This is wretched. Back in 2001, Pastor Mark Driscoll (of Washington megachurch Mars Hill) referred to women as ‘penis homes’:
The first thing to know about your penis is, that despite the way it may see, it is not your penis. Ultimately, God created you and it is his penis. You are simply borrowing it for a while.
While His penis is on loan you must admit that it is sort of just hanging out there very lonely as if it needed a home, sort of like a man wondering the streets looking for a house to live in. Knowing that His penis would need a home, God created a woman to be your wife and when you marry her and look down you will notice that your wife is shaped differently than you and makes a very nice home.
My first reaction to all of that is “where’s my puke bucket”. Driscoll isn’t speaking about women as if they’re human beings. He’s talking about them as if they’re nothing more than receptacles for a man’s penis. That’s deeply misogynistic because it denies women their very humanity. To add to that, Driscoll makes a number of blatant assertions about the deity he believes in (and tells others to believe in and give money to). He talks about his god as if it exists. Where’s the evidence? He talks about his god as if it created humanity. Where’s the evidence? He makes pronouncements about the nature of humanity as if he has any clue, but it’s clear he doesn’t. Like many believers, he simply asserts his opinions as if they’re truths. Of course when you’re religious, you don’t need evidence for your beliefs, you just need faith. Have I mentioned how much I detest faith? Believing in things for which there is no evidence…no reason to believe, it is utter hogwash. To also hold faith up as a virtue is to say “reality bends to my whims”, despite the fact that that isn’t how reality works. No matter how much you believe it, the Earth isn’t flat. No matter how deeply held your belief, the sun does not revolve around the Earth. Women were not created from the rib on a man made from dirt and dust. Plants were not created before the stars were. There is no dome covering the Earth. There was no global flood. These things (and many more) are (or were) believed by many people for a very, very long time, despite the lack of evidence to support their beliefs. With the advance of science, we’ve learned that so many religious beliefs were false. Flat out wrong. Not correct. Deeply wrong. Yet people still cling to some of them. Yes, God still provides “explanations” for various things we don’t understand, but as we’ve come to understand the world, the number of things we do not understand has diminished. God is increasingly being forced into smaller and smaller gaps in our understanding of the world around us (hence God of the Gaps). Despite this, many people still use god as the support for their beliefs. Pastor Driscoll is but the latest person to justify his beliefs by invoking god. Even though he can’t prove that his god exists, nor that his beliefs about women are justified, he continues to hold them. This is one of the dangers of faith. It is resistant to reality. It resists evidence and scientific inquiry. All while being held up as virtuous. Because of that, people can hold vile, anti-human opinions and not be ridiculed and condemned (oh, it happens, but not nearly enough).
The beliefs Driscoll holds, vile though they are, are not that different from the views of many elected officials in the United States. In fact, in this country, being a person of faith, not matter how deplorable your opinions are, is treated as a badge of honor. It’s also viewed as a get out of jail free card. How many politicians cite their “sincerely held religious beliefs” that LGBT people should continue being second class citizens? They truly think that being religious means they aren’t hateful bigots. That these people are supposed to represent the American populace, all while holding beliefs that are irrational at best, and bigoted at worst, beggars belief. These people should be laughed out of office. They should be viciously mocked. They shouldn’t even be able to get into office in the first place (the broken nature of our political system is a post for another time). Yet here they are, making life hell for millions of Americans, and in many cases, it’s because they want everyone to be bound by their deeply held religious beliefs (beliefs with no empirical evidence as support).
Over at her blog Love, Joy, feminism, Libby Anne (hat tip to her for this post) discusses Driscolls’ misogyny. You ought to check it out.