‘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’

Los Angeles, CA–“[There’s a] difference between how we handle Mother’s Day compared with Father’s Day in church. If it’s like in years past, it won’t be pretty. “This Sunday we will extol the value and benefit of motherhood, which is great. But in some churches, this will be done by degrading Christian husbands, which is not great. ‘Our pastor makes us husbands get on our knees on Mother’s Day and beg for forgiveness. I don’t want to do it again this year,’ one reader tells me. Another writes, ‘Our minister makes husbands write on paper all the things we’ve done wrong. Then we’re suppose to give it to our wives and pledge that we won’t do them anymore.’ “Most preachers will not be this heavy-handed. They will wait till Father’s Day (Sunday, June 18) to tell men how to be better fathers.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with this message when taken as an isolated event. But when compared with Mother’s Day, we’ll discover that for some reason many ministers believe that fathers need correction on Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day) but women don’t. Why this double-standard? “Because much of the church sees men as a problem to be fixed when compared to women, not a gender to be appreciated.” I’ve often complained about anti-male bias among Christian conservatives, supposedly defenders of fatherhood and families. My friend Paul Coughlin, a prominent Christian writer and author of No More Christian Nice Guy: When Being Nice–Instead of Good–Hurts Men, Women, and Children, is one of the few Christian writers willing to take the Christian establishment to task for this. Paul’s excellent 2007 Mother’s Day Crosswalk article Pastors, Don’t Use Mother’s Day to Bash Dads–is excerpted above. Also, see my blog post Anti-Male Bias among Christian Conservatives. I’m not normally a fan of Dr. James Dobson, but Coughlin gives us a nice quote from him. Coughlin writes: “[I]f there is a problem with their marriage, Christian men have been told by these sources that it is automatically their fault. Dr. James Dobson is one of a few authors brave enough to confront this false message. “He writes in Love Must Be Tough that men are saddled with the unrealistic expectation that ‘any sadness or depression that a woman might encounter is her husband’s fault. At least he has the power to eradicate it if he cares enough. In other words, many American women come into marriage with unrealistically romantic expectations which are certain to be dashed. Not only does this orientation set up a bride for disappointment and agitation in the future, it also places enormous pressure on her husband to deliver the impossible…Marital conflict always involves an interaction between two imperfect human beings who share the responsibility to one degree or another.’ Sadly, Dobson’s common sense is drowned out by other and more shrill voices.”

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