Family News in Focus (WCRH, The Compass, Pointing Hearts to Christ) featured an article yesterday on the increase of gambling addictions among women over the last 20 years. The article attributed the rise to the greater economic and social independence gained by women during that same time frame.
“In the push towards equality, women have not found a way to shed some of the more destructive traits of power and independence,” noted Steve Jordahl, the journalist. He concluded the article with, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”
In lamenting the loss of the paternalistic structures which fostered economic and social inequalities, Jordahl is, in one sarcastic sentence, employing the power-based tactic of derision and diversion. Derisive comments set the conditions for discussion by establishing the person delivering the dismissal as one who has the authority to do so. A cool head can parry that blow by ignoring it. The diversion is tougher: Where does one begin when the opening gambit attacks the very foundation of your stance?
Jordahl’s insult equates past history of social and economic injustice and inequality with Godliness, and paternalistic protectionism with success. His gloating over the fact that given the chance, women will falter at the same rate as men, seems a far call from Godliness. His solution—keep women safe by removing their access to social and economic equality—shows a fundamental lack of respect for the ability of men and women alike to function in ways that move each other toward deeper spiritual growth.
We left church to get away from outdated, inflexible, fear-based dictums on WHO God is and WHAT God demands of us. I tune into this (formerly?) moderate Christian radio station now and then just to touch base. Yikes. If this is where mainstream Christianity is, I’m checking out of that, too.