August 24, 2007

I am telling you, the SBC is trying my patience this week

With the stupidity. Actually, I saw this last week at big daddy weave where he posted on Paige Patterson's new "academic program:"
a new academic program in homemaking as part of an effort to establish what its president calls biblical family and gender roles.

It will offer a bachelor of arts in humanities degree with a 23-hour concentration in homemaking. The program is only open to women. Coursework will include seven hours of nutrition and meal preparation, seven hours of textile design and "clothing construction," three hours of general homemaking, three hours on "the value of a child," and three hours on the "biblical model for the home and family."
To be fair, I have no problem with the sewing and the cooking. I don't sew, but spend many hours each week cooking and have been looking for some cooking classes. Maybe I should enroll at Southwestern. Oops, this program is only open to women because Paige Patterson evidently is still living in the 1950s, or at least, his version of it.

Ethics Daily had more on this, including some excerpts from Patterson defending his new program. This one is my favorite:
"Asked if he believes it is best for women to stay in the home and have children, Patterson said: 'I am wary of the crusade against mothers ... who choose not to have a career but to devote themselves entirely to their homes. That's noble and our society is worse for not maintaining it as a noble cause.'
Yes, in a Rovian twist, someone who asks why this program is only open to women is then accused of a "crusade against mothers." Unlike Drake, Patterson is not one of the "gallactically stupid" (another movie quote, for you Tony), and in some ways, that makes this all the worse. Yes, Paige Patterson, liberals hate mothers and families and want children to be raised by government-run, lesbian-flag-burning machines. Sigh.


Speaking of the brain surgeon that is Wiley Drake, I wondered yesterday why he would only invoke an imprecatory prayer against someone who, you know, wrote him a mean letter? Why haven't we used this weapon against Osama Bin Laden? Or against terrorism in general? Given our Defense Department's new love affair with fundamentalism, we could have given Wiley his own sub department, where he could call down God's wrath on select terrorists and South American dicatators. Talk about your "smart weaponry" and "air strikes."

But that would be ridiculous. Almost like having a degree in home economics for female seminarians in a world where we might elect our first woman president next year.



Tony said...

This degree genuinely bothers me. I have contended before, not here, that this degree is a throwback to the sixties' idealism and romantic views of the home, is overtly sexist, in my mind is more degrading to women than edifying, and generally smacks of the SBC thinking they (or at least should) own the home.

I think Paige and Doug Phillips have been spending some time together.

I can't get beyond the fact that one of the most established, well-known seminaries in the world is offering this degree. Its just inappropriate in a theological institution.

Streak said...

I kind of thought this would bother you, but we don't agree on everything. But clearly, this degree is problematic. As I said, I have nothing against those skills, I simply don't understand why they are only for women.

SOF and I talked about that too. She noted that learning to sew your own clothes is a good hobby, but not a cost effective way (any more) to provide for a family. Much cheaper to buy them. Cheaper to cook for yourself at home, but not necessarily to sew.

And, as you note (and SOF said as well) this does not mesh with the supposed mission of a seminary.

Tony said...

Hey Streak,

I thought I would come back and offer a note of clarification, to be fair.

I believe that homemaking is noble; I would be foolish to say not because I have five kids and my wife stays at home. She doesn't work "outside the home."

However, I think again, this is pushing the bounds of biblical literalism (which you and I have talked about before) and reading back into the Bible what we want it to say.

There is no place in the Bible says a woman's place is at home. Even the noble and admired Proverbs 31 woman seemed to do work outside the home to supplement the family's income.

Nevertheless, a seminary degree with a concentration in homemaking seems superfluous to me. My wife said, "Shouldn't those girls just get the degree at home?

If there is someone who genuinely wants to take courses in homemaking, then whatever. They are free to spend their educational dollars however they want.

But the overriding message that this sends is that if a woman doesn't do this, then somehow she is "less of a woman," whatever that is supposed to mean, and that she is less of a Christian woman. Does that make sense?

And I read your comments at BDW's blog where (I think it was there) you talked about the societal disparity between you and your wife's "homemaking skills." Neither me nor my wife can cook (that is just funny typing it out) and we split the duties at home. We have to with so many children.

So I guess neither do I fit the bill of a Christian man, if indeed he stands in apposition to their interpretation of what a Christian woman is supposed to be.

Streak said...

No argument that taking care of the home is a good thing. For any of us. Male or female. I simply don't understand the emphasis on putting women in "their place," and that seems to be Patterson's point. Given his response after the VaTech shooting, it doesn't surprise me that he has a bit of the macho-John Eldredge--theology going on. But I don't like it. And I think it demeans women and is ultimately useless.

That was my response to Promise Keepers. Keeping promises seems like a good idea, as does honor and commitment. Why limit it to men? We can't we agree that men and women should honor and respect each other? What is the radical thought there?

But the conservative evangelical movement is hell bent on putting women back somewhere--even if that is impossible as public policy--and even if it is counter to the message of Christianity.

For me, a long time ago I realized that the women around me were as talented, smart, spiritually aware, capable of leadership, and just as equipped to manage a house or keep a car maintained. The artificial differences we impose on women needs to stop. And actually is, when you think about it. Except in the reptilian brains (pardon the evolutionary science) of people like Paige Patterson.

Streak said...

I should have said "some conservative evangelicals" instead of suggesting that all want this.

Bootleg Blogger said...

Streak- No reason to beat around the bush on this one. There's not even a wink and a nod here, and this isn't, as you've alluded to, existing in a vacuum. Patterson has a long, well established track record. Much of it is in writing. He's gotten rid of female professors because women aren't to teach men. This isn't some harmless grandpa in his rocking chair longing for the good old days when men were men and women were in the home, this is a man in a leadership position with an entire support structure keeping him there who believes and enforces where possible the tenet that women are subservient to men. In any other context this would be unacceptable, he'd be called the sexist elitist that he is, and, hopefully, he'd be removed from his position of influence. I support freedom of religious expression, but I also think this belief is contrary to the message of scripture and is just plain mean. Unfortunately, one of the reasons this is still going on is that there are plenty of women who are complicit in the practices. Our ranting won't move anyone. It will take Christian women standing up to the stupid males who push this stuff. I know for a fact that can be effective, just ask SOF:-).Later-BB