A woman who identifies as an Evangelical Christian in the United States falls somewhere on a spectrum, a spectrum of self-hatred. It’s impossible, theologically and sociologically, for them to not hate themselves. Period. Why do they hate themselves? None of them would ever admit this reality. They’re under the spell of Evangelical Stockholm Syndrome. If they did admit to their self-loathing, they’d challenge the philosophical framework that supports their identity. The familiarity of that Evangelical framework provides them comfort. However, it also mandates that female believers disrespect themselves, consciously or unconsciously.
Evidence for Error
Before I get into WHY Evangelical women hate themselves, I’ll briefly illustrate HOW they hate themselves. In March of 2017, about six months after 80% of all white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in the election, about 75% of white evangelical women still approved of the president. For those living in a cave, this is the man who:
- Bragged about sexually assaulting women.
- Has been accused of sexual misconduct by 18 women (as of Dec. 2017 according to Time Magazine).
- Engaged in multiple counts of highly-publicized adultery, including with his second wife while married to his first wife.
- Boasted on Howard Stern how he got to ambush naked beauty contestants changing clothing because he owned the show AND said that his daughter was a “piece of ass.”
- Insulted his fellow Republican primary candidate Carly Fiorina’s appearance by saying “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?” He has degraded many other women by insulting their appearance.
- Is one of the least religious politicians in history and he hasn’t hid it well. In an infamous gaffe at a Liberty University convocation, Trump pronounced 2 Corinthians as “Two Corinthians” instead of “Second Corinthians.” Chuckles erupted across the audience.
- While being interviewed on a New York radio station, Trump was asked what his favorite Bible verse or Bible story was. He replied “eye for an eye,” which is a concept from the Law of Moses. Jesus specifically criticized that concept during the Sermon on the Mount.
- When a reporter from the Christian Broadcasting Network asked him about what his favorite verse was, he replied: “Proverbs. The chapter, ‘never bend to envy.’ I’ve had that thing all my life when people are bending to envy.” There is no such verse in Proverbs…or anywhere else in the Bible.
- While at a South Carolina News Conference, Trump claimed that he was a Presbyterian Protestant and attended Marble Collegiate Church, on 5th Avenue, “…a lot.” The church stated that Trump was not an active member. Also, the Church is a Reformed Church, not a Presbyterian Church.
- Had an affair with a porn star while his third wife was pregnant (this info came to light after March of 2017, in all fairness).
Despite the mountain of evidence of Trump’s disrespect towards women and his complete lack of religious conviction, Evangelical white women still overwhelmingly stand with him. There are two primary reasons for this. First, their husbands (or husbands-to-be or wish-list husbands-to-be) overwhelmingly stand with Trump. In Evangelical Christianity, the husbands generally dictate the political affiliation of the couple or family. The first reason is a consequence of the second reason, which is that Evangelical women hate themselves.
“Your dirty pillows are showing…”
Now that we’ve reviewed the how, let’s look at the why. Why do they hate themselves? In a nutshell, their religion requires them to. Here are 4 reasons:
1) Evangelical Christian women read the Bible the way that children read fairy tales.
The Bible is intrinsically misogynistic if the text is read literally and without any context. It has passages so vile, that Donald Trump or Roy Moore would get hard while reading them. Since most Evangelical Christians are Fundamentalist in their approach to interpreting scripture, reading the Good Book literally word-for-word is what they’re all about. This “method” of reading the Bible is a tragic result of a 19th century Christian reactionary movement that was petrified of the effects of the secular Enlightenment of the 18th century. These Fundamentalists advocated a return to the “Fundamentals” of Christianity (hence their name) and preached that the Bible should be read literally. This was a completely new (and stupid) idea. When the Bible is read academically, and in the proper context of its time, there are examples of female empowerment. Sadly, that kind of interpretation requires a lot of investigative work that Evangelical Christians don’t have the time, will or intellectual curiosity to do. The Bible is like a gun. It is one of the most dangerous objects on the planet. In order to use it properly, practitioners need to go through rigorous training. In the wrong hands, it can cause tremendous harm (including death). Because Evangelicals believe that the Bible should be interpreted literally word-for-word, the text itself explains a good portion of why female Evangelicals think so little of themselves.
2) The Old Testament is to women what Richard Ramirez (The Nightstalker) was to women.
The Old Testament is jam-packed with vile examples of misogyny. This is normal for a collection of books that were written three thousand years ago. However, because Evangelicals rely on Fundamentalist superstition when reading the text, context is irrelevant. One verse in Deuteronomy (25:11) states that if two men are fighting and the wife of one of them grabs the genitals of the other, her hand should be cut off. In Genesis, when the Patriarch Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, is raped by the prince of a neighboring town, Jacob gives up Dina to be married to her rapist. In Judges 19, an Israelite coward is trapped in a building by a mob. He orders his concubine to go out there in his stead. She is then raped all night and then killed. There are countless endorsements of this kind of treatment towards women in the Old Testament, but the main theme is consistent across all thirty-nine books: women are livestock.
3) The New Testament is a Misogynist’s Wet Dream
The New Testament’s treatment of women is tame in comparison to the Old Testament’s. It’s also much more relevant to American blue-collar Evangelicalism than the Old Testament. With that being said, more than half of the New Testament was written by the apostle Paul. Paul, himself a Roman citizen, spread the gospel across the Roman Empire in the first century C.E. His goal was to market the religion to a Greco-Roman audience during that time (not just Jews). Unfortunately, the culture of Europe and Asia Minor during this time viewed women as second-class citizens. They had no property rights. A man could divorce his wife without cause and then leave her with nothing. However, if a man committed adultery, his wife could not bring any charges against him.
A commonly cited verse is 1 Timothy 2:12, which states that a woman should never teach or have authority over a man and should remain silent. In this example, Paul was specifically talking about the idea of having women teach in church. However, Evangelical culture has applied this principle to all facets of life. This verse is a prime example of the flavor of the New Testament. Women aren’t hacked to pieces for looking at a man the wrong way in the second testament, but they haven’t exactly broken the glass ceiling either. Ephesians 5:22 takes things a bit further. Here, men are told to submit to their husbands in the same way that they submit to God. In his first epistle, Peter says something particularly disturbing. He orders slaves to submit to their masters, even if they’re cruel. Women were slaves in this society. Just like a slave, a wife was obligated to endure her husband’s cruelty.
4) To Evangelicals, God gave men the power because women have defective character.
From the beginning, the Bible paints a picture where the man is good and the woman is bad. Adam is created first in the Garden. Because he is lonely, God makes Eve. Right from the get go, she’s almost an afterthought. God didn’t even think of her in the first place. Then, the disobedient woman eats the forbidden fruit and drags the noble Adam (and mankind) into the saga of sin. Her feeble character and gullible sensibility couldn’t withstand the temptation. She couldn’t be trusted. In Genesis 3, God cursed the serpent first. Next, he cursed the woman:
16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
He spoke to Adam in a much different way. He essentially said that because Adam allowed himself to be tempted by Eve, he will have to work hard for the rest of his life. God gave man the power, because Eve had no moral integrity. She was, to quote Samantha Bee, a feckless cunt.
There are MANY more reasons why Evangelical women hate themselves. Many of them campaign tirelessly to push the Evangelical agenda forward. To many, it boggles the mind. But, it’s actually pretty easy to understand why their Stockholm Syndrome is so powerful. Unfortunately, like most belief systems, Evangelicalism has nothing to do with logic. Many of these women have grown up believing this ideology. It is part of their identity. Their husbands might divorce them if they altered their beliefs. Their friends might shun them. They’d have to construct new social networks. Identity transplants are notoriously hard to pull off – especially for the Evangelical woman. So, they learn to live with their self-hatred.