Every week, it seems, there is something bizarre to talk about in religion. This past week it was about a church official who told women facing violence they should not be harmed but should stay in their marriage. Then he doubled down on it later saying they might have to leave their husband but they should not divorce.
Fortunately for Christians, a prominent Christian woman let fly the view that some women need to divorce and divorce now. There physical safety is more important than their marriage. I’ve enjoyed recalling Ann Landers advice to a woman in troubled relationships, “No man is worth losing your health over.”
In the 11 years up to 2012, about 12,000 women were killed by male spouses, ex spouses and boy friends. I don’t know if there are statistics on the number beaten and badly injured. I know full well there are violent women who harm men. The Baptist advice was directed at women.
Several years ago I volunteered at Fargo’s women’s shelter, the YWCA. I had an old van and moved women’s and children’s belongings from the shelter to their first apartments. I did not ask about their experiences but both women and children seemed wary of what the new circumstances were going to be like.
I’ve never been divorced but I know it is a common practice for people with a pastor to seek advice about marriage. It is alarming to think there are pastors giving advice based on their theology instead of the safety of the women.