On behalf of women and as a woman myself, I couldn't help myself and responded to his statements. As one who doesn't believe in religion but also, as one who strongly believes that women are not chattel.
I emailed my response directly to him.
Pastor Hamman -
I do understand that, being a pastor, you must look at this issue from the context of the bible, but the tone of your piece only assumes that a) women will lie and b) the reason spousal rape occurs is that women just withhold sex. So, then it's only the woman's fault and basically asked for it? Can you honestly defend that opinion when there is so much evidence against it whether in the context of a marriage or outside of it? This would be my first unfavorable opinion of your assessment. It's like you don't even leave open the possibility that men are mistreating the women and that the women are actually victims at times. I would agree that people lie, we do need credible witnesses to verify events, but many times there is physical evidence and prior behaviors that will support a woman's allegations. Sadly, many times women, because of the very edict you mentioned, don't even report the mistreatment. Again, your blanket statements that it seems to just be women who are denying the husbands release is the only thing to blame. How does that tie into the whole theme that we should only have sex to create children? Your arguments seem to only go to defending a man's desire as supreme and not god's will. So, not only are you seeming to come off like a misogynist, but you are also usurping god's authority by making a man's sex drive the important issue.
Next, the very definition of rape is that it is one of abusing another person. Intercourse should be an expression of love coupled with sexual desire for the other person. In a context of marriage, it is a beautiful and sacred thing. If a husband's wishes are denied, him taking his wife by force changes the act from one of love and desire to one of control and desire. It isn't even about desire anymore, it's about power. Power over another human being. Do you honestly think that is okay, even in the context of scripture?
Thank you for taking the time to read this and if I have misunderstood anything in your piece, please feel free to correct that assumption. I would love to be wrong on this.
Do you think he will reply?
***UPDATE - He did! Thursday, August 11, 2011 3:50 PM
There are indeed things that need to be clarified.
First of all, most people are missing the first part in which I bring forward an allegation against every pastor in the state of Alaska, that they are covering up the issue of spousal rape. This allegation was brought against me by a female reverend, who told me that I needed to repent for statements I made with regard to Lara Logan, which basically I condemned her being gang raped by a multitude of Muslim men, and my assertion that Christians don't do this.
This so incited this woman that not only did she call several times and talk with my secretary, who defended what I said, but she also emailed me a copy of her complaint to the governor's office.
The very face of her allegation is very false, as I mentioned that I had never had any woman come to me with such an allegation, ever. And in the ministry circles that I run in, I have never had any of these allegations voiced to me by any other pastor.
This is the crux of the matter, and without it, all the rest is just spin, and has been spun out of control into the violation of the ninth commandment, bearing false witness. Quite simply, I have condemned rape, and will continue to condemn rape.
But there is a problem with the term "spousal rape"; actually, there are two: 1) truth; and 2) obligation.
Where it comes to truth, the marriage relationship is such that evidence for intercourse can also be construed as evidence of rape. Barring any other evidence, such as bruising and physical trauma, the relationship is such that as a rule, it will come down to one's word against the other: he said, she said.
While not all women will lie, there are those who do. Lying is simply an offshoot of bearing false witness, and the propensity to lie is not exclusive to one gender or the other -- both do it with great frequency. One police officer verified the difficulty with this, and even cited a case he was involved in and had to testify on. The trouble is not only within marriage, but as our society's morals have loosened, many men counter with the allegation that the sex was consensual.
The Biblical guideline is for 2-3 witnesses, and from a Christian perspective, this is tantamount. To allow the testimony of one voice to convict another for any crime is to stray from the precepts of scripture, a perspective that is portrayed in the lukewarmness of the church of the Laodiceans in that they were drifting from Christ literally in their relationship, even as their hot springs aqueduct cooled the mineral springs the further from the source it traveled.
While it may seem reasonable to allow the exclusive testimony of one woman to convict a man of rape, the fact is that this is unbiblical and has led vindictive women to falsely accuse men.
Please understand that I am not saying that this does not happen, but there are problems with the term with respect to truth.
I believe it was out of Poor Richard's Almanac that we get the phrase "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Truthfully, allowing one lone witness to convict and sentence is a pound of cure. While there are problems between husbands and wives in our society, we are not going to solve them after marriage. If the case of spousal rape is true, and that is an "if", then its prevention was missed prior to wedlock.
Let's think about this for a moment. The average girl today knows nothing of modesty. Modern styles promote the exposure of thighs, cleavage and midriffs, to say the least. Generally, clothes are worn too tight, and often body part appear on the verge of "falling out" whether it is of the pants or a low cut top.
I realize that many girls do this to attract male attention, but the problem is that they attract lustful male attention. I have 6 daughters, and I have told them often that what a man gets for free is cheap. A man values what he earns, and truth be told, if he gets a free glimpse, he knows he can probably get a free feel, then more glimpse, then more feel, etc, etc. You know where this goes. While the girl might not have intended it to go so far, she started the endeavor by giving the first glimpse "for free".
Virginity used to be valued and the rule till the marriage bed on the wedding night, but not any more. The true answer to this dilemma is not in trying to solve the marital problems after the fact, but before. But how many churches do you know of that are promoting this type of thing? And though our governor professes Christianity, do you hear this from him? Of course not, because this issue has been politicized and he is cashing in on it. But it is the ounce of prevention that we should look to in solving whatever marital issues there are in America today.
Secondly, there is the issue of obligation. In marriage, the biblical precept is that one's body becomes the exclusive property of one's spouse, both male and female. This is the basis for adultery, for adultery is the taking of someone else' property and giving it to another. In the case of an errant husband, it is the giving of what belongs to his wife to another woman, and vice versa for the wife.
I know not where you stand with respect to Christianity, but marriage really only comes out of the Bible. If you are opposed to things such as homosexual marriage, it can only be because there are biblical prohibitions against it. While modern society wants to float the idea that a woman's body belongs to herself as long as she lives, biblically speaking, this philosophy flies in the face of God.
Getting back to the first issue, that of pastors being guilty of covering spousal rape up, the only way the allegation can be made is to side step this issue here so that a wife is allowed to control her husband by withholding herself.
While you can speak of a husband having intercourse as being aberrant and controlling if the wife wishes otherwise, the other side of that coin is that the wife becomes controlling by refusal.
The whole spirit of I Corinthians 7 is for there to be peace within marriage. And though the Apostle Paul had the gift of celibacy and did not require a wife, he also recognized that not all men could be as he. While the physical drives differ within each gender, from what I have seen and heard, the male has the predominantly stronger drive. This is why female pornography grosses far more money than that of male pornography.
Again, here is where the ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, again. What every young woman needs to be told by older women is that it is completely normal, wholesome, and biblical to have sex often, even multiple times daily, outside of the menstrual period, the biblical time of mandated abstinence. It has been said that the devil wants us to have all the sex we can get before marriage, and as little as possible afterwards; this needs to be reversed.
While you might chalk this up to women being baby machines, the truth is that woman was created out of and for man, and in the relationship of marriage, if she wants to be pleasing to God, she needs to give herself to her husband. There really is no such thing as having sex just to create children; children are the byproduct of the union between husband and wife, the relationship being the primary and the byproduct being the secondary. Women need to enjoy intercourse with their husbands.
What people need to understand is that sex within marriage is not only honorable, per holy writ, but it is also designed to defend against fornication and adultery. Two people don't get married just so they can have sex, but once married, abstinence is only to be had with the consent of the other spouse; this is what the Bible says. Thus, if the woman doesn't want to, but the husband does, she is supposed to willingly engage.
While many in our day are going to speak of a man "respecting" his wife enough to respect her wishes in this regard, this, too, is an unbiblical position. Respect is never asked of parents toward children in the Bible, but children are commanded to honor and obey their parents (5th commandment). In like fashion, husbands are told to love their wives as their own bodies, but wives are told to reverence (a word much stronger than just respect) their husbands. The reason why men mistreat their wives is that they don't love them as they should, but the reason why a woman will not have sex with her husband outside of being sick or her menses is because she has no respect for him.
My point in talking about a wife's obligation to her husband, and that her body belongs to him, is that our society it totally unbiblical when it comes to a wife's response to her husband. Marriage is a big commitment and God wants it to be a sacred institution. The allegation of the prevalence of spousal rape can only be made with a misunderstanding of what the Bible says about marriage, and the woman's part in it sexually.
Again, I am not saying that there is no such thing, but the issue of spousal rape must be carefully defined. Coming from the "Christian" world, biblical considerations must be addressed.
Pastor Ron Hamman
First off, I have to say that I didn't think he would, but the response I got... yeah, expected that.
**UPDATE - My Reply 8/11/2011 04:08 PM
Pastor Hamman -
Thank you for your response. As I stated, my email to you was in response to your comments only. Your clarification doesn't change what I was commenting on and it certainly doesn't explain away what I believe the reality of your comments speak to. If anything, it just supports my contention.
I've been married for 16 years, have 2 children and have, in both areas, lived my life as an atheist and a skeptic. The biblical references you cite to support your position would be expected, but none-the-less, not something I'm in agreement with. All those things that you see as wrong - premarital sex, a woman's right to say no, inappropriate (in your opinion) dress - are things that I personally have participated in, but none of the things that you say would be consequences of it have happened.
As I said in my original email, I realize that you are a pastor and must live your life through those glasses, saying anything different than what scripture would support couldn't be an option for you. This response isn't any different than what I would have expected.
Personally, I hope that the women of are smarter than that.
**UPDATE - His Reply Friday, August 12, 2011 8:22 AM
As I said, I did not know your position with regard to Christianity, so I am not surprised with your response now knowing you are an atheist. Sadly, the day will come when you will agree with me, but that day will be too late.
Pastor Ron Hamman
ewwwww... always love the indignant response of 'You're wrong and I'm right, so there!' LOL I'm shaking in my boots and I guess he's praying for me right now.