I learned a lot of new vocabulary words from this story at the Southern Baptist Conference Web site. I also learned what some right-wing Christians really think about simple gender equality:
Many evangelicals unwittingly live as feminists, Moore says
Egalitarians are winning the gender debate because evangelical complementarian men have largely abdicated their biblically ordained roles as head of the home and have, in practice, embraced contemporary pagan feminism, Russell D. Moore said in a presentation at the 57th annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) Nov. 17 in Valley Forge, Pa.
Complementarianism is the view that men and women have been created equally in God's image but have different yet complementary roles. Egalitarianism is the view that that men and women have been gifted equally so that no role is limited to one sex.
Moore called for a complementarian response built upon a thoroughly biblical vision of male headship in which men lead their families and churches by mirroring God the Father, whom Scripture portrays as the loving, sacrificial, protective Patriarch of His people.
..."Evangelicals maintain headship in the sphere of ideas, but practical decisions are made in most evangelical homes through a process of negotiation, mutual submission, and consensus," Moore said. "That’s what our forefathers would have called feminism -- and our foremothers, too."
Following this so far? Complementarianism is good -- it means men and women aren't alike, so men should make the tough, manly, non-chick decisions. Believing that men and women don't have strictly defined gender roles -- that's egalitarianism. It's pagan. It would have made the Founding Fathers cry. (No, wait, that's wrong -- it would have made their wives cry. The Founding Fathers didn't cry, dammit.)
...If evangelical homes and churches are to recover from the confusion of egalitarianism, Moore said, they must embrace a full-orbed vision of biblical patriarchy that restores the male to his divinely ordained station as head of the home and church.
Both Russell Moore and the author of this article are male, which I guess explains why we're talking about a vision of sex roles that's, er, "full-orbed."
..."... We must allow the patriarchs and apostles themselves, not the editors of 'Playboy' or 'Ms. Magazine,' to define the grammar of our faith."
I'm sure Gloria Steinem would be just delighted to share the credit for a societal shift in gender roles with Hef.
Oh, there's more, much more. I'll spare you the part about "'soft' complementarians" -- I don't even want to go there.
This story also appears on the Web site of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, where gender issues are subjected to even more humorless hand-wringing of this kind. Essays such as "Does Father God Have Too Much Testosterone?" and "A Not-So-Vast Left Wing Conspiracy and the Selling of Homosexualism" are much less amusing than you'd like them to be. [At the online store you can buy such books as Sex and the Supremacy of Christ -- "Another Christian book on sex? This is so much more ...," raves Joshua Harris, author of Sex is Not the Problem (Lust Is) -- but even that book doesn't look like much fun.]
This is all a bit closer to the mainstream than you might imagine: One member of the Council's board is R. Albert Mohler, Jr., who is the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and was one of the driving forces behind the Justice Sunday telethon for Bush's judicial nominees (Justice Sunday took place at his church).
By the way, I see from Mohler's blog that he reads great significance into the fact that, according to a Washington Times story, more female visitors to D.C.'s National Zoo than male ones are willing to call Tai Shan, its new giant panda cub, "cute."
Remember Tai Shan the next time someone argues that there are no real differences between the sexes. Just call it the "Great Panda Divide."
Hell yeah! This is all the reason I need to send them dames back into the kitchen!