Vision Forum and Blaming the Victim

If you glance at the right side bar, you may quickly ascertain that my previous two posts about Doug Philips and Vision Forum are right up there among the most read. This was, in part, driven by some who want to cast me as a defender of things I do not actually defend. If you take the time to scroll through the comments, or look at posts like this one, you may see that some folks got the idea that I was somehow blaming the young lady involved, which was not the case at all. How could I do that? I don’t know the facts. Right now, just about all I know comes from Doug Philips’ public accusation of himself.

When I used the example of Samson and Delilah, I was no more saying that she was being a Delilah than I was saying that Doug Philips was appointed by God as a judge in Israel. My point there was simply that men can be really stupid whenever they think they are bullet proof. That is the only thing I was asserting.

But what my objectors may have been picking up on, in between the lines, is my conviction that such a scenario could have been the case. I really do think any number of things might have happened, and don’t take sides based on the current politicization of sex. Anybody who knows beforehand how they would vote on a jury based on whether the accused is male or female needs to be kept away from juries.

Proverbs 18:17 might someday become my life verse. Until you know what happened, you don’t know what happened. The world being the way it is, Philips might have been a creepy predator, preying on a dazzled and overwhelmed homeschool girl. Or, the world being what it is, she might have been a little vixen who saw her main chance. In short, she may have been a victim, she may have been a co-conspirator, or she may have been any number of other possibilities in between.

Sometimes the woman is responsible. Think Potiphar’s wife. Sometimes the man is. Think Amnon with Tamar. Sometimes they both are. Think David and Bathsheba, or Samson and Delilah.

Sometimes they are both responsible, but for completely different sins. Suppose a nubile young ninny put on a halter top and miniskirt and walked across the bad part of town at two in the morning. If I came to the conclusion that she was being a buxom little idiot, this would in no way be a defense of the evil dudes who saw something they wanted, and an easy opportunity for getting it. No, I would want a police chief to treat them like the evil men they are, but liberals would actually rather vote in a mayor like De Blasio. Maybe they want things to get really dangerous again so they can resume their much-missed “take back the night” rallies. Candles, not cops!

When Emily Yoffe recently wrote that college women should protect themselves from sexual assault by refraining from getting drunk, the response she got from the worked up world of feminism would make you think she proposed repealing the 19th Amendment. She was interpreted as “blaming the victim.”

Important notice to watchblog groups: I am not in any way arguing that the young woman in the Vision Forum scandal has ever worn a halter top, or a miniskirt, or has gotten drunk, or is a place-holder for Potiphar’s wife.

Unless we know, we don’t know. But in any case, on any accounting, Philips was the one who was responsible to be responsible, and he is therefore the one who has no one else to blame when his ministry is blown to smithereens. If you can take this position and turn it into a “blame the victim” narrative, be my guest. But let me stand back a few steps, because when the creative juices of that amperage start to flow, no telling what might happen.

Nobody can play “blame the victim” yet because we do not yet know if there even was a victim. There could well be . . . but the facts, as they actually happened, and which we do not yet have, matter.

But this brings me to the main point, which is the double standard that liberals like to bring to all such matters. Not only do they have a double standard, but it is one they have soaked in lighter fluid and set on fire, so we can always find it in the night time.

Let me give two examples. When it comes to questions like getting an abortion, or initiating sexual relations with a fellow high school sophomore, or watching government approved porn for sex-ed classes, or coming out as homosexual, liberals want young teenagers to be treated as responsible adults. But then, if someone in authority make a pass at them, instead of slapping his face good and hard, like a responsible adult, the liberal assumes that a teenager has to be a terrified victim of authoritarian lust that cannot be denied. But if they are an adult, then they should be treated that way all the time. If they need guidance and protection (as I believe), then they need it all the time. You can’t switch the need for oversight on and off, depending on the politics of the thing.

But that kind of thing requires preparation. Fathers have a responsibility to bring up daughters who respect themselves. That is what true patriarchy is after — not craven women, easily manipulated. Perhaps one day I may tell you the story of what happened when Rachel was a teen, and somebody did something entirely inappropriate, and she mushed an ice cream cone in his face. That’s my girl.

The second example comes from the fact that some people have resumed quoting my comments from Fidelity, wherein I observed that sexual congress involves penetration. This generated howls of outrage and dismay, as though I was preparing the way for broader public acceptance of rape. What I was actually doing in that section of the book was explaining and countering the demented genesis of rape fantasies. When you deny nature, the result will somehow be unnatural.

The secularists and feminists may huff and blow, and pretend that “we don’t have a problem” with demented self-loathing fantasies, but all I would do is point to the bestselling 50 Shades of Hypocrisy.

So get this. The people who would yell the loudest about a creational authority and submission in the marriage bed, grounded in mutual love and respect, saying that such a medieval notion is toxic for women — such people have their own issues. Shall I illustrate?

Suppose we went out and found some old school missionary who wanted to insist on the missionary position for everybody. Without defending his views, I nevertheless guarantee that he would be mercilessly harangued as an oppressor of women, and a hazard to the public weal. However, comma, if that same man changed direction suddenly, lurching, shall we say, and started writing about fur-lined handcuffs, blindfolds, and slapping the bitch around to put her in her place, we could probably find a place for him on the New York Times best seller list. And if he got himself some bling and an over-sized white windbreaker, shot a few people, and put a seething hatred of women into metrical rhyme, we could probably get him an invite to an Obama fundraiser.

Just the other day I came out of Target, where I saw a well-stocked row of that 50 Shades misogynistic crap, alongside the knock-offs, being bought up by the kind of people who want to explore alternative sexualities in between their lectures on how traditional Christians mistreat women. This is why some enterprising neologifier coined words for us like puh-leeeze.

And if you have a problem with my use of the word bitch in the example, I will simply ask where that word is found more often — in your bookstores or ours? In your greeting cards or ours? In your conversations or ours? In your rap music or ours? I don’t ever talk that way, but I sometimes have to write about people who do. And the people who do often have a pretty sweet double game going.

Take in the obvious, and run a little thought experiment. Take 100 women who have complained about my Mablogian “misogyny” in the comments here, or who would agree with any such comments. Now take 100 women who are in my corner, who like what I write and so on. In which group would you find a higher percentage of women who had bought and read 50 Shades of Grey? In which group would you find a higher percentage of women who have been called a bitch by an angry husband or boy friend? In which group would you find a higher percentage of women who had been physically abused by a man close to them?

And no, if I may anticipate an objection, the point is not that such women deserve what they are getting. They do not. The point is that perhaps such women are not the most reliable guides on identifying and avoiding men who really are misogynistic jerks. The one who is lost in the woods may not be the best one to ask about how to avoid getting lost yourself. She may not have the best grasp of what the actual predictors are.

And no, if I may anticipate another objection right after the first one, the point is not that the percentage among conservative Christian women would zero. I know what it is like to be involved in church discipline against a man who won’t treat his wife with decency and respect. My point that conservative Christians do a better job of actually protecting women than those who do not fear God.

We live in a screwed up world, and women do need to be protected. Overwhelmingly, they need to be protected from men. I believe that godly men need to step up and assume that role of protector, and I also believe that it is a high form of treachery for a man entrusted with that role to turn into someone a woman needs protection from. I believe that Doug Philips taught that men should be dragon-fighters, but that in this instance, he became the dragon instead. The woman may have wanted him to do that, or she may have tried to resist it. But it doesn’t matter.

In either case, to try to turn my hatred of this kind of sin into a “wink and a nod” among the patriarchal good old boys takes a special kind of talent. Fortunately for their little cottage industry, it is the kind of talent that certain watchblogs have in abundance.


45 comments on “Vision Forum and Blaming the Victim

  1. A loud AMEN here...and I am in the group of women who have been blessed and edified by your writings, and Nancy's too.  Thank you for this!   
  2. What I don't think anyone else has pointed out is the difference between a Christian caught in sin and someone else caught the same way.  How many of these public scandals are like this one.  Even though actual sexual relations have not occurred the guy has admitted responsibility, acknowledged wrongdoing, stepped down from leadership and sought forgiveness and tries to rebuild with his wife.  For an emotional attachment without consummation, as I understand it. Now it's a terrible grief and shame that he has fallen in this way, but there is an integrity to his response that is completely absent from the liberal recourse to technological "errors", accusations of frame ups, redefining words and straight out continuing on in indifference.  Take your mind through the basic plot lines of the similar scandals of recent years. I hope the guy can find grace and patch it up (without ever leading again)  
  3. I followed the link to the Yoffe article and it set me thinking.  How much grief and pain comes to people who believe the feminist axiom that men and women are the same or ought to be.  When you fight reality you lose. 
  4. Hypocrites go to Hell.  Liberals are (often) hypocrites.  The conclusion is obvious.  Repent, please.  (And I probably need to repent of how I said that...)
  5. Let me offer what may be a unique perspective here:  I spent the first half of my life active in Reformed circles, and the last three decades of my life as a left-of-center atheist.  I therefore have seen the dynamics Doug talks about in both evangelical circles and secular left circles.  I probably know more secular leftists than anyone else here.  And can we please stipulate that all ideologies, religious and political, have their share of shrill, lunatic fringe, irrational nutcases?  I could tell you a lot about secular leftist lunacy that you're probably unaware of; I could also say a lot about Christian lunacy that you'd probably rather I didn't.  It exists in both camps, folks, and both sides are guilty of pointing to it and claiming that it is representative of the movement as a whole.  It isn't.  There are mainstream feminists who would agree with much of what Doug says, though certainly not all.  On the other hand, I just got a whole boatload of vitriol earlier in the week for suggesting on a secular leftist blog that boys need fathers and that having children you can't afford leads to poverty, views which admittedly put me closer to the views of most of those here.  I love a good debate as much as the next person, but the best debates stick to the arguments at hand and avoid painting your opponents (often unjustly) as crazier than they actually are.
  6. Eric, "There are mainstream feminists who would agree with much of what Doug says". Now "feminist" covers a lot of territory I'll grant - but Mainstream ones would agree? Are you sure?  And would they still agree after they found out Doug said it?  I don't think it is painting opponents as crazier than they actually are to point out that they are in fact crazy.  By definition the ones Doug was talking about are the crazy ones, though that was never his term, unless I missed it. By the way, is there Christianity that is not lunacy, from your perspective?      
  7. I appreciate the clarification, and I find it helpful.  A thing I wish we (including me) could set aside is any argument based on the notion that a sin on the left is less sinful if we can find it being committed by somebody on the right, and vice versa.  For example, drawing on my experience as a Catholic, anyone who attempted to justify priest abusers on the grounds that there have always been religious leaders who like little boys, lost me totally and permanently.  The fact that a Christian leader might betray his responsibility not to prey on the flock does not excuse the conduct of a lefty professor who preys on coeds.  Can we ever get past this? 
  8. Do we really care who has read "50 Shades of Gray" or not?  Is that the litmus test?  Whatever happened to plain, ol' simple "love one another?" "Conservative Christians do a better job of actually protecting women than those who do not fear God."  Yeah, Doug Phillips certainly is a GREAT example of how Christian men protect women better than those who do not fear God. My experience is just the opposite.  I have seen Christian men abuse and hurt women in the name of Christ far more than I have seen those who don't claim Christ.  Christians are FAR more judgmental and quick to heap condemnation on others than those "liberals" who allow others freedom to make their own choices in life. Yes, men should not hurt or abuse women, but it happens, with or without Christ.  It is worse when it is done in the name of Christ.
  9. Post a comment
  10. JohnM, most mainstream feminists would agree with Doug that it's a stupid idea for a good looking young woman to put on a halter top and miniskirt and walk through a bad neighborhood at 2 AM, though they probably wouldn't phrase it quite the way he did.  They would go the next step, however, and say that she should be able to do so if she likes without having to worry about getting raped, because men should not be raping women, period.  I think Doug would probably agree with that as well.  So, it's not so much a difference of opinion as a difference in emphasis.  Most feminists would agree that teenagers shouldn't be having sex, though they're realists enough to acknowledge that it happens and it's therefore the lesser evil to teach them how to protect themselves and minimize the damage.  So yes, there is agreement.  There is also disagreement, but most of the time the mainstream feminists have plausible arguments for their positions, even if you don't agree with them.
  11. As for whether there's any Christianity I don't consider lunacy, while I do not believe the tenets of Christianity, neither do I believe that all Christians are crazy.  There are some, however, who are.  I would give as examples parents who pray over their sick children rather than get medical treatment for them; with depressing regularity I see news articles about children who died as a result.  And kinists.  And people who support the death penalty for homosexuality.  And my father, who once beat my sister until she could barely stand for having smuggled a doll into the house (I think she was about five at the time).  Dolls were considered a violation of the Second Commandment injunction against graven images, you see, and he thought he was saving her soul.  So yes, your side has plenty of nuts too, though I would never suggest that the examples I've given are representative of Christians as a whole.
  12. The person identified as "Jen" above that posted a response makes Mr. Wilson's point very well.  He/she is trapped in the forest and cannot see the trees.  Rather than consider this topic on the macro level, she immediately points to her own experience as the sole arbiter of truth. This type of mentality is prevalent on many of the blogs that are in a let's tar and feather all Christian men that believe they are supposed to lead their families.  As a leader in the Christian home school movement, I have seen this attitude among feminist women in the church across America.  I have had wives complain to me that their husbands won't lead and after a few minutes of conversation, I realize that many of these women are just saying that; they really want to lead the family and in such cases where the men have finally tried to step up and lead, their wives have smacked them down.  Some women complain about their husbands no matter what they do.  Note here that I am not defending men doing wrong.  With many of these "Christian" women that complain incessantly, I have found they are not happy no matter what.  They tend to find a sympathetic ear from other disgruntled people on blogs and such and the rail back and forth constantly.  They are so disgruntled and bitter, they cannot understand that there really are Christian women happy and children that are successful in patriarchy families, where the husband leads and the wife doesn't spend her days posting negative things about their husbands, or other men.
  13. Join the club!:).  Get cyber-stoned! [pun intended:)]. John Piper was the victim of eejet Christians with closed minds who think any ideology that does not agree with their own sense of false self-endearing altruism is a form of blasphemy against their own brand of humanism.  Piper was quoted in the recent issue of Christianity Today (after being forced to delete some Tweets) as saying, "It became clear that what I feel as comfort was not affecting others the same." simply must stop making Christians uncomfortable...lest they come out and cyber-stomp you into silence:)
  14. Eric, I think it's more likely those feminist would make the valid point that it's foolish for any woman to walk through a bad neighborhood at 2 AM, but would also screech bloody misogyny if anyone, including you or Doug, suggested looks or attire made it any more dangerous.  A side question here  - but why do we call it sexual assault, then insist sex has nothing to do with it? Just musing. Anyway, if the mainstream of feminism is all that agreeable the mainstream must be polite and very, very quite.  I don't say the loud ones are crazy either, just indifferent to reason or observation.  And some of the objectionable Christians  you describe strike me more as just stupid, rather than insane.  I will admit we've got some, uh, insufficiently informed ones.  I am glad to see you don't think we're all nuts. I'd better tell you though, I do believe Christ died, and get this, rose again, and is alive now and, because of Him, I too will be resurrected.  And it doesn't bother me than anyone thinks that's crazy.
  15. JohnM, most of the feminists I know are cold, hard realists.  They know full well that looks and attire make it more dangerous.  What they would scream bloody misogyny about is that it shouldn't make any difference -- a professional bikini model should be able to walk through any neighborhood at any hour stark naked if she chooses without getting raped, because her looks and dress (or lack thereof) do not give any man the right to rape her.  I will grant that some feminists are crazy; I once had one tell me that it's misogynistic to eat meat since it may have come from a female animal, and there's really nothing to be done with that kind of an argument except laugh at it.  But I don't think she represents mainstream feminism, any more than I think Paul Hill represents mainstream Christianity.
  16. "They know full well that looks and attire make it more dangerous." I'm still going to insist that they appear to not know that full well.  If they know it full well then they are in deliberate denial of it. Let them make a point of saying so publicly if they do know it and don't deny it.  If you can show me where they have, and convince me "they" represent the mainstream of feminism, then I'll be happy to be wrong.
  17. Though there is quite a bit to like in this article, this passage undermines it:   "But this brings me to the main point, which is the double standard that liberals like to bring to all such matters."   Or to summarize it in different words "Thank you God for not making me like these stupid liberals..."
  18. What feminists know full well is that in a patriarchal culture, women dressing immodestly is viewed by rapists and rape apologists as an invitation to rape (or, it gives them an excuse that rape culture will accept).  So in that sense, feminists do know full well that dressing immodestly is dangerous.  The point we make, though, is that it shouldn't be.  Women should  not have to live in a world where dressing immodestly is viewed as provocation to rape, or where rapists use women's dress as an excuse to rape (and expect to be believed) or where rape is viewed as anything other than what it is: unprovoked sexual violence against women.  Most feminists also argue against dressing for the male gaze while at the same time we insist that what we wear, or don't wear, is our business and should not make us unsafe, any more than what a man wears, or doesn't wear, makes him unsafe in the presence of women or gay men. Beyond that, good job, Eric the Red.  
  19. Matthew, when you want to summarize a statement in different words you should use words that mean the same thing as the statement that was made. 
  20. JohnM, they get it.  What makes them angry (and justifiably in my opinion) is that women should not have to be taught how not to be raped, because men should be taught not to rape.  Yet much of the literature and publicity and public service announcements and training is in the direction of telling women how to behave, rather than telling men not to force themselves on women.  They're right; a woman should be able to dress as she pleases and go where she pleases without having to worry about getting raped.  There would be no more rape if men would simply stop doing it.  And frankly, I'm candidly starting to wonder if you get it.
  21. It's as if a schoolyard bully beat up a smaller child and took his lunch money every day, and when he complained to authority, the response was for authority to tell him to do a better job of protecting himself.  Sorry, that's the wrong answer. The right answer is to put the blame squarely on the bully where it belongs.  All of it, 100% of it.  Same goes for rapists.
  22. BillE, I am the "Jen" who posted above.  I thought this post was about Doug Phillips?  If I was the ONLY woman Doug Phillips abused, you would have a point.  But there are not only hundreds of women that Doug Phillips has outright abused, but men as well.  Beyond that, there are thousands of people, men and women, who are being hurt because they are attempting to follow Doug Phillips' extrabiblical teachings rather than using their God-given mind. This post is about Doug Phillips, and about men protecting women.  Doug Phillips teaches it, but he does not live it.  You can call me all the names you want, but I will tell the world about the extreme hypocrisy of Doug Phillips, and protecting women certainly falls at the top of that list.
  23. Eric,  The thing about teaching men not to commit rape is the kind who need to be taught not to commit rape are not the kind that can be taught not to commit rape.  However we can threaten them with consequences that are certain enough and severe enough to dissuade them. Usually. That's the marginal difference between the two-legged talking beasts and the literal kind. But both are what they are and the world is what it is, that's why we find it prudent to adapt our behavior to the reality. One adaptation we teach women is to avoid circumstances that make them more vulnerable to being assaulted. For that matter we also teach men to avoid circumstances that increase the likelihood  of becoming a crime victim. Of course, "There would be no more rape if men would simply stop doing it.", but it really is not particularly helpful to women to point that out.  And really your straw man was pretty well trampled into the mud before you got to the schoolyard bully analogy.
  24. It would be wonderful if I could look slutty (actually, at my age, that would be more miraculous), get drunk in public, and walk down dark alleys with no fear of being sexually attacked.  It would be wonderful if I could leave my wallet on a bus bench and come back to find it 20 minutes later with the contents intact.  Most men are not rapists, and most people are not thieves.  When you can't tell who is who, you have to take precautions.  I am not sure that feminists argue against the precautions, although they rightly lament the need for them.  I think what feminists argue is any idea of lessening the gravity of the offense because of the woman's dress or demeanor.  I get that, but I think it is a little silly.  If I said, "But I have a right to leave my car unlocked and my purse in plain view," I am insisting on a principle but also deliberately putting myself in harm's way.
  25. "But I have a right to leave my car unlocked and my purse in plain view," I am insisting on a principle but also deliberately putting myself in harm's way." Women are human beings.  Not purses or other sorts of objects.
  26. It's horrible that there are people who take advantage of others.  Given that these people exist, it's pretty stupid to wear signs and behave in a manner that strongly suggests you want people to at least think of taking advantage of you.  And if such people don't exist, for whose benefit are you wearing those signs?
  27. I disagree with your assessment of David and Bathsheba. I believe it was Nathan who used an innocent lamb to describe Bathsheba in the "story"he told to David
  28. JohnM, take a look at the following and tell me again that what I've said is a strawman:  
  29. Again, no one, least of all feminists, is saying that it's smart for women to dress provocatively and walk through bad neighborhoods at night, though she should be able to if she wants.  But, when a woman does get raped, the first question should not be what was she wearing, and that's where the misogyny lies.  And while this Missouri case has facts that are particularly outrageous, stuff like that happens far more often than you might think.
  30. And by the way, not to put too fine a point on it, but anyone who accepts as a moral guide a book that contains Deuteronomy 22:23-30 has zero credibility when they then claim to care about rape victims.  Rape victims have to marry their rapists?  Seriously?  Rape victims get executed if the rape took place in a city?  That passage is so thoroughly misogynistic that Larry Flynt would blush to publish it in Hustler.  
  31. Eric, since what you said you said in response to my comments the Missouri case is irrelevant to whether or not what you've said amounts to a straw man, and yes, I will tell you again what you said does amount to a straw  man.  Which you  repeat with your suggestion that the first question would be what a rape victim was wearing. Or that it's relevant at all to what I think ought to happen after the fact.  Interesting though, that you're the one who used the phrase "dress provocatively". I wonder if your feminist friends would understand or appreciate your choice of terms.  What does it reveal about what you understand? For that matter, in the link provided I saw no reference to what the girl wore or how she looked being claimed a factor in what happened, or in the community response, so I'm not sure how it supports any point you're trying to make. At any rate, like I said, irrelevant if it is me you are answering.  Finally, not to put too fine a point on it, but  I don't bother discuss the content, meaning, or implication of Christian Scripture with self-identified atheists, nor do I see why they would want to discuss it with me.  
  32. Of course you don't want to discuss Deuteronomy 22 with me, since the text is completely indefensible.  Pay the rape victim's father because she's his property, and then she gets to spend the rest of her life married to her rapist.  What's to discuss?  The inclusion of this passage in the Bible simply disqualifies the Bible from being taken seriously as to anything else it says.
  33. My feminist friends understand that there is a difference between the world *as it is* and the world *as it should be.*  Provocative dress shouldn't make a difference.  It often does, however, in the way a rape victim gets treated.  Why was she in that bar?  How many drinks did she have? These are questions that are entirely irrelevant to whether she consented to sex, which is the determining factor in whether a rape was committed, and yet they often are asked.  If you think differently, then you need to get out more often.  There's plenty more where that Missouri case came from.  And the primary feminist objection is that these questions get asked at all.  They shouldn't.  Yes, we live in a dangerous world in which people need to protect themselves, but that should not be the focus in a discussion about rape.  The focus in a discussion about rape is that rapists need to stop doing it.
  34. Eric, Could you share with us what standard you are using to judge your interpretation of Deuteronomy 22 as disqualifying the entire Bible as providing an ethic for modern man? See, for many of us, the Bible would be that ultimate standard of ethics, and when it states, or appears to state, something out of touch with our natural inclination, or when it directs a lifetsyle against a popular notion, many of us on this forum would state that this is an indication that God's thoughts on that subject are not ours, and our thinking needs to be redirected according to the Scriptures. This is actually the anthropological and epistemological starting point taught in the Scripture, so that our offense at Biblical teaching is not taken by Christians to be a reliable guide for truth, especially in the realm of morals, where the Bible indicates that by nature we are the one's who are bent and therefore disqualified to be handing out judgments. I am asking you to tell us how it is that you know that Deuteronomy 22 is immoral or unfair, and where you came by this knowledge. If the Bible is true in its description of people in their natural state, then the statement in your last post would certainly make sense given your worldview, but it would be very unconvincing to a Christian who takes the Bible on these issues.
  35. David, I will answer your question, but before I do, could you please share with us whether you agree with the following premises, all of which are either explicit or implicit in Deuteronomy 22:  (1) An unbetrothed woman is the property of her father, which is why he gets monetary compensation if she gets raped.  (2) A woman who has been raped should marry her rapist.  (3)  A woman who has been raped within city limits should be executed.  Please tell us if you agree with those propositions.  I ask because the method by which I answer to your question -- and I do intend to answer it, I promise -- will depend in part on how you respond.
  36. Observe that the definition of "rape" has subtly changed within our lifetime.  As it is commonly used today, it means "to force a female to have sex against her will", with the crime being against her autonomy: the problem is not the sex, but the removal of choice.  This is in contrast to older usage, where the core issue is with the sex act itself, and the context of "rape" whether the woman is participant or victim. And in a sexually wise culture, rape is not merely an offence against the woman herself, but against her family and the entire society. For the proper ordering of sexuality is a bedrock of wise society, and one who rapes places his own lusts against and above this entire social structure.
    So, to Deuteronomy 22.  As a general comment, remember that this is social law, not social ideal.  We are looking at the borders of behaviour and responding to their transgression, not setting norms.
    On 3:
    You'll notice that the word "seize" is conspicuously absent from 22:23-24 vs 25-29.  In the country, the girl is presumed innocent, since it's entirely possible that she attempted to object but there was no-one to aid her. In the city, the judge is to presume that the girl had opportunity to at least call for help, and if she obviously has not done so then she also is complicit.
    On 2 (and 1):
    The fascinating line here is "if they are found" (v28). The parallel passage in Ex 22:16-17 says "seduces". This leads me to suspect that the focus on seizing is not the girl (entirely) against her will but away from her father and protectors. So we're talking shotgun wedding, not blessing simple rape.  Ex 22:17 gives the father the right to absolutely refuse, even after "facts on the ground".
    And yes, an unbetrothed woman is under the protection of her father (as, indeed, is a betrothed woman until she is actually married). If you take her without his blessing, you have committed an offence against him (and against the society he represents).  All of these examples seem to assume some degree of seduction of the girl - simple acts of sexual violence would be dealt with as such (cf Genesis 24, where Jacob is slow to seek justice so his sons take it into their own hands).
    In all of this, it's worth noting that the same structures that are slammed for enabling the exploitation of women also, in the right hands, enable their glorification.  One could deal with the presence of termites in some houses by abolishing all of them and convincing ourselves that dwelling under trees is a net win, but perhaps there are better solutions?
  37. Andrew, you have done the same thing pro-gay Christians do:  Parse and spin the text to keep the text from saying what it very clearly does.  And it only persuades the already-converted.  Look at that passage again:  "If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found, then the man that lay with her shall give the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver and she shall be his wife."  This is obviously forcible rape; he's laying hold on her.  Two things then happen.  First, because she's property, he has to pay her father for violating the father's property rights, and second, she is then stuck being married to him.  Your comments about "and they be found" are a red herring; the Exodus passage uses a different word with a different meaning and is therefore talking about something else.  But the key element here is that he laid hold of her.  
  38. And only someone who is completely ignorant of how violent sexual assaults typically go down would think that whether she was in the city or the country had anything to do with whether she cried for help.  Did he hold a knife or gun to her and tell her that if she screamed, he'd kill her?  Had he already beaten her? If she was drunk and passed out, did that then make her complicit in her own rape?  Was he an authority figure who had threatened her?  This is a horrible, miserable passage, and your attempts to sanitize it fall miles short.
  39. Sorry to everyone else for feeding the trolls.
  40. Eric, do you happen to have a blog by any chance? I would honestly love to see your beliefs systematized and standing next to each other.
  41.   Matthias, I do not have a blog; I’ve thought about blogging but there are other projects I’m working on instead.  Thanks for the compliment, though.  
  42. Andrew, I just demonstrated why your hermeneutic is flawed and the best you can come up with is sorry you fed the troll?  But just to be clear, here’s what separates us in our approach to the Bible.   If I correctly understand your position, you start with the assumption that the Bible is true and inerrant, and therefore must be read in such a way that its truth and inerrancy aren’t called into question.  I, on the other hand, take the position that we just read the text with as few presuppositions as possible and see where it takes us.  If your hermeneutic starts off with a requirement that you arrive at a result that makes the Bible look good, then it’s hardly surprising if that’s where you end up, but that’s not an honest hermeneutic.  Don’t know how long you’ve been here, but Doug once posted that liberals are more to be trusted with Biblical interpretations than conservatives because liberals aren’t stuck with the results.
  43. In the passages, it's clear the intent is to address rapists themselves. It's not speaking to rape victims, giving punshments for being a victim. And so your wording of it, "the victim gets..." is rather disingenuous.
    Deut 2:23-24 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.
    The punishment is given "because she was in a town and did not scream for help." This means that if she did scream, she would not receive punishment. If the case could be made that she tried, (speaking to your illustration of holding a knife to her), again, she wouldn't receive punishment. In the case of the rape occuring in a the country, the law presumes her innocence. But if she actually didn't scream or try to scream for help it is rather clear there is complicity involved, and laws concerning adultery apply.
    This is obviously forcible rape; he's laying hold on her.  Two things then happen.  First, because she's property, he has to pay her father for violating the father's property rights, and second, she is then stuck being married to him.
    Where do you get the idea that she is primarily property? It's rather common knowledge that the custom of the time concerning marriage involved some notion of a Dowry or a Bride Price (which are not equivalent, mind you). And it did not reduce to mere property value as you are implying, but took environmental and economical factors into account. The point is that the man is now not free to marry whom he wants simply because he took sexual advantage of a woman he wasn't betrothed to. Now he has charge of her care where he would otherwise have liked to up and leave, and he is now kept by law from further acting out his evil, deviant promiscuity.
    Doug once posted that liberals are more to be trusted with Biblical interpretations than conservatives...
    Except, of course, when they aren't.
  44. Last comment: Eric, you appear more concerned with raging against the passages in question than understanding or critiquing them.  Your presuppositions come across as simple and plain to see - the bible is offensive - and you reject out-of-hand any argument that might view things in a sympathetic light, or shine light on your own prejudices.  This doesn't mean that those who disagree with you are right, but they're never going to discover this until you let go of your hostility and start actually listening.  I refuse to be a foil for your erudite but close-minded anger.  I apologise that I summed all this up opaquely as "troll", but a night's sleep adds perspective and wisdom.
    I should thank you for one thing, though.  Before yesterday, I had not looked closely at some of those passages, and it was very interesting to do so - I noticed things I had not seen before.  So your challenge proved very beneficial to me, even if it not to you.  Thank you.
  45.   Eric the Red, As a young Christian I met a girl. This girl was somewhat younger than me (she was 18 and I was 24). We met in college. At the time, I was an isolated Christian with very little connection to the Church. This was compounded by the fact that I had few friends in general since prior to conversion I ran in a fairly rough crowd and post-conversion we had little in common. The girl in question showed romantic interest in me. She was by no means a loose women (she was a virgin) and was a kind women. She did not pursue me along strictly sexual lines. She would have been perfectly happy just being my girlfriend with nothing sexual. However, due to my loneliness and my own lack of discipline (and lust and sinful bent) I seduced her. I did not "force" myself on her in a way that the world would use that word. She participated willingly, but I did take advantage of her. She wanted to be close to me. She wanted me to love her with all that entails, looking out for her best, protecting her, committing to her and instead I used her. I took from her something I had absolutely no right to take. I took my greedy selfish hands and I lay hold of her. During this period I happened to be reading from Deuteronomy and I happened upon one of the very passages you mention (22:28-29). The Holy Spirit used that verse to deeply convict me of my sin. I have found this over and over again in my Christian walk. The Lord’s definition of sin is almost always stricter than what is commonly accepted. None of the non-Christians I knew would have seen anything wrong with what I did. I did not abuse the girl (by the worlds standards), but the word of God cut me to my heart. So I think the situation is like this. The Lord God is not softer on rape than you are. There are many people whom He would categorize as rapists that I suspect you would not. This should make us tremble and cry out for mercy. That is exactly what I did and that is exactly what I received all those years ago. That beautiful girl has been my wife for 14 years and is the mother of our 11 children. Blessed be His name.

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