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Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family –and "Conciliation" — Courts' Operations, Practices, and History

From Bush to Obama: “Expanding the Administrative Presidency” into “faith-based” groups leaves women (in particular) on the horns of a dilemma

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I figured its time to spoon-feed the public some of this material.

This report dated 2004 is a little closer to the 2001 Initiative by Former President George W. Bush to help faith-based institutions get more involved in federal grants system.   Just a little reminder — the money being collecting comes from (among other places) working Americans whose wages are often withheld for income tax.

This report is by:

By Anne Farris, Richard P. Nathan and David J. Wright The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy

August 2004

The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy

www.ReligionandSocialPolicy.org (518) 443-5014

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government

State University of New York 411 State Street Albany, NY 12203

The Expanding Administrative Presidency: George W. Bush and the Faith-Based Initiative  examines the steps taken to promote and implement the Faith-Based Initiative since it was first introduced by President Bush in January 2001. The report details changes in federal rules, bureaucracies, funding, and public outreach advanced by the Bush Administration to increase partnerships with faith-based groups to provide a vast array of human services. Religious organizations are now involved in government-encouraged activities ranging from building strip malls for economic improvement to promoting child car seats to distributing Medicare prescription cards.

While supporters hail these moves as a way of ending the exclusion of certain religious groups from public programs and widening the choice of providers, critics question whether efforts to remove barriers facing faith-based organizations have also weakened longstanding walls banning religious groups from mixing spiritual activities with their secular services.

Among the report’s findings:

o In the absence of new legislative authority, the President has aggressively advanced the Faith-Based Initiative through executive orders, rule changes, managerial realignment in federal agencies, and other innovative uses of the prerogatives of his office.

o Among those innovations is the creation of a high-profile special office in the White House, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives,** connected to mini- offices in ten government agencies, each with a carefully selected director and staff, empowered to articulate, advance and oversee coordinated efforts to win more financial support for faith- based social services.

These ten agencies include: the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Agency for International Development and the Small Business Administration. A similar office has also been created within the Corporation for National and Community Service. In addition, the Initiative has been promoted in a myriad of other government offices overseeing programs ranging from homeownership and business development to energy conservation.   Efforts associated with these key priorities will be carried out by working closely with the President’s Cabinet Secretaries and the 11 Agency Centers for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, as well as the Strategic Advisor at the Corporation for National and Community Service.

**If you search this term, you will mostly find the newer office (try it), renamed by a Democratic President.

Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

This (current) version’s “Policy Goals” are:

Policy Goals – Key Priorities

for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

In addition to its daily work, President Obama has asked the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships to focus on four special priorities.  These priorities are:

  1. Strengthening the Role of Community Organizations in the Economic Recovery
  2. Reducing Unintended Pregnancies, Supporting Maternal and Child Health, and Reducing the Need for Abortion
  1. (In this, Secretary of HHS Sebelius introduces “Apps Against Abuse” technology…  Under the next heading, the grants that will divert wealth away from child support (which is for the children) into solving the alleged BioDadInTheHome-shortage which allegedly causes abuse).
  1. There is already a “Fatherhood.gov” and “National Resource Center on Responsible Fatherhood” and (etc.) — however, obviously something must not be working right, because our President wants MORE “fatherhood” programs — as if the engagement of the church “fathers’ were not enough in this area.
  1. For these reasons, President Obama has started a National Conversation on Responsible Fatherhood and Strong Communities and made the issue of fatherhood and at-risk youth one of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships’ four key priorities.  The Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships is helping to coordinate the Federal Government’s fatherhood policy, and has launched a national fatherhood tour to hear directly from local communities about how we can come together to encourage personal responsibility and strengthen our nation’s families.Additonal resources:

The fact that our government is actively seeking to engage faith-based groups in promoting “Fatherhood” (itself primarily a faith-based idea; can we Puh-leez acknowledge at least the Abrahamic religions endorse this concept, not to mention Catholicism, which calls every priest “Father so and so” and of course the one in Rome is the father over us all, not including God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (allegedly) — no feminine in there….) -and then has the nerve to say it’s upholding the american  value of barriers between church and state ???

Preserving Our Constitutional Commitments and Values

The goal of this office will not be to favor one religious group over another – or even religious groups over secular groups. It will simply be to work on behalf of those organizations that want to work on behalf of our communities, and to do so without blurring the line that our founders wisely drew between church and state. This work is important, because whether it’s a secular group advising families facing foreclosure or faith-based groups providing job-training to those who need work, few are closer to what’s happening on our streets and in our neighborhoods than these organizations. People trust them. *** Communities rely on them. And we will help them.

–President Barack Obama

Well, may I apply “ye shall know them by their fruits” to this office — and not just “take it on faith”?

This “we” President Obama is talking about, speaking for the United States — refers to funding and administrative support.  United States is trillions of $$ in debt, and last I heard, Social Security checks may not go out in August; there are cities filing bankruptcy, and our government has been bailing out all kinds of institutions.  Now, it wants to help the non-profit faith-based institutions? that have been oppressing women and children (boys and girls) for generations, and centuries — on the basis of the privately funded religion called “fatherhood” and lack of fathers = presence of abuse (and as most homicides are committed by men, whether against each other, or against women, or against children).    This “we” does not include the women of the United States — because this is not in our best interest, although we are just barely over the majority of the population.

When looking at what this office was — originally with then-President George Bush, later with Pres. Barack Obama — it has to be viewed in the real context of what faith-based organizations have been doing and preaching towards women, and their children, for generations — and for centuries.

I am qualified to speak on this at least from my perspective — because the domestic violence in my marriage was “bible-justified” and “church-tolerated” and if anyone should’ve been able to overcome all odds, I should’ve been.  However, the non-religious sectors weren’t much better informed either, as a result of which the family went through years more abuse than should’ve been necessary.   And I know that what I suffered was nothing close to what women who are  braver and have risked more and written more, compared to had I been born in, say, Somalia, or Egypt, or like Phyllis Chesler, temporarily stuck in Afghanistan, or another young mother from Arizona, stranded in Bahrain — these are NOT stories from the distant past– they are OUR generations.  And in OUR generation, we have stood by and allowed this OFFICE to exist and continue to spread its doctrine (in essence, a form of state religion) in a country allegedly under a Constitution and with an Amendment to that Constitution (#1 of the Bill of Rights) that Congress is NOT to make any law to establish a religion.

Just a little reminder from Nonie Darwish:

Joys of Muslim Women
by Nonie Darwish

In the Muslim faith a Muslim man can marry a child as young as 1 year old and have sexual intimacy with this child. Consummating the marriage by 9.  The dowry is given to the family in exchange for the woman (who becomes his slave) and for the purchase of the private parts of the woman, to use her as a toy.

Even though a woman is abused she can not obtain a divorce.   To prove rape, the woman must have (4) male witnesses.

Often after a woman has been raped, she is returned to her family and the family must return the dowry. The family has the right to execute her (an honor killing) to restore the honor of the family. Husbands can beat their wives ‘at will’ and he does not have to say why he has beaten her.

The husband is permitted to have (4 wives) and a temporary wife for an hour (prostitute) at his discretion.  The Shariah Muslim law controls the private as well as the public life of the woman.

In the West World (America) Muslim men are starting to demand Shariah Law so the wife can not obtain a divorce and he can have full and complete control of her. It is amazing and alarming how many of our sisters and daughters attending American Universities are now marrying Muslim men and submitting themselves and their children unsuspectingly to the Shariah law.

By passing this on, enlightened American women may avoid becoming a slave under Shariah Law.

Not only are several faiths very intolerant of rights (as in, citizenship) rights for women, there is also intolerance for other religions.  Nonie writes:

er father died while leading covert attacks on Israel. He was a high-ranking Egyptian military officer stationed with his family in Gaza .

When he died, he was considered a “shahid,” a martyr for jihad. His posthumous status earned Nonie and her family an elevated position in Muslim society.

But Darwish developed a skeptical eye at an early age. She questioned her own Muslim culture and upbringing. She converted to Christianity after hearing a Christian preacher on television.

In her latest book, Darwish warns about creeping sharia law – what it is, what it means, and how it is manifested in Islamic countries.

For the West, she says radical Islamists are working to impose sharia on the world. If that happens, Western civilization will be destroyed. Westerners generally assume all religions encourage a respect for the dignity of each individual. Islamic law (Sharia) teaches that non-Muslims should be subjugated or killed in this world.

Peace and prosperity for one’s children is not as important as assuring that Islamic law rules everywhere in the Middle East and eventually in the world.

While Westerners tend to think that all religions encourage some form of the golden rule, Sharia teaches two systems of ethics – one for Muslims and another for non-Muslims. Building on tribal practices of the seventh century, Sharia encourages the side of humanity that wants to take from and subjugate others.

While Westerners tend to think in terms of religious people developing a personal understanding of and relationship with God, Sharia advocates executing people who ask difficult questions that could be interpreted as criticism.

It’s hard to imagine, that in this day and age, Islamic scholars agree that those who criticize Islam or choose to stop being Muslim should be executed. Sadly, while talk of an Islamic reformation is common and even assumed by many in the West, such murmurings in the Middle East are silenced through intimidation.

While Westerners are accustomed to an increase in religious tolerance over time, Darwish explains how petro dollars are being used to grow an extremely intolerant form of political Islam in her native Egypt and elsewhere.

She is backed up in the assessment by another writer, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who warns of the politically-correct “multi-culti” view of all religions as basically good.  That view is not informed by a history of many religion’s treatments of dissidents, let alone of women….

The Caged Virgin

Holland’s shameful treatment of Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

By Christopher Hitchens (see Wikipedia description of author)  Posted Monday, May 8, 2006, at 3:44 PM ET

Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Click image to expand.Ayaan Hirsi Ali   Three years ago, at a conference in Sweden, I was introduced to a Dutch member of parliament named Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Originally born in Somalia, she had been a refugee in several African countries and eventually a refugee from her own family, which had decided to “give” her in marriage to a distant male relative she had never met. Thinking to escape from such confines by moving to the Netherlands, she was appalled to find that radical Islam had followed her there—or in fact preceded her there—and was proselytizing among Turkish and Moroccan and Indonesian immigrants. In ancient towns like Rotterdam and Amsterdam, where once the refugees from Catholic France and inquisitional Spain had sought refuge, and where Baruch Spinoza had been excommunicated and anathematized for his opposition to Jewish fundamentalism, there were districts where Muslim women were subjected to genital mutilation and where the Dutch police were afraid to set foot

Entering politics to try to alert the European left to this danger, she was first elected as a deputy for the Labor Party, but after 9/11 she changed her allegiance to the Liberals. This, she explained, was because many Labor spokesmen preferred to think of immigrants as possessing “group rights.” They had become so infatuated by their own “multi-culti” style that they had ignored the rights of individuals—especially women and girls—who were imprisoned within their own ghetto. (That, by the way, was precisely Spinoza’s problem as well. The Dutch rabbis cursed him and condemned him in their own sectarian “court,” of which the Christian authorities approved because it took care of dangerous secularism among Jews.)

At the Swedish event, Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke calmly and rationally about the problem. I never know whether or not it’s right to mention, with female public figures, the fact of arresting and hypnotizing beauty, but I notice that I seem to have done so. Shall I just say that she was a charismatic figure in Dutch politics, mainly because of the calm and reason to which I just alluded? She was the ideal choice of collaborator for the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh (a distant descendant of the anguished painter) on Submission, a film about the ignored problem of enslaved and oppressed women in Holland. Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote the screenplay and provided the movie’s voice-over.

ou probably remember what happened next: Van Gogh was bicycling to work one morning in 2004 in the capital city of one of Europe’s most peaceful and civilized countries when he was shot down in the street and then mutilated in a ritual fashion by an Islamist fanatic. The murderer (who had expected to become a martyr but who was only wounded in the leg by the gentle Dutch cops) left a long “martyr’s letter” pinned to van Gogh’s corpse by an equally long knife. In it, he warned Ayaan Hirsi Ali that she was the next target, and he gave a long and detailed account of all the offenses that would condemn her to an eternity in hell. (I noticed, reading this appalling screed when it was first published, that he obsessively referred to her as “Mrs. Hirshi Ali,” as if trying to make her sound like a Jew. Other references to Jews in the text were even less tasteful.)

But here is the grave and sad news. After being forced into hiding by fascist killers, Ayaan Hirsi Ali found that the Dutch government and people were slightly embarrassed to have such a prominent “Third World” spokeswoman in their midst. She was first kept as a virtual prisoner, which made it almost impossible for her to do her job as an elected representative. When she complained in the press, she was eventually found an apartment in a protected building. Then the other residents of the block filed suit and complained that her presence exposed them to risk. In spite of testimony from the Dutch police, who assured the court that the building was now one of the safest in all Holland, a court has upheld the demand from her neighbors and fellow citizens that she be evicted from her home. In these circumstances, she is considering resigning from parliament and perhaps leaving her adopted country altogether.

(Which, as we now know, she has done)…..

In this case, Surely a US President knew that he couldn’t vote in his version of religion — so it went in the back door, by Executive Order.  The National Fatherhood Initiative Grant and the transformation of the HHS/ACF into a “lean, mean, marriage & fatherhood-promoting machine” happened by conflicts of interest with an HHS leader who steered a grant to ONE organization in 1994 — and the door was open, and the sluice-gates opened to more grants, more similar activities.  In 1996, welfare was rewritten to further promote fatherhood and marriage.  KEY, and parallel to this trend was the “Office of Faith-Based”. . . . . .

Here’s a reference I just found the other day, of an attorney (and his wife) attempting to handle the scope of personal exploitation of women by pastors (meaning, sexually) and the excommunication and awful treatment of those brave enough to report…..

Much to my dismay, God keeps bringing people to my door who have been abused by a pastor or other trusted church leader.

Over the last year, I’ve taken on three cases against abusive pastors. Two involve significant embezzlement and fraud by pastors in different churches. A third involves extensive sexual abuse and misconduct by half a dozen men on the pastoral and ministerial staff in yet another local church.

Although I’ve never sought such cases, more keep queuing up and demanding my attention.

My Personal Angst

This isn’t what I planned for my law practice. Even though I do lots of other kinds of legal work, these are the kind of cases I personally hate to handle. That’s because I am not an attorney who can just go through the motions. I only take on new clients if I personally care about their plight and believe I can help. Because I care, pastoral abuse cases can be personally crushing.

As an attorney helping women who’ve been sexual exploited by a trusted pastor, there’s no way I can remain clinically and dispassionately detached and still be effective. To help them, I have to be their strength. I have to take on and bear the weight of the sins and the hurts they’ve suffered, while letting them know that someone with authority finally cares enough to listen to them, believe in them, and stand firm on their behalf against the evil they’ve suffered.

For them to tell me what happened means that they must open up the hurt, shame and sense of violation they are carrying, and it is often more than they can bear alone. To help them, they must trust me with their stories. That trust only arises as I am sincere and transparent in my empathy, and resolute and caring in my strength. Time and again, I’ve seen how healing it is for them to find someone who will finally listen and help them find the voice and dignity their own churches stole from them.

For me, however, the evil and the abuse they suffered – at the hands of unrepentant but respected pastors – is almost too much to bear.

It is crushing. Almost daily as I work on such cases, I break down weeping after hearing from a new victim, or learning of yet another man who is preying on women in his church.

Some of those abusive men, it turns out, had been my friends. And so I mourn – for the women and also for the carnage caused by men I too respected, trusted and called friends.

c) Copyright 2010, Fulcrum Ministries. All Rights Reserved.

A woman comments in this post (Part 2), says the pastor was fired, and the church hates her for causing it to lose its pastor; no attorney will take her case…I put in my two bits there also, about why aren’t the congregations being taught the law of the land, and being required to abide by it?

Engaging faith institutions in promoting “responsible fatherhood” is an insult and outrage to both the women of faith who have suffered and been injured, threatened, deprived of their economic rights, deprived of contact with their children improperly, abused by pastors, having had kids abused or molested by spiritual leaders, and been subjected to more restrictive regimes, by force, than their status as citizens (when they are, and even worse infringements when they are not are possible) in the U.S. allows them.   I personally went almost a full decade without ONE single referral from ONE pastor of any sort to any legal reference or suggestion that these assaults / attacks / threats might result in arrest.  In the decade since then, I have had exposure to many different organizations in several counties (due to work, lawsuits, geography, community, etc.) — and things are NOT better; if more there is particularly among Protestants a real “fear” of women in leadership in many circles.  I have seen little pamphlets here and there about abuse — and they are laughable.  They imply it is a spiritual problem that the average churchgoer might handle.     They do NOT cite any law, or state with absolute clarity that it’s illegal in this country to physically assault, physically batter another person, related to oneself or not.

The hierarchy of many of these church groups is such that the men are expected to keep their women in line.  Where progressive or liberal churches go about to ordain women, or to ordain lesbians or homosexuals, it almost always causes a protest, and a church split.  . . . . This isn’t even dealing with the Muslim or Jewish communities, either.  In such a context — 2000s, USA — to put more power in the hands of faith-based organizations and actually SOLICIT their help in promoting “responsible” fatherhood (as opposed to the kind they are already promoting) is to put ammunition in the weapons that are already arrayed against women who break rank by saying STOP! and reporting abuse of any sort, or abuse of their kids.

The Obama Administration has a firm commitment to encourage and facilitate partnerships between government and non-profit organizations, including faith-based and neighborhood organizations. Because of the trust that government agencies and clients place in these organizations, these partnerships must be characterized by their ability to uphold both the free exercise of religion and forbid the establishment of religion.

Here’s an article “RECOVERING FROM SPIRITUAL ABUSE”  – while kind of basic (generalized) it has a point:

(2) The Effects of Spiritual Abuse on Women, by Richard Damiani

When women are trapped in an abusive church the effects are profound and deep. Single women may never marry since they can never quite measure up to the leader’s expectations. This, plus the general immaturity of many single men who are kept in a dependent state by the pastor or elders gives them very little choice in a spouse. Both single and married women are told to submit without question to their husbands, the leadership, and sometimes to men in general. Cults generally have a strict “chain of command theology.” God is the head, then the pastor who is God’s anointed under shepherd, then the husband, then women, followed by children, who are to be totally obedient and submissive.

Women are generally told that their place is in the home, that their identity is found in being a wife and mother only, that they are to be keepers at home primarily except when there is an emergency that the leader deems proper. In some groups there is no excuse for working outside the home, even if financial ruin is the option. Some churches preach a code of dress much like Amish or Mennonites as the only type of dress a truly spiritual woman would ever wear. Wanting makeup, stylish dress, jewelry, etc. are signs of worldliness, and are condemned. Women are good for marriage, sex – whatever type of sex her husband demands or the leader teaches is proper – motherhood, and not much else.

Women are kept from any meaningful ministry in the church. They are to be quiet, reserved, and even totally silent. The man is the head in all things, and his wife is to be subject to him. Single women, too, are to be subject to men, especially the leadership. A single woman is considered an oddity since marriage is the natural state of all women.

Spirituality is measured by dress style and length. Pants suits, slacks, etc. are sinful in some churches, since they are men’s clothing. Some cults demand long dresses only, much like the Muslim Fundamentalists. Indeed, there is much similarity between cultic teaching on women and radical Muslim teaching. Anything that flatters a woman’s figure in any way is considered sinful, as if Satan was the creator of a woman’s shape and not God.

All this, plus much more that many others could add leads to many ills. Women become unnaturally reserved, not expressing their individual personalities as God gave them. Women slow down or stop developing as independent persons who bear the image of God. Rather than growing toward a full maturity and individuality in Christ, women in cults are told any identity apart from men is sinful. An unnatural dependence on men and husbands is the result of this false teaching.

Instead of expressing the individual tastes and personalities that God gives to everyone, women in cults end up looking the same, acting the same, having the same interests, wearing the same type of clothing, hair styles, and lack those womanly things that make women’s femininity beautiful. A false femininity is preached which is identified as submission, housekeeping, mothering, and in some cults natural foods only, making one’s own clothing only, home schooling only, raising one’s own food only, and many other “back to earth” teachings as tests of spirituality.
Please understand that these things are not wrong as preferences, but they do not make anyone more or less spiritual than anyone else; they are just preferences. When they become marks of following Christ and being holy, they become abusive.

The web — and if one engages in life conversationally, with people in one’s communities — and LIFE — is full of people recovering from spiritual abuse, not just women, but “faith” leaders abusing their flocks, particularly in this era of the mega-churches.  Here’s another one (I don’t know them individually, just making the point):

A SAFE PLACE FOR THOSE COMING OUT OF SPIRITUAL ABUSIVE EXPERIENCES. CREATED FOR YOU TO COMMENT, SHARE YOUR PERSONAL STORY, AND HELP OTHERS TO RECOGNIZE AND ESCAPE THE BONDAGE OF SPIRITUAL ABUSE AND TOXIC CHURCHES

Presenter: Jeff VanVonderen

Lecture 1 of 3: Healthy and Abusive Spiritual Dynamics

These presentations are part of a 10-part course entitled “Breaking the Silence on Spiritual Abuse”. The series includes presentations by Dave Johnson and Lynn Heitritter. …

(on a separate page:)

FRIDAY, JANUARY 22, 2010

Terry Hornbuckle-The Reverend Freak


The Terry Hornbuckle case should be a warning to both men and women of any church congregation that begins holding a pastor/mentor in such high regard that they begin listening to what he says, and not keeping an eye on what he does. 

In spite of Hornbuckle’s conviction on rape charges, many of his adoring flock continue to support him on the basis that all should “forgive” him for what was his deliberate misuse of the gospel, the money that flowed into his lifestyle, and his rape and abuse of women in the church, not to mention his drug use. Forgiving may be one thing, but to continue to support such a ministry should be out of the question to any bible believing, obedient Christian.

Beware of such abuses, and beware of “pastor’s” and ministries that live beyond their means, as well as pastors that make advances toward female members of the congregation.

Misogyny in Religion:

FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2010

Misogyny in Religion


Misogyny is hatred or strong prejudice against women. The word comes from the Greek words μίσος (misos, “hatred”) + γυνη (gunê, “woman”). Compared with anti-woman sexism or misandry (hatred, strong prejudice against men), misogyny is termed by most feminist theories as a political ideology like racism and antisemitism that justifies and maintains the subordination of women to men. …
…Misogyny is a negative attitude towards women as a group, and so need not fully determine a misogynist’s attitude towards each individual woman. The fact that someone holds misogynist views may not prevent them from having positive relationships with some wome

From the same blog, but as this is a Bill Berkowitz article dealing with a prominent group, I’m quoting it as:

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2010

Bill BerkowitzJuly 23, 2007″Dr. James Dobson and Dr. John MacArthur, two influential evangelical family counselors, ‘blame’ battered women for their plight, says Christian evangelical author Jocelyn Andersen.

While domestic violence — also known as intimate partner violence — is in no way limited to any particular race, religion, ethnic group, class or sexual preference, author Jocelyn Andersen maintains that for far too long too many evangelical pastors have tried to sweep the problem under the rug. According to Andersen, the problem of physical, as well as emotional and spiritual abuse, is being exacerbated by the outdated teachings of several high-profile conservative Christian pastors.In the introduction to her new book “Woman Submit! Christians & Domestic Violence” (One Way Cafe Press, 2007), Andersen points out that “The practice of hiding, ignoring, and even perpetuating the emotional and physical abuse of women is … rampant within evangelical Christian fellowships and as slow as our legal systems have been in dealing with violence against women by their husbands, the church has been even slower.”Andersen maintains that domestic violence in Christian families “often creates a cruel Catch-22 as many Christians and church leaders view recommending separation or divorce as unscriptural, but then silently view the battered woman, who chooses not to leave, with contempt for staying and tolerating the abuse. Victims quickly pick up on this hypocritical attitude and either leave the church altogether — or begin hiding the abuse. Either way they are giving up the spiritual guidance, and emotional support, they desperately need.”
(either that or somewhere to go, and a way to keep their kids safe, too):

the problem is exacerbated by misguided advice and use of outdated information in the writing of Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, and Dr. John MacArthur, a pastor-teacher at the Sun Valley, California-based Grace Community Church. “We do see some very big-name evangelical leaders blaming the battered woman for the abuse,” Andersen explained. “You know, talking about how she may provoke her husband into doing it; or that her poor, non-communicative husband can’t handle maybe what she’s trying to communicate to him and he lashes out and hits her — [that] shifts the blame right off him and to her.”

Via several emails, Anderson told Media Transparency that the work of Dobson and MacArthur perpetuate the problem of domestic violence among evangelical Christians.

She chose to look closely at their work because of the “scope of influence” they wield “within the Christian Community.” Both men are “prolific writers with best-selling books,” and the both “have large listening audiences for their radio broadcasts,” which “have been staples of Moody Christian Radio for years.” Millions of people listen to the broadcasts weekly, she said.

“Both Dobson and MacArthur are high-profile evangelical leaders with enough influence and ability to make a positive contribution to the plight of battered women which would result in lives being saved.” Instead, “their words are often used to send Christian women back into the danger zone with counsel that encourages them to try and change violent husbands or return to violent homes as soon as the ‘heat is off.’ The last time I looked, assault was a crime, but Christian women are generally not encouraged to report that crime.

In her book, Andersen cites an incident in which a battered wife wrote to Dobson telling him that “the violence within her marriage was escalating in both frequency and intensity and that she feared for her life.” Dobson “replied that her goal should be to change her husband’s behavior–not to get a divorce (‘Love Must Be Tough,’ (1996) [this is the edition that was being sold as of March 2007]).

“The secular medical world has had to reach in to advise and help women from the church see the truth of their situations, get shelter, and inform religious leaders about the need to accept medical and clinical facts about physical and mental abuse,” OneNewsNow.com — a news service of the American Family Association — reported in late June.

He did suggest leaving as a temporary solution, but only as a way of manipulating the husband’s behavior. I found it inexcusable that not one note of real concern for this woman’s immediate physical safety was sounded in his response–in spite of the fact that she clearly stated she was in fear for her life.”
“Dobson counseled her to precipitate a crisis in her marriage by choosing the most absurd demand her husband made, then refusing to consent to it. This was not only absurd advice in a domestic violence situation, but life-threateningly dangerous as well, and very telling of the fact that, in spite of over 1,000 deaths per year due to wife-beating, the wife beater is not generally viewed as a real threat to his wife’s life or safety. “

I DECIDED TO POST a July 2007 article (by Bill Berkowitz, again) showing the influence Dobson held with President Bush at this time, and a bit of the extent of his “empire.”   Keep in mind, this is the person who recommends that battered women only leave their husbands long enough to bring him to repentance — and not permanently if he doesn’t — because divorce is wrong (is that a LEGAL position to hold in the US?) . . . . .

Bill Berkowitz
June 8, 2007

Dobson’s dilemma

Will dismissing GOP frontrunners Giuliani and McCain as unacceptable presidential candidates and getting involved in a series of squabbles with fellow conservative evangelicals diminish the power of Focus on the Family founder?

With the Rev. Jerry Falwell gone; Coral Ridge Ministries’ D. James Kennedy seriously ill, the Rev. Pat Robertson in a perpetual state of hoof-and-mouth disease — although still raking in handsome amounts of dough – Ralph Reed tainted by the Abramoff Scandal, and Pastor Ted Haggard just plain tainted, it appears that the time is ripe for Focus on the Familyfounder and Christian radio psychologist Dr. James Dobson, to crank up what blogger Richard Rothstein has termed his “vast bigotry-based political machine” and seize the religious right’s center stage. Or has Dobson, who has gotten himself embroiled in a series of conflicts with fellow evangelicals, missed his moment?

Over the past few months Dobson has been a whirling dervish of activity: he’s met with President Bush to discuss Iran and other matters related to national security and the so-called war on terrorism; devoted a full week of his radio program — which reaches more than 200 million people in 164 countries — to “the threat of radical Islam”; dissed two of the Republican Party’s frontrunners for the party’s 2008 presidential nomination; hosted — and appeared to approve of — former House Speaker Newt Gingrich‘s on-the-air confessional; got into a medium-sized kerfluffle when he said that Fred Thompson wasn’t Christian enough, and then denied having said it, and then blamed it all on the liberal media; continued to oppose evangelicals initiatives to make climate change part of the Christian right’s agenda; and got blasted by a coalition of right-to-lifers in a full-page ad placed in Dobson’s hometown newspaper.

In “The Jesus Machine: How James Dobson, Focus on the Family, and Evangelical America are Winning the Culture War” (St. Martin’s Press, 2007), a new book by Dan Gilgoff, senior editor at U.S.News & World Report, Dobson is seen as the Christian Right’s “new standard bearer.” Gilgoff maintains that Dobson is “more powerful” than either the Rev. Jerry Falwell (the book was written prior to his death) or the Rev. Pat Robertson ever was.

And, in his review of Gilgoff’s book for the New York Times, Jacob Heilbrunn outlined the nuts and bolts of Dobson’s empire: “[It] is based at an 88-acre campus in Colorado Springs, with some 1,300 employees and a 75,000-square-foot warehouse filled with DVDs, CDs, pamphlets and books that disseminate Dobson’s advice on matters like how to stop bed-wetting or confront a teenager about drug use, not to mention admonitions against gay rights and judicial activism. …

Dobson’s political power emanates not only from his Colorado Springs, Colorado-based Focus on the Family realm and the recent addition of Focus on the Family Action, a political lobbying arm, it also comes from the fact that Dobson founded and essentially controls the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council ***– the premiere “traditional values” lobbying organization in the nation’s capital — and a host of state-level groups called Family Policy Councils.

Yet despite the kingdom and the power, Dobson’s ship is listing on several fronts.

***[FRC was a division of James Dobson‘s Focus on the Family from 1988 until October 1992, when IRS concerns about the group’s lobbying led to an amicable administrative separation.]

Now you tell me — honestly — how likely is it that our President Obama (as of 2008) didn’t know about Focus on the Family’s exceptionally soft stance on violence against women (among Christian husbands), and aggressive anti-gay, anti-choice stances as well, when he took office?

Here:  Focus on the Family — “Helping Families Thrive” – under “Life Challenges”  — there is an “Abuse and Addiction”  – as we can see, the words “domestic violence” do not occur, and this only mentions (as to hyperlinks, subject headings) — Emotional Abuse.

There is a heading” Talking to your Kids about Sexual Abuse” by Jon Holsten.  Though this person says he has witnessed some of these despicable crimes, the story glosses over HOW the person was arrested and cites to no law; it says nothing about mandatory reporting, and it is not addressed for someone in such a situation got get help — it is addressed to parents warning their children to beware of sexual abuse.

In this example (I note) — it wasn’t the biological father (although in real life, it often is) — but a stepfather:

He was the last person she ever suspected, but the evidence against her new husband was undeniable.

The young mother of two little girls sobbed uncontrollably as her story unraveled. The man she thought was a loving husband and stepfather was now in jail – accused of repeatedly molesting one of her daughters.

As a police officer and major crimes detective, I have investigated numerous murders, suicides, accidental deaths, and brutal assaults. In my opinion, the physical, emotional, and sexual victimization of children is among the most despicable crimes.

However, one of the questions posted (anonymously) asks a theological question about dealing with a pastor father who molested her sister, at the end of his life:

Updated 02/01/2010 04:45 PM

My father sexually molested one of my sisters during her childhood. Am I obligated to honor my dad now that he’s nearing the end of his life?

QUESTION:

My father was a pastor when I was a kid. As an adult, I learned that he had sexually molested one of my sisters for several years during her childhood. Since then, pedophilia has surfaced as a generational problem in our family. Am I obligated to honor my dad now that he’s in a rest home and nearing the end of his life? Is our family under some kind of a curse?

(the family has a generational problem with pedophilia, including a pastor….. and s/he is still asking advice of a religious nature, interesting….)

Here’s another one: – it’s 1995, and somehow the 1994 “Violence Against Women Act” hasn’t trickled down to the church level of awareness….  The article is being published in 2004 — and STILL no references.  (“Originally published in: Today’s Christian Woman, 2004, September/October, Vol. 26, Issue 5, Page 68″)

It wasn’t until Brenda realized his comments weren’t true that she approached him. And that’s when he picked up a chair and hit her with it. Brenda knew she had to do something, so she went to her pastor. Unfortunately he wasn’t equipped to handle domestic abuse; his suggestions about submitting to her husband only made her home life more difficult. “Our church didn’t know what to do with us,” Brenda says. “They just wanted the problem to go away.”

Brenda got the help she needed by forming a support group with another domestic-violence victim. Then in 1995 she cofounded Focus Ministries, one of the few Christian organizations devoted to helping victims of domestic violence while also training churches on how they can assist members who are being abused.

You don’t deserve what’s happening to you. God doesn’t approve of any man who beats, controls, or retaliates against his wife.

According to Detective Sgt. Don Stewart, a retired police officer who handled domestic violence cases for 25 years, one out of every four Christian couples experiences at least one episode of physical abuse within their marriage. In fact, battering is the single largest cause of injury to women—more than auto accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that 3 to 4 million women are beaten in their homes every year. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, approximately 2,000 women are murdered every year by an intimate partner.

“Domestic violence has become an epidemic,” says Brenda, who is no longer married to her husband. The enormity of the problem, combined with the fact law enforcement officials and church leaders often lack the skills to address it, led Don to author Refuge (New Hope), a book helping victims understand and flee from violence in their homes.

I’ve read that book.  It’s a good one.  He also talked about police responses to having been told to take domestic violence training….

BUT NOTE — does this website provide any instructions as to WHICH laws domestic violence battery is violating — whether misdemeanor or felony, whether family code or criminal code, or both?  NO!   Why not?

it’s 2008 – here is a write-in question, what is the wife to do when the husband is becoming increasingly violent and has injured her four times?

Dr. Bill Maher advises her to get professional help, see a therapist, call 911 perhaps, and make a safety plan.

As difficult as it may be to admit, you are a victim of domestic abuse, and your husband is a chronic abuser.

Without professional intervention, there is a good chance that things will only go downhill from here. Men who have abused their wives in the past are likely to abuse again, and next time you may suffer more serious injuries.

The first thing you need to do is break the silence on this issue. You need to let others know about the abuse. Talk to a female friend whom you trust and let her know what’s been going on. If you have a healthy relationship with your parents, I believe it would also be wise to tell them about your husband’s abusive behavior.

You also need to have a safety plan in place in the event that your husband threatens to harm you again. At the first sign of anger, leave the house and go a prearranged place where you will be safe. That could be a friend’s home or a local women’s shelter. It’s also a good idea to have some extra clothing and toiletries in the trunk of your car. If your husband threatens you as you leave, call 9-1-1 when you get to the safe place and file a police report.

Find a supportive counselor who can help you develop a plan to confront the abuse and protect yourself. Our counseling department at Focus on the Family can refer you to a licensed Christian therapist in your community who has experience in dealing with domestic abuse.

Depending on your situation, the therapist may recommend a formal “intervention” involving friends, family members and perhaps even your pastor. During this meeting, this group of individuals will back you up you as you confront your husband about his abusive behavior.

This group of individuals, in a typical church, is NOT likely to back her up, moreover, they may be put at risk if they do so, depending on the situation.  In any situation, it shouldn’t be the woman confronting him, but others; and the fact is, there is likely to be severe retaliation for reporting.  Nowhere in this letter does it mention that women have died, that it could turn lethal, or that such abuse is a criminal.  There is zero reference to any laws that could be enforced.  There is also no mention (in this incident) about children, but general advice should take that into account also.

In addition, I’d recommend you order the book Love Must Be Tough by my colleague, Dr. James Dobson. You can learn more about the book by visiting our online Resource Center.

Copyright © 2008, Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

! ! !

Now let me go back to THIS administration’s “Preserving Our Constitutional Commitments and Values

What is a “Constitutional value”?    How about running things past the Congress, and not ruling by Executive Orders?  How about not bringing abusive faith institutions in and then expecting them to turn colors into nice, sweet, helpful in violence prevention outfits?   Almost all the articles (events) above I quoted were from pre-2008, or thereabouts.  Did Obama not know any better than Bush which end is up, or did he not care?

EXPANDING THE ADMINISTRATIVE PRESIDENCY — 2004 ARTICLE (above):

• The federal government now allows federally-funded faith-based groups to consider religion when employing staff.

The Department of Justice now permits religious organizations to convert government-forfeited property to religious purposes after five years, replacing the previous policy prohibiting such conversions.

• The federal government now allows federally-funded faith-based groups to build and renovate structures used for both social services and religious worship.

• The Veterans Administration no longer requires faith-based social service providers to certify that they exert “no religious influence.”

• The Department of Labor now allows students to use federal job-training vouchers to receive religious training leading to employment at a church, synagogue, or other faith-based organization.

For instance, during Fiscal Year 2003, the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported that grants to faith-based groups increased 41 percent and 16 percent, respectively. Overall, the Bush Administration claims that five federal agencies provided competitive non-formula grants of $1.17 billion to such organizations – a total of eight percent of the $14.5 billion awarded.

The common perception is that President Bush’s Faith-Based Initiative has been stalled by a reluctant Congress. But as this report illustrates, the Bush Administration has made concerted use of its executive powers and has moved aggressively through new regulation, funding, political appointees and active public outreach efforts to expand the federal government’s partnerships with faith-based social service providers in ways that don’t require Congressional approval.

INTRODUCTION

“(A)s President, I have an authority I intend to use. Many acts of discrimination against faith-based groups are committed by Executive Branch agencies. And, as the leader of the Executive Branch, I’m going to make some changes.”

President George W. Bush speaking to religious leaders in Philadelphia, December 2002

INSERTING SPIRITUAL ACTIVITIES INTO SECULAR SERVICES – - UNCHARTED WATERS:

…These provisions have opened new and uncharted territory, raising questions and concerns about their legal status and constitutionality.

Government partnerships with religious groups have a long history in America. Faith-based organizations have received federal funds for generations – either directly from federal agencies or funneled through state government – to provide an array of social services. However, to maintain the distinction between church and state, the federal government has typically required such groups to create separately incorporated entities to receive such funds, and to use them to pursue only secular activities.

But where some saw the Establishment Clause of the Constitution as requiring a separation between church and state protecting both, the President and his advisors perceived discrimination in requirements that faith groups become more secular to receive public funding. The Bush Administration has sought to remove barriers to participation by faith-based organizations, but in so doing, may also have weakened longstanding walls preventing religious groups from inserting spiritual activities into secular services.

What apparently concerns this roundtable is not that there is an activist President, but that the ways and means to enable his activism are set in place:

The Bush Administration has complemented these policy changes with a new layer of bureaucracy designed to promote and facilitate partnerships with religious groups throughout the federal government. . . . 

President Bush was not the first chief executive to create an office within the White House or to appoint cabinet and sub-cabinet level staff in the federal agencies committed to carrying out his initiatives. Activities like these, and the use of executive orders and budgetary powers, are hallmarks of activist presidents, from FDR to Reagan.

But these efforts, in the words of Hugh Heclo, typically lack local cells that provide the feet and hands needed to organize and implement presidential initiatives. The innovation in the Bush Faith-Based Initiative is the creation of a high-profile special office in the White House, connected to mini-offices in ten government agencies, each with a carefully selected director and staff, and empowered to articulate, advance and oversee coordinated efforts to win more financial support for faith-based groups as publicly-aided providers of domestic public services.

How and how well these organizational and appointive steps achieved their goal – to penetrate agency operations – is described in this report. …

the character and scale of the Bush Faith-Based Initiative – because it has been carried out so methodically and across the whole federal establishment – must be regarded as a notable innovation in executive action. How all this will play out in the future – in the three-cornered bargaining processes typical of American government with its “balance of powers” – depends on the outcome of the 2004 election, what the Congress and the courts do in the future, and the extent to which a new Bush, or John Kerry  {:    (:    Administration pursues this objective in the future.

That’s enough for this post, but I will continue….  Keep in mind that this document is now seven (7) years old, and the methodical, coordinated, expansion of religious groups, penetrating many levels of government ,has been going on.   Next, the document considers the 1996 “Sweeping overhaul” of welfare, based in part on a religious awakening then-Texas-Governor George Bush had in the 1990s…

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Written by Let's Get Honest

July 16, 2011 at 7:31 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Had trouble with that title. HOwever, “horns of a dilemma” means:

    worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-hor2.htm

    “The original dilemma in rhetoric was a device by which you presented your opponent with two alternatives; it didn’t matter which one he chose to respond to — either way he lost the argument. When you did this to your opponent you were said to present two horns to him, as of a bull, on either of which he might be impaled. As the scholar Nicholas Udall said in a translation of a work by Erasmus in 1548, it didn’t matter to which of the two points a person made a direct answer, either way he would run on to the sharp point of the horn.”

    Or here:

    http://www.bartleby.com/81/8473.html

    Lemma is something that has been proved, and being so is assumed as an axiom. It is from the Greek word lam’bano (I assume or take for granted). Di-lemma is a double lemma, or two-edged sword which strikes either way. The horns of a dilemma is a figure of speech taken from a bull, which tosses with either of his horns.

    I have no idea whether that’s the actual Greek origin of “di-lemma” or not, but I know I was thinking about the two horns of a bull. Fatherhood can be promoted without the use of religion, but promoting it through religious (faith-based) groups that are already fatherhood oriented by nature and practices — which is commonly known — is a double-whammy.

    Some of us women thought the secular nature of government would, by labeling criminal behavior as criminal behavior, perhaps put a stop to it — and it was that NON-religious no-nonsense protection / support / option we were looking for.

    Only to find that an Executive-Order-minded Republican spiritually awakened (?) President would rather do it with “faith,” assuming that of course faith-based institutions were the good guys — after all, they believed in “God,” right?

    (image of a bull) (This bull faces a certain dilemma also — how he wants to die)

    “The phrase “horns of a dilemma” describes someone faced with two equally unpleasant outcomes and forced to choose one. Step to left and risk evisceration from a charging bull; step the right and meet the same fate. There is no way to avoid harm with the exception of refusing to step into the ring in the first place.”

    Ah, well …..

    LetsGetHonest

    July 16, 2011 at 9:27 pm

  2. It isn’t charity if it is taxpayer funded; it is government.

    Supporting faith based initiatives is much like supporting unnecessary wars; any excuse will do.

    Funding of faith based initiatives was the method Bush thought up to fund social welfare programs of government and gift them to faith groups despite church and state separation obligations of government and then gave tax cuts to his cronies among the wealthy.

    Embezzling taxpayer funds and giving them to churches is just as much embezzlement and conversion as embezzling taxpayer funds and giving them to lobbyists or the industrial military complex.

    Restoring government should be the first priority of President Obama’s second term to end religious welfare that Bush and the GOP support even while complaining about welfare of the poor.

    It’s all a matter of steering funds into favored pockets.

    Pat

    November 27, 2012 at 5:48 am

    • You would enjoy the blog Cold,Hard.Fact$, especially recent links which put welfare reform (1996) in the context of previous money-laundering in HUD under Bush, Sr. admin. Also see the Walter Burien material and (this is like a quick outline in how to read the net worth of government) one by a retired Lt. General whose function in the military was auditing federal financial reports (as I recall). He makes it straightforward @ cafrman.com. See his qualifications, and then the outline of what to pick out (which totals) in a CAFR. It’s also very interesting information.

      President Obama isn’t going to “restore government to end religious welfare.” Look at the track record. He’s on the same program material, both faith-based and promoting marriage & family. However as you believe this stuff, do you have time to also blog some of it?

      Let's Get Honest

      November 27, 2012 at 8:05 am


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