Why BiblicalGenderRoles.com does not represent the true Christian view of sex

News outlets around the world have picked up on BiblicalGenderRoles.com, a website which claims that men should not tolerate their wives refusing sex, and that husbands should invoke fear –  "a healthy or 'soft dread'" –  in their wives.

It's the platform of a man who goes by the name of Larry Solomon, and received widespread condemnation after it ran an article entitled 'How a husband can enjoy sex that is grudgingly given by his wife'. Solomon has been accused of trying to justify marital rape (in a previous article, he wrote that "Biblically speaking, there is no such thing as 'marital rape'" though he later insisted "I have not, nor would I EVER advocate for a husband to force himself physically upon his wife"), and in the above article claims that women whose faces betray sexual disinterest are sinful.

"Focus your eyes on her body, not her face. Focus on the visual pleasure you receive from looking at her body and physical pleasure you receive from being inside your wife," he wrote.

"I know you love your wife, most men love their wives. But sin is ugly. Your beautiful bride's face becomes ugly during this sinful time that she is grudgingly giving you sex as she grimaces wanting you to 'just hurry up and get it over with'."

Gender justice specialist Natalie Collins told Christian Today that the propagation of Solomon's views as 'Christian' in mainstream media is a cause for significant concern.

"There is a danger that people will think this is the norm within Christian thinking", she said. However, "we have to be careful not to attribute too much power" to it, she added, as the majority of people will "realise it is not an accurate portrayal of [the views of] most Christians."

The real danger lies for those living within conservative Christian contexts where traditional gender roles are taught. It's possible that Solomon's website could be used to justify the manipulation of this teaching, Collins said.

She said women who are suffering abuse and read the website may well be made to think their situation is acceptable.

"It is reinforcing rapists' views and giving a Christian justification and spin in support of rape and normalising it," Collins said. "The negative effect could result in people being raped or women feeling like rape they are suffering is not rape."

Parading as a Biblical world view, Collins said the site is perpetuating "rapists who are using the Bible to justify their actions, and therefore normalising them."

Solomon wrote a blogpost this morning celebrating the coverage in the Daily Mail and Huffington Post.

"Some might ask why I would be happy that my blog was featured based on an article I wrote telling men to not look at their wives faces if they are grudgingly giving sex," he wrote.

"The reason is because God's Word was displayed on a very public stage. I am not concerned with all those who will disagree, and the minions that disagree with me on a daily basis. This ministry is for those few who will listen to what God's Word says and will see their lives transformed as a result."

Collins said the media has a responsibility to report views like Solomon's more responsibly.

"If one woman is raped as a result of reading [an article about the blog and the blog] and feels like her rapist is legitimised, there have been real and dangerous consequences," she said.

However, she also noted that the media coverage could also have a positive effect, prompting a "wider debate about how the church actually thinks about women and their treatment."

The true Biblical message is an "amazing truth of liberation for women" from oppression, Collins added.

"The Bible shows us that one of the consequences of the fall is patriarchy and dominion, but that in Jesus the curse of sin and death was removed for freedom – we should be living a redeemed reality as equals honouring one and other."

Debunking Solomon's 'biblical' argument, Collins said "a fundamental of the Christian faith is that we are given free will, and therefore any gender mandate or biological argument that trumps free will and honour and respect is not Christian.

"That the writer writes with the assumption that men cannot resist the desire to have sex and women are not allowed to say no to them undermines the entire principle of free will."

Lifestyle