Charlotte, NC–I’ve occasionally criticized Christian churches for man bashing–see my blog posts Anti-Male Bias among Christian Conservatives and ‘Our pastor makes us husbands get on our knees on Mother’s Day and beg for forgiveness…husbands write all the things we’ve done wrong and give it to their wives’. I recently received an interesting letter from Paul, a reader, about his experience Father’s Day in his church:
I regularly read your blog and I was struck by your comment that Christianity could be anti-male (I am generalizing, but please bear with me). Today, during our Service, I began to understand what you mean.
My wife and I attend a Baptist church in Charlotte, NC. For the most part, it is a great environment. The people there are Christian in the traditional sense of the word. By that I mean they are honest, compassionate, helpful, and encouraging their brothers and sisters to embrace the Lord.
That said, the Father’s Day sermon illustrated the double standard between men and women that you so consistently strike on. The thesis of my pastor”s sermon was how fathers can be better and he issued bullet points on what men can do to be better husbands and fathers.
The first point was fathers need to work. He articulated that working a full-time job was not enough, but also noted that men should contribute more around the house. He asked poignantly, “If your kids drew a picture of Dad, would it be of dad in a lazy boy recliner, asleep with the remote in your hand?’
He then moved on to how husbands should be more forgiving. He told a joke that included as the punch line a man whose eyes had been swollen shut for several days due to his wife”s beating him. Most of the people in the congregation laughed, including my wife, but I did not. While I was not offended, I do not find humor in domestic violence.
I also wondered, if the congregation would laugh if the punch line included a wife whose eyes were swollen shut due to her husband’s fists? Somehow, I doubt the reception would have been as warm.
I could feel myself getting angry during this sermon. Would the pastor dare have the gumption to preach on Mother”s Day that mothers can and need to do a better job? Would he have the strength of character to point out that women need to do more housework? Or that women need to get more patience when it comes to dealing with their kids and learn to control their anger? Perhaps he will next year, but this year the sermon for Mother”s Day did not include any of the above.
I am sure you get many emails a day, but I am curious how many men who attended church regularly had an experience similar to mine on Father’s Day yesterday. If, as I suspect, it is at least a plurality, then I can understand why many men feel that traditional Christian churches are anti-male.