focus On The Family” – The Idolization of Family by American Christians (article)

(Link): Focus on the Family having financial problems – aw, too bad (not!)

(Link): Good Grief! Five Million Dollar Family Idoltary on Display: Focus on the Family Launches $5 Million Project Targeting Family Breakdown, Social Ills – Please, when you say you support marriage, be honest about what you REALLY mean

(Link): Do You Rate Your Family Too High? (Christians Who Idolize the Family) (article)

(Link): Focus on the Family advice columnist perpetuates stereotypes about single women

(Link): Family as “The” Backbone of Society? – It’s Not In The Bible

(Link): Focusing on the Family Causes Church Decline

(Link): Focus on Family spokesperson, Stanton, actually says reason people should marry is for ‘church growth’

(Link): Family Research Center (Christian group) thinks people (including the Nuclear Family) should be cut off food stamps

Focus on the Family Members Practice Infidelity or Homosexuality and Get Divorced and Remarry – links to exposes

Focus on the Family Members Practice Infidelity or Homosexuality and Get Divorced and Remarry – links to exposes

(Some of these stories date from the year 2000.)

Edit. April 2016. Preface and Clarification.

  • I am right wing myself and do not hate “the family,” nor am I opposed to traditional values or marriage.
  • Since I have started this blog, I have collected newer examples, ones that date up to March and April 2016, of other pro-family, Christian, or right wing persons or groups that have been caught in extra-marital affairs, or sexually abusing children – including, but not limited to, the Duggar family, whose son Josh was in the media for having sexually molested his sisters and a babysitter.
  • Here’s one example:
  • (Link): Pro Family Values Republican Hastert in Trouble Over Sexually Abusing Children (story date: April 2016) – I even criticize certain liberal views about sexuality in the midst of criticizing right wingers in that post.
  • You can look further examples up on my blog using the “search” box on the right hand side of the page to find newer examples; some of them might be linked to at the bottom of this post under “Related Posts”.
  • I was told in a Tweet by a reader that sharing “older” stories (some of the news items in this post date from the year 2,000) is not “helpful”.
  • I am absolutely dumbfounded by this. This is a person who usually seems to understand how the extreme focus on stereotypical, pro-family values that Christian gender complementarians champion are very alienating to women who never marry, who cannot have children, or who are divorced.
  • One reason of several I feature such stories on my blog – news stories of pro-family Christians who are caught having affairs and so on – is to show how hypocritical these groups are – the same group who marginalize anyone who is not married by the time they are 25 years old with three children.
  • These pro-family Christians make more out of the “nuclear family” than the God of the Bible ever did, which harms women who never marry, women who divorce, women who are infertile – women who do not or cannot meet the “gender complementarian” or “traditional family values” rules and roles some Christians heavily promote.
  • Understand I’ve had traditional values my entire life, and I am still pretty right wing on most subjects. But I’m not going to excuse the hypocrisy of other right wingers on any of this.
  • The age of these stories is irrelevant to a degree.
  • It doesn’t matter if some of the pro-family values men (or women) mentioned in this blog post were caught in adultery last week, ten years ago, or 50 years ago.
  • If anything, it shows that these pro-family types have been full of bunk consistently for a long time, all the more reason to question their views on some issues.
  • Christians who promote “Family” and “Family Values” often do so at the expense of women (and men) who cannot or do not meet such standards, and it’s been an on-going pattern for decades now, so it’s actually helpful to see older material that reveals this (see also (Link): Americans Are Nostalgic for a Family Life That Never Existed by S. Coontz) .
  • A lot of the organizations promoting “Family Values” revere the 1950s, American decade. They are stuck in the past. So there again, I don’t think the age of the articles below are entirely pertinent, or is a mark against what I’m trying to demonstrate: Christians usually make an idol out of marriage and family, which excludes single adults, the divorced, widows, and the infertile.

What hypocrites. And they continue to aid in the marginalization of adult singles and adult childfree, and they keep on worshipping parenthood and the nuclear family.

By the way, if Christian groups spent more time doing what the Bible says they are to do – such as, policing their own rather than those outside the church ((Link): 1 Corinthians 5:12), AND spent their time pointing outsiders to Jesus (who was never, ever a hypocrite), instead of complaining and griping about homosexuality, abortion, and feminism, and other social issues, then when one of their own is caught in an extra-martial affair, or whatever other kind of sin, there would not be as much damage done to Christianity.

You can also see in posts such as this, which contain numerous examples of married Christian men screwing teen girls or having affairs with grown women, that they run around claiming to support sexual purity but in practice actually do not.

This also goes to show, once more, that being married, contrary to what most Christians believe, does not make a person more ethical, sexually pure, or responsible than being un-married.

Christian fable: if you stay a virgin until you marry, the sex will be great. -If that is true, we would not see so many middle aged married Christian men screwing their 25 year old secretaries or visiting prostitutes, now would we?

This link is from Democratic Underground, a site whose members I am usually not in agreement with (I am right wing):

(Link): “Focus on the Family,” glass houses, a Philanderer and an “Ex-Gay” Gay – Democratic Underground

  • Focus on Family shows ‘repentance’
  • Trout, who has been married for 31 years, declined to discuss details of the extramarital relationship, but said that the woman was not a Focus on the Family employee and that the relationship was over.
  • The ministry has declined to discuss the factors behind Trout’s resignation, citing legal and privacy concerns.
  • Trout, 53, is best known as the on-air partner of the founder and leader of the ministry, James Dobson. Dobson is a key figure in the conservative Christian movement and earlier this year criticized George W. Bush, claiming the Republican presidential candidate was sacrificing conservative values to appeal to a broader base.
  • Mike Trout abruptly quit last week. In an interview Monday with The Gazette, he admitted to an “inappropriate relationship with a woman other than his wife and had no choice but to resign from a ministry that stresses the sanctity of marriage.”
  • COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A top official and radio announcer for Focus on the Family said he has resigned from the conservative Christian group because he had an extramarital affair.

Focus on the Family official resigns, admits extramarital affair

    • October 17, 2000
      Web posted at: 4:05 PM EDT (2005 GMT)

A Philanderer:

  • Associated Press
  • COLORADO SPRINGS — Focus on the Family’s 1,350 employees prayed, joined hands and circled the ministry’s offices to show “corporate repentance and confession” after recent embarrassing revelations about two of its leaders.
  • “Satan has thrown just about everything in his arsenal at us in the last several weeks as you know,” Focus on the Family President James Dobson told the staff in a recorded message Friday. “I am certain those who hate our cause are doing everything they can to undermine and to discredit it.”
  • The $116 million Colorado Springs Christian ministry is going through tough times. Mike Trout, a senior vice president and well-known radio show co-host, resigned Oct. 11 after admitting to an extramarital relationship.
  • A Focus division chief, John Paulk, was allowed to keep his job after visiting a gay bar in September and lying about it. Paulk, an avowed former homosexual, has been pulled from the speaker list of Saturday’s “Love Won Out” conference, which teaches that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice that can be overcome through prayer and therapy.
  • As a result of the Trout and Paulk incidents, the ministry has become the target of jokes on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and Politically Incorrect.

[original story source]:

(Link): Here We Go Again

    Issue: “Here we go again,” Nov. 11, 2000

  • Posted Nov. 11, 2000, 12:00 a.m. by Lynn Vincent
  • The recent revelation of Focus on the Family radio host Mike Trout’s marital infidelity has pundits pelting conservatives-and Christianity-again. Have two decades of clay-footed “celebrity conservatives” shattered the credibility of the “family values” movement? And can tough-minded actions restore some of it?
  • Bill Maher, talk-television’s answer to Nero, recently fed another Christian to his panelist-lions.
  • On Oct. 24, an aging Boy George, minor starlet Karen Duffy, and others batted the Mike Trout story around the studio-coliseum on Mr. Maher’s late-night show Politically Incorrect. Mr. Trout, longtime co-host of Focus on the Family’s flagship radio broadcast, last month resigned from the Colorado Springs-based ministry.
  • A few days later he admitted to an “inappropriate relationship” with a woman not his wife.
  • “How come so many of these people who are supposedly the ‘family people’ get caught?” Mr. Maher carped as a knowing titter rippled through the studio audience. “I mean, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, Henry Hyde, Strom Thurmond … they get caught. Why? Why?”
  • PromiseVision vice president Bill Horn, the panel’s token conservative that evening, gamely offered a defense: “Because people make mistakes and people are human … [Mike Trout] made a mistake and he was man enough to resign….”
  • Mr. Maher abruptly cut him off: “It’s because they’re ‘pervs’ to begin with and they try to cover it up by becoming Christians [and] Republicans. Those are 12-step programs for these people!”
  • Ugly, yes. But though he arrived at wrong conclusions, Mr. Maher was grappling in his own caustically comic way with a serious problem: the chain of hypocrisy among those who publicly preach family values, but privately poach in other people’s families.
  • The chain hamstrings innocent clergy, damages trusting laity, and, worst of all, tarnishes the image of Christ in the eyes of nonbelievers.
  • In a media-saturated culture that emphasizes sins among Christians and conservatives, incidents of saying one thing and doing another overwhelm for many Americans any good impressions that might be created.
  • …How big is the problem among church ministers? According to a national study of 4,000 active pastors over a 10-year period conducted by counselors at First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton, Calif., and completed in 1998, one in five pastors admits to indulging in “sexually inappropriate” behavior with someone who was not his wife since the time he first became involved with some local ministry.
  • That period may span many decades and many definitions of “inappropriate,” but ministers such as Chuck Smith, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Calif., say they have seen an increase in moral failure among Christians in public ministry. Mr. Smith’s own ministry exploded during the late 1960s Jesus movement, eventually spinning off 800 affiliated churches, dozens of parachurch groups, and numerous radio outreaches.
  • …Charles Ballard, president and founder of the Initiative for Responsible Fatherhood, remembers leading an abstinence workshop with a group of inner-city fathers who were struggling to walk a straight moral path: “Questions were raised in the group, which was mostly teenagers. The questions were along the lines of ‘How about this guy Swaggart? He has a wife, he has a family and here he’s out here [having sex with other women].'” Mr. Ballard concludes, “It’s the believer who preaches one thing and lives another that most hurts the cause of Christ.”
  • San Diego youth pastor and Bethel Seminary graduate Rich West, 29, says he labors under the yoke of an increasing public cynicism toward Christianity. “I think the culture has been inoculated by us and our moral failures,” he said. “I believe that people now expect that pastors and clergy will fall morally … it’s just so common that it’s expected.”

Though I totally disagree with this comment, that appeared in the above article:

    Part of that wall is built by prayer: “Lead me not into temptation” should be on the lips of every leader with admiring followers. Part should consist of basic precautions: the Billy Graham rule for leaders-don’t be behind closed, windowless doors with a member of the opposite sex-needs faithful following.

  • Part should be accountability procedures, preferably within a local church, where men report to each other the early stages of restlessness and thus corral it in time.

That excerpt above assumes that people are incapable of sexual self control, so married people avoid singles, and singles become isolated as a result. This is sometimes referred to as the Billy Graham Rule, which I have blogged about several times over on my blog, such as (Link): here and (Link): here – and many others (search for the term “Billy Graham Rule” on my blog to find more posts about it.)

(Link): Mike Trout Says Emotional Affair Forced His Resignation from Focus on the Family

    Ted Olsen [ posted 10/1/2000 12:00AM ]
  • Mike Trout says he resigned from focus because of extramarital relationship
  • Mike Trout, co-host of “Focus on the Family” with Dr. James Dobson for the last 15 years, says the reason he abruptly resigned from the organization was because of an “emotional” relationship with another married woman. “I’m greatly saddened,” Trout told The (Colorado Springs)Gazette. “I didn’t work at Focus on the Family for 19 years because of the paycheck or the benefits or the positive environment. I worked at Focus on the Family because I believed in what we were doing. I know that might sound strange, because I violated it.” The relationship, he says, is over, was “not a long-term thing,” and was not with another Focus employee. Trout told Dobson, and is now telling others, about the relationship and resigned immediately, he says, because “If I hadn’t shared the truth, it would have eventually come out.”

(Link): Subject: Tom Papania and Focus on the Family


    5) FYI – Ryan Dobson information – Dr. Dobson obviously has his own reason for not wanted to talk about Ryan’s divorce.
  • It is a very sensitive subject for the whole family. Again, the staff on the phones do not have any information about this, probably most don’t even know that he has been previously married.
  • You can write to Focus if you have a question and they will pass it on to the Correspondence department. I will save you the time and give you the answer. Ryan Dobson was divorced from Cezanne in 2001. Ryan was totally opposed to the dissolution of the marriage and there were no biblical grounds to justify it (No adultery involved.) Ryan has just recently remarried.
  • By the way, just because I work at Focus on the Family doesn’t mean that I agree with everything that goes on here (probably no employee agrees 100%). Nevertheless, I have a very high regard for Dr. Dobson and this ministry.
  • God Bless You
  • Andy
  • Hope this clears a few things up for you.
  • [reply]
  • If Ryan Dobson wants to be a public leader at a FAMILY ministry why is he allowed to keep issues like his marriage, divorce, and re-marriage a secret? Clearly, he has learned much from his father (about secrecy).
  • There is much more I could write. But I think this covers the main points. Please write again.
  • Sincerely,
    Brian Karjala
  • [concluding thoughts]
  • As for Mike Trout, former co-host of Jim Dobson’s radio program… he gives the introduction and closing remarks on the Focus on the Family “From Mafia To Ministry” Tom Papania tape originally broadcasted over radio stations in Dec. of ’96. Some years later Trout resigned from his VP position at Focus after he was lured and swallowed up by an extra-marital affair which he publicly confessed to.
  • Expect more scandals to come…

(Link): Testimony of Former Focus on the Family Employees and the Public

  • The Corruption of Focus on the Family
  • “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate!” (Cool Hand Luke)
  • Update: In response to webpages like this one Focus on the Family has been forced to address the Ryan Dobson divorce:
  • “You’ll be interested to know that the Dobsons have addressed this situation openly in response to any inquiries that are made. That said, it might be helpful to explain that Ryan and his former wife, Cezanne, divorced in the summer of 2001. Obviously, we must not invade the young people’s privacy except to say that Ryan was completely opposed to the dissolution of the marriage and that the biblical grounds that have permitted him to remarry are consistent with the scriptural understanding of abandonment.”
  • Many people coming to this website think the Dobson divorce is the big story. It does highlight the secrecy of the Dobsons and raises questions about Ryan’s behavior but it’s actually a minor issue compared with the Tom Papania story.
  • (Some have speculated that Cezanne may be a black woman and wonder why there was never a public photo posted of her. Ryan has posted photos of his second wife, Laura.)
  • The bigger story is that Focus on the Family’s most popular selling radio broadcast in its history is fraudulent along with the subsequent ongoing cover-up.
  • Papania continues to exploit people and harass those who expose his fraud.
  • And if Focus on the Family is responsible for recruiting the lawyer now representing Papania in an attempt to silence me then we are dealing with a callous evil that the public needs to know about. (In the past Papania has stated in his newsletters that the lawyer, a Dobson supporter, sought him out to freely represent him for the purpose of trying to eliminate websites like this one.)

(Link): Focus on Family exec admits affair, resigns

  • This has a long list of sexual sins by Mike Trout, Jimmy Swaggert, and other conservative, hetero Christians who worship family, who were caught having affairs, using porn or prostitutes, etc, then mentions a long list of public Christian personalities who claimed to be against homosexuality but were themselves having homosexual affairs:

(Link): Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth (book excerpt on Google Books)

Another book excerpt on Google Books mentioning the sexual sins and affairs of married Christian men who publicly bray about the importance of “family values” and marriage (though I assume this book was published ten or more years ago, because today’s social conservatives have LOST the culture war):

(Link): The Jesus Machine: How James Dobson, Focus on the Family, and Evangelical America Are Winning the Culture War

(Link): Focus on the Family Official Resigned Over Affair

    Mike Trout, an on-air personality for the evangelical radio ministry, has admitted to an ‘inappropriate relationship’
  • Mike Trout abruptly quit last week. In an interview Monday with The Gazette, he admitted to an “inappropriate relationship with a woman other than his wife and had no choice but to resign from a ministry that stresses the sanctity of marriage.”
  • Trout, 53, is best known as the on-air partner of the founder and leader of the ministry, James Dobson. Dobson is a key figure in the conservative Christian movement and earlier this year criticized George W. Bush, claiming the Republican presidential candidate was sacrificing conservative values to appeal to a broader base.

Related on this blog:

(Link): Focus on the Family Defends IRS Classification as a ‘Church,’ Says It’s Meant to Protect Donors

(Link): Family Values Republican Politician Hastert in Trouble for Sexual Assault of Kids / On Liberals and Not Having Sexual Standards

(Link):  Ashley Madison Site Hack Update / Family Values Activist Josh Duggar Had a Paid Ashley Madison Account

(Link):  News sites: Josh Duggar Joked About Molesting His Sisters, Has No Remorse for Extra-Marital Affairs (September 2015)

(Link):  Christian, Family Values Vlogger – Austin Null – Caught Sexting (story dates from January 2016)

(Link):  Family Values Republican Politician Hastert in Trouble for Sexual Assault of Kids / On Liberals and Not Having Sexual Standards

(Link): Another Christian Pro-Nuclear Family Marriage Idolator Married Father (Sam Rader) Caught By Ashley Madison Hack

(Link): Why Not Focus On How Churches Can Help Adult Singles?

(Link): Leader of Hyper Family Focused, Fertility Cult (Vision Forum Ministries) Steps Down After Admitting to Having an “Emotional Affair”

(Link):  ‘Decent guy’ Married youth pastor charged with sexually abusing 5-year-old girl at his home (March 2016) 

(Link): Conservative Christianity Stuck in 1950s Leave it To Beaver-ville

(Link): Focusing on the Family Causes Church Decline

(Link): The Bible Does Not Teach Christians to “Focus On The Family” – The Idolization of Family by American Christians (article)

(Link): Good Grief! Five Million Dollar Family Idoltary on Display: Focus on the Family Launches $5 Million Project Targeting Family Breakdown, Social Ills – Please, when you say you support marriage, be honest about what you REALLY mean

(Link): Christian Blogger About Divorce, Pastor Andrew Webb, Thinks All To Most Mid-Life Never – Married or Single – Again Adults Are Mal-Adjusted, Ugly Losers Who Have Too Much Baggage

(Link): Focus on Family spokesperson, Stanton, actually says [contrary to what the Bible teaches about church growth] the reason people should marry is for ‘church growth’

(Link): Focus on the Family having financial problems – aw, too bad (not!)

(Link): Focus on the Family advice columnist perpetuates stereotypes about single women

(Link): Janet Mefferd Concedes In One Radio Show that Christians “Lose Jesus” in all the “Family Values” Talk and Emphasis / Also FIC and Youth Worship

(Link): Republicans Ditch Family Values As Strategy (article)

(Link): Do You Rate Your Family Too High? (Christians Who Idolize the Family) (article)

(Link): Family Research Center (Christian group) thinks people (including the Nuclear Family) should be cut off food stamps

Have we made an idol of families? (copy)

Have we made an idol of families?, by Andy Stirrup [Book Reviews] | published June 6, 2011


    by Andy Stirrup
    Published: June 6, 2011

    ‘How can we idealise marriage and the nuclear family while clinging to a saviour who was unmarried and without issue?’

    In Sex and the Single Savior, Dale Martin asks an important question: have we made an idol of families? Our knee-jerk reaction is to say, ‘‘Of course not’. But Martin reminds us that sometimes we cling to theologically-phrased excuses for what we do, rather than examine what the Bible actually says. When it comes to the importance we attribute to the family (in conversation at least, even though our practice may undermine our ‘theology’), Martin asks how can we idealise marriage and the nuclear family while clinging to a saviour who was unmarried and without issue?

    The book brings together a number of Martin’s previously published articles to get to grips with a number of issues that have to do with gender and sexuality. He examines what classical and early Christian writers would have understood by the Galatians passage which referes to there being no male and female in Christ. He discusses how odd Jesus’ celibacy would have appeared to his contemporaries. But the most provocative chapter, as far as the family is concerned, is the eighth chapter, ‘Familiar Idolatry and the Christian Case against Marriage’.

    Martin begins the chapter with a bold announcement that mainstream Western Christianity (Catholic and Protestant, liberal and conservative) has made an idol of marriage and the family. It is a strong claim but we would have to agree with him that those who do not fit the nuclear family ‘ideal’ usually find themselves on the fringes of church life. Martin supports his claim by turning both to the New Testament and to the writings of the early Church. He suggests that the early Church was culturally much closer to the New Testament period and so they are better placed to understand the intention of the Biblical texts than modern theologians.

    Continue reading “Have we made an idol of families? (copy)”

Reviewers of Dobson’s book about parenting girls confirms it – U.S. Christians fixated on 1950s culture

Hmm. Maybe I should stop listening to Christian radio host Mefferd (her show is online here). The show title was “Mefferd speaks to Dobson,” with no indication of what the topic would be.

I clicked and listened. The show I listened to online is (Link:) here.

Most of her show topics are pretty interesting, but occasionally, she veers off into views I don’t agree with, or she interviews guests whose views make me want to puke.

As it turned out, Mefferd was interviewing Christian author Dobson about a book he wrote a few years ago called “How To Raise Girls.”

I’ve addressed in previous posts how most American churches and Christians are stuck in a 1950s time warp, where they continue to judge all behavior and culture by TV shows from the 1950s.

These types of conservative Christians look upon such television shows or the 1950s itself too, too fondly. I agree that the culture today is vulgar and coarse, and probably more so than it was in the 1950s.

However, and alarmingly, some conservative Christians consider 1950s American culture an ideal one, one to be emulated at all cost – they don’t hold Jesus Christ as the prime example to be emulated, mind you, but 1950s American culture.

Among other topics, I mentioned in the post “American Women Serving in Combat,” that one possible reason Christianity is failing today in the United States and church membership is lagging, is that American Christians spend more time wagging their index fingers at liberals and liberalism, and talking about the evils of contemporary culture (such as the existence of abortion and so on), than in actually helping people – specifically helping other American Christians.

If American Christians spent more time actually meeting the emotional and practical needs of other American Christians, instead of ignoring them in favor of pontificating on abortion, the legalization of homosexual marriage, concern about feminism, or on raising funds (for the billionth time) for rice and beans for starving orphans in Africa, maybe more Americans would find being a Christian more rewarding, practical, beneficial, and want to attend church regularly.

I listened to Mefferd interview Dobson concerning his book “How To Raise Girls,” and was completely turned off.

Gender complementarians (such as Mefferd and Dobson) over-empahsize their view that males and females differ.

Biblical gender egalitarians, such as myself, agree there are differences between males and females.

However, the older I get, I no longer buy the view that males and females are polar opposites across the board.

I think the genders have a lot in common, and both genders are expected by God to imitate Jesus Christ.

There is no “pink” Jesus for girls and no “blue” Jesus for boys.

Anyway, Dobson spent some time telling Mefferd on this radio show that Christian parents ought to raise their little girls to be “lady like.”

That term is rather sketchy and vague, and I don’t recall him clarifying what he means by it. Maybe he was more clear what he means by that term in his book.

I am going to assume for the purposes of this post that I understand what he was getting at with the phrase “lady like.”

I was definitely raised by a “June Cleaver” (1950s fictional television character) type of mom myself – all the way.

I crossed my legs when I sat down, wore panty hose under dresses, did not use cuss words, never wore pants to church services, didn’t sleep around, was never blunt or confrontational – I was a sweet, helpful little doormat who repressed all anger.

I can’t even begin to describe how being raised to be so “lady like” did so much damage to me, how many problems it created.

I am now trying to un-do the years of beliefs and behaviors I was taught was proper, godly, or lady like for a Christian female.

And it’s that very “ladylike” behavior that was so crippling for me (and other Christian women) that Dobson wants other girls to strive for.

There’s this assumption by these Dobson types – the ones who think little girls should be taught to be “lady like” – that if a female is raised to be a gentle, soft spoken, coy, compliant little thing, that this will attract men to her as she ages, and she will be able to get a husband.

I can see how that sort of thinking was true when my mother was a teen ager, but it’s not true for women like me who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s.

Being coy, passive, meek, modest, mild, self-effacing, totally selfless, nurturing, and compliant (“ladylike”) does not guarantee a girl a spouse any more, and is actually a lure for abusive men, which gender complementarians don’t seem to realize – or care about.

Being “lady like” also stunts a girl’s ability to become an independent adult.

After listening to Dobson’s interview with Mefferd about his book about girls,  I went to a book review site and looked Dobson’s book up.

I read reviews by people who read Dobson’s book, and they interestingly echo some of the views I expressed in my post the other day, over conservative Christianity in general.

You will see some of those views here, ones that I’ve brought up before about the state of contemporary Christianity, that these reviewers repeat about Dobson in particular, like how these reviewers notice that….

  • Dobson idolizes 1950s American culture;
  • Dobson, like so many other biblical gender complementarians, portrays un-biblical codependency as being desirable in a female, or mistakes codependency for being some kind of biblical standard for femininity;
  • spends more time complaining and bitching about liberalism than he does in actually dispensing useful parenting advice, etc:

From reviews of Dobson’s book “How To Raise Girls”

Review by Aaron Thompson

(who gave the book a 2 star out of 5 star review):

This review is from: Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Women (Hardcover)

I’ll just say I’m not a fan of James Dobson, but I have a habit of reading books even if I don’t think I’ll like them. I got this for free, so I thought I’d give it a go.

True to what I expected, I thought the book was far too negative. The majority of the book is spent talking about how the world is terrible and getting worse by the second. He spends a lot of time recounting “the good ol’ days”, which I assume is when he was a young person. I think it’s safe to say the world was just as bad then, just in some different ways.

I also think he is far too old-fashioned. Call it what you will, but I don’t think it’s necessary for a man to walk on the street side of the sidewalk or order for his date. Those types of behaviors would drive me crazy. In general, I don’t agree with the 1950’s housewife idea he has for women. If a particular woman wants her relationship to work that way, fine. But many don’t.

And lots of men don’t want that, either.

And guess what? We are dedicated Christians. I do like a little romance to be sure, but if my husband acted the way Dobson advocates for, I would feel completely smothered.

Dobson also makes himself sound outdated by comparing piercings to self-harm, such as cutting, and saying that it means you hate yourself.

No, Dr. Dobson, I didn’t hate myself when I got my tongue, nose, lip, and whatever else pierced. I just liked the style at the time.

It had no bearing whatsoever on my relationship with God, and it did not mean I was sexually abused, drank alcohol/did drugs, or had promiscuous sex. In fact, none of those things were the case with me.

I also disliked his assessment on Disney Princesses. He’s a big fan. He says girls love them because they’re beautiful, have it all together, marry Prince Charming, have an unlimited wardrobe complete with fancy dresses, and everyone loves them.

They are the epitome of femininity and represent wanting to feel beautiful and loved as well as secure.

I don’t think those are very Christian attitudes, to be honest.

I would rather be focusing my life on whatever God calls me to, even if it’s hard. Even if it’s dirty. Even if it calls me to be lonely, ugly, poor, or unmarried.

I think the Princesses give the wrong idea that desiring security and beauty is more important than desiring God. Would I completely ban a daughter from playing with Princesses? Of course not. It’s fun to dress them up. But I do worry about her “looking up” to them.

Honestly, I don’t think Dobson includes enough scripture. When he does, the majority is from the Old Testament. That’s not bad, but I would like to hear the words of Jesus and his disciples. To me, the book (and Dobson, for that matter) is about Traditional America first, Jesus second.

There are a few things I found worthwhile in the book. Dobson had interesting information on warning signs to look for in teenagers with things like sexual abuse.

This is helpful, because my husband is a youth pastor. I also appreciated the ideas for daughters and fathers to strengthen their relationship. I know that a lot of girls don’t have fathers in their lives, or if they do, their fathers are distant, so I think this is a great thing for fathers to hear and possibly be convicted about.

All in all, I think there are far better parenting books, but in most books, you can find a few worthwhile things.

(Please click the “read more” link below to read the rest of this post)

Continue reading “Reviewers of Dobson’s book about parenting girls confirms it – U.S. Christians fixated on 1950s culture”

Topics Preachers Should or Shouldn’t Mention When Discussing Singlehood

Here are a few suggestions as to what I think Christian pastors and Christian talk show hosts should (or should not) preach or discuss when addressing Christian singlehood.*

Sex, Sex, Sex and More Sex

I think sex is one topic that Christian pastors need to stay away from when talking to or about singlehood, or they need to stop lecturing about it as often as they do.

Anytime pastors or Christian personalities (such as people who host Christian television shows) do bother to address singles (usually they’re fixated on married life, unfortunately), it’s usually nothing more than to issue dire warnings about not giving in to sexual sin.

Continue reading “Topics Preachers Should or Shouldn’t Mention When Discussing Singlehood”