When a woman comments on the Internet about the prevalence of rape culture, the backlash is often swift. And thanks to CeeLo Green’s deep-seated misunderstanding of the circumstances surrounding his own alleged sexual assault, we know that even prominent celebrities can perpetuate myths about rape, with or without understanding what they are doing.
Green, the singer-songwriter perhaps best known for his hit song “Fuck You,” drew the ire of many women’s advocates due to tweets he sent after pleading no contest to supplying ecstasy to a woman in 2012; he allegedly had intercourse with her while she was unconscious. After receiving a sentence of three years on probation and 360 days of community service (for the drug; no rape charges were ever filed), Green took to social media to tell his followers all about how he’s actually a nice guy, railroaded by critics who don’t understand what rape is.
Unfortunately for Green, his tweets, deleted since he sent them on Tuesday, but preserved in screenshots, left little doubt as to who exactly it was who didn’t understand the concept of rape.
"People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!" he wrote in one. "If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously! so WITH Implies consent," he (erroneously) claimed in another.
There are so many damaging myths about sexual assault in those two little sentences that it’s hard to know where to start.
First of all, being with a person never implies consent. You don’t consent to anything, sexual or otherwise, simply by being in the presence of someone else. Being with someone who drugged you without your knowledge most certainly does not imply consent either.
Second, many rape victims do not remember their assault. That does not mean the rape doesn’t count. Good lord.
Following backlash online (and probably a frantic call from his publicist), Green deleted the wildly inaccurate and insensitive tweets, and his entire account, which has since been reactivated.
Unfortunately, Green’s victim-blaming beliefs about sexual assault aren’t surprising, because they aren’t new. From celebrities who sing about supposed “blurred lines" to politicians like Todd Akin who use language like “legitimate rape” to lawyers like the one in Steubenville, Ohio, who claimed that a victim’s silence implies consent, it’s clear that Green’s comments are the rule rather than the exception in our cultural reality. They point to a profound misunderstanding at every level of society of what consent actually looks like.
In a couple of days, it’s likely this entire scandal will blow over and we’ll move on to the next public figure who says something terrible about women. Green will go on to sell records and be a successful recording artist, just like many other male entertainers with histories of hurting women, from Chris Brown to Sean Penn.
Like these other well-known abusers, Green likely didn’t come up with this misguided theory about consent: He learned it. Until our culture teaches men that nothing — not your gender, wealth or fame — entitles you to female bodies, people like him will continue to believe and claim that some women are deserving of rape.
Update 09/02/2014 9:15 pm: According to UltraViolet, it took as little as three hours for after the launch of their online petition for TBS (Time Warner’s parent company) to cancel CeeLo Green’s show “The Good Life”.
BarbWire’s Gina Miller used her column today to respond to a piece on the Huffington Post asserting that what is needed is not a new nail polish for women that can detect the presence of date rape drugs in their drinks but rather a concerted effort toward “solutions to shifting rape culture where consent, on both sides, is seen as the norm.”
Miller was decidely unimpressed by the supposed need to “stop blaming the victim [and] educate men on how not to rape” because the only real solution is to get our society to turn to Jesus … plus, all those drunken sluts who are dressing like prostitutes are partially responsible for getting raped because they are sending mixed messages:
Why do you suppose that there might be a “blame the victim” mentality today? Do women ever bear any responsibility for putting themselves in potentially dangerous places and situations, like drunken frat parties? Do they bear no responsibility for the outrageous “fashions” they choose to wear nowadays, clothing that makes them look like prostitutes and porn “stars,” clothing that arguably feeds the “rape culture”? Yes, we know that a man who sexually assaults a woman is always wrong, but why is it considered just fine for a woman to present herself in a hyper-sexual, sleazy way and then expect men to treat her with the dignity and honor she imagines she deserves? The disconnect from reason is palpable.
To many on the Left, the answer to most problems is “education,” but what young man doesn’t already know that it’s wrong to sexually assault another person? Who is unclear that “no” means “no”? There again, can it be argued that a woman dressed like a strumpet, yet saying “no” to unwanted sexual advances, sends a mixed message? Yes, I know it’s outrageous, but this is what our Godless culture has wrought. There are a lot of bad people out there, and no amount of “education,” telling them it’s wrong (they already know this), will change their evil hearts.
[T]here will be no shifting of any rape culture by throwing money at more “rape culture awareness,” or telling young men that it’s wrong to rape, or holding colleges accountable, or not “blaming the victim.” Our nation has turned its back on God. We have kicked Him out of our schools and out of the public square. We have raised several generations of Godless, self-centered, sex-obsessed kids, and the truth is that there can be no positive transformation of any sick culture without the saving power of the Spirit of God through Jesus Christ to change people’s hearts of stone into new hearts of flesh.
Fox spent much of its VMA coverage questioning Beyonce’s ability to promote feminism while being "extremely sexual."
Megyn Kelly labeled Beyonce’s message and lyrics as “skanky,” while a FoxNews.com article claimed the singer “seemed to ensure her behind was the focus on each song, all the while educating young viewers about feminism.”
On The Five, Fox hosts suggested “she’s auditioning for a future husband,” and Greg Gutfeld announced that ”the greatest thing about pop culture is convincing women that acting like strippers is empowering.”
What Fox failed to recognize is that expressing sexuality does not automatically remove a woman’s right to discuss equality. Instead, the network righteously shamed Beyonce and used her performance as basis to attack feminism as a whole. In reality, such policing of women’s sexuality has harmed progress toward equality. The very same mindset has been used to dismiss women’s need to access contraception, and blame rape survivors for their own assaults.
If anyone is going to be shamed, it should be Fox and its irresponsible coverage of women’s issues.
Routine sexist attacks from the National Rifle Association’s media outlets are undermining the organization’s political effort to reach out to women as a growing demographic.
On August 25, NRA magazine America’s 1st Freedom attacked prominent gun safety advocate and Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense in America founder Shannon Watts. As Gawker’s Adam Weinstein explained, the article featured images of Watts “as a cutout mom with kitchen and housekeeping accoutrements, because moms oughta know their place!” The accompanying article accused Watts of lying about being a stay-at-home mom, because she had for a time run a PR firm out of her house while raising her children.
This offensive depiction of a woman from NRA media seems in stark contrast to the political arm of the NRA, which the very same day debuted several new ads narrated by women — in a series titled “Good Guys” — promoting the message that guns are a sign of empowerment for women and that women are an important part of the NRA community. One features a woman lauding the importance of “Mom and Dad”; one stars a woman emphasizing the “courage" it takes to be one of the "Good Guys." Another ad released earlier this month also featured a female narrator driving a pickup truck and attacking Everytown for Gun Safety founder Michael Bloomberg, telling him to “keep your hands off our guns.”
Right-wing female commentators have long argued that “guns are the great equalizer between sexes in crimes against women,” falselyclaimingthat guns make women safer. CNN’s S.E. Cupp, The Blaze’s Dana Loesch, and Fox News’ Katie Pavlich have regularly appeared on cable news and published books to promote the NRA as a pro-women organization.
But as Media Matters noted in a feature on the NRA’s annual meeting, 2014 seemed to mark a shift for the organization towards focusing increasingly on women and moms. In part that shift is monetary, as advertisers see women as a largely untapped market. It also seems, however, that the shift is in part in response to gun safety organizations, including Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action, who increasingly emphasize how dangerous guns can be for women in abusive situations.
This recent recognition of women by the NRA is undermined, however, by the attack on Watts and the numerous misogynistic and sexist comments from NRA commentators and spokespeople.
Just two months ago, for example, an NRA commentatorfetishized assault weapons by comparing them to attractive women. Noir, a Sunday web series hosted by NRA News commentator Colion Noir, aired two separate ads that at first appear to feature a narrator describing stylishly-dressed, flirtatious women (“Her Jimmy Choo’s can’t be comfortable, but you’d never know it … She’s the kind to tell the bartender how to make her drink”), only to reveal at the end that he was describing a gun the entire time. One of the ads aired just days after a mass shooting in Isla Vista, California, which was reportedly inspired by the shooter’s admitted hatred of women.
Last year, the NRA featured Fox News’ Sean Hannity as a keynote speaker at the 7th Annual NRA Women’s Leadership Forum Luncheon, despite his association with a group whose leadership has claimed that one of America’s greatest mistakes was allowing women to vote.
NRA News host Cam Edwards once attacked Glamourmagazine’s Women of the Year Awards for making “the world a more dangerous place for women,” because the event honored victims of gun violence, including Pakistani education reformer Malala Yousafzai, and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) — who was wounded during a 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona.
Most outrageous is NRA board member Ted Nugent, whose rampant sexism - including calling Hillary Clinton a “toxic cunt,” comparing abstaining from drugs and alcohol to avoiding “fat chicks,” telling a CBS producer “I’ll fuck you, how’s that sound?”, and featuring a nude, bound woman with a grenade in her mouth on an album cover — has never been a problem for the organization.
Gun safety advocates and progressives have also been talking about women more lately, as part of a new push to recognize the dangers guns pose to women in domestic violence situations. The presence of a gun in an abusive situation increases the risk that a woman will be murdered by 500 percent, and women are more than three times as likely to be murdered when there is a gun in their house even when domestic violence isn’t a factor. In fact, more women in the U.S. were killed by an intimate partner using a gun from 2001 to 2012 than the total number of troops killed in action in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.
As for the argument that those women could have defended themselves if they had a gun, The Atlanticexplained that according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers interviewed women across 67 battered women’s shelters, and found that nearly a third of them had lived in a household with a firearm. “In two-thirds of the homes, their intimate partners had used the gun against them, usually threatening to kill (71.4 percent) them. A very small percentage of these women (7 percent) had used a gun successfully in self-defense, and primarily just to scare the attacking male partner away.”
The NRA doesn’t want to talk about the realities of domestic violence. Instead, they prefer to fearmonger about liberals attempting to “insult” women by “taking” their guns. But they can’t have it both ways, talking about women as nothing more than sex objects and housewives one day, and liberated gun owners the next.
The same St. Louis police officer who was seen on CNN earlier this week pushingDon Lemon back during a live broadcast from Ferguson, Missouri, has been relieved of his duty after video emerged of an hour-long speech he delivered railing against African-Americans, the LGBT community and President Barack Obama. CNN reported the news about Officer Dan Page, who made the controversial remarks at an Oath Keepers meeting just months ago.
“It’s wide-ranging inflammatory remarks about a lot of people, about women, about gay people,” Lemon reported. “He talks about the president of the United States. He speaks out against affirmative action, women in the military and on and on.”
In the video, Page discusses the “four sodomites on the Supreme Court,” talks about our “undocumented president” from Kenya, and much more.
“What do you say after that?” Lemon said after CNN aired clips of Page’s speech. “There’s much more of that. at least an hour’s worth of him ranting about different people, different situations.”
During Lemon’s live report on Monday from Ferguson, Page confronted the host, physically pushing him away from CNN’s camera. “Now you see why people are so upset here,” Lemon said at the time.
Watch video below, via CNN:
And you can watch Page’s full hour-long speech below:
UPDATE – 08/22/14 – 7:40 p.m.: The Police Chief has apologized. You can watch his remarks HERE.
Fox News host Keith Ablow defended his attack on First Lady Michelle Obama’s weight, telling Politico that it was “hypocrisy” for her to act as a “role model” on diet when she “has not been consistently a picture of fitness.”
Ablow came under fire for his comments on the August 12 edition of Fox’s Outnumbered, where he argued that Michelle Obama is not a credible voice on school nutrition because “she needs to drop a few” pounds. Even one of Ablow’s colleagues at Fox, Janice Dean, criticized his remarks, tweeting “please keep your comments about women ‘dropping a few’ to yourself.”
Nevertheless the next day Ablow toldPolitico that he was “not taking food advice from an American who dislikes America” and ”has not been consistently a picture of fitness”:
"I do dislike hypocrisy and I really do believe that people speaking about diet should be role models themselves, and I’m not sure if the First Lady is that role model," Ablow said in an interview.
"I’m not taking food advice from an American who dislikes America, who in many photographs during her tenure as First Lady is obviously not fit, and who has a record of saying things that show that she’s two-faced," Ablow said Wednesday. “This should be obvious, I don’t know why it isn’t.”
Ablow is standing by his commentsand saying that people “should be less sensitive about talking about [weight].”
One reason for his criticism, he says, relates to consistency.
"It happens to be the case that the First Lady during her tenure has not been consistently a picture of fitness," he said. "That’s all, it is just a fact."
When many people think of the men’s rights movement, the image that springs to mind is lonely men lurking in chat rooms and railing against women. But in recent years, a group of brash, witty female activists has taken up the cause. And some of them are emerging as the movement’s leading voices. It may seem counterintuitive that women would be helping drive the conversation about a movement that’s fighting anti-male discrimination and campaigning fiercely against feminism. But according to Dean Esmay of the men’s rights organization A Voice for Men, the fact that they shatter expectations is what makes them such good emissaries. “People want to believe we’re a bunch of sad, pathetic losers who can’t get laid and are just bitter because our wives left us,” Esmay explains. “The very presence of women in the movement creates cognitive dissonance.” Often, he adds, this dissonance makes people more receptive than they otherwise would be.
Who are these women men’s rights activists? And why do the embrace a movement that some see as blatantly misogynistic? Below is a rundown of key players. A few of them, including Janet Bloomfield, who was the focus of a recent in Vice News article, have been in the spotlight recently. Others are virtually unknown to the mainstream, but within the movement they’re seen as luminaries.
Karen Straughan: The YouTube Sensation
Karen Straughan Illustrated by Alison Tieman, courtesy of A Voice for Men
In late 2011, Straughan, a foul-mouthed fortysomething Canadian waitress and mother of three, sat down at her kitchen table and began ruminating about the sexes: “I keep hearing from the feminist camp that femaleness has always been undervalued. But I’ve always contended that it’s the exact opposite…If it comes down to a man and a woman in a burning building and you can only save one, the expectation is that you choose the woman every single time. So honestly, whose humanity are we placing above whose?” She then posted a video of her talk on YouTube, where it has racked up more than a million views.
Straughan, who has a brazen air and a taste for ribbed tank tops (a.k.a. “wife beaters”), has since become one of the most visible faces of the men’s rights movement. She has nearly 70,000 YouTube subscribers. Often, she says, she gets emails from men around the world who stumble on her videos and spend hours on end binge watching. The firebrand vlogger, who wrote erotic fiction as a sideline before getting involved in men’s rights, also helped launch the Honey Badger Brigade, a ragtag group of female men’s rights activists. This summer, when protesters threatened to shut down A Voice for Men’s first conference in Detroit, the Honey Badgers collected more than $8,000 in donations and flew to Motor City to act as “human shields.” The Honey Badgers also produce an online radio show, covering men’s issues and geek culture. Recent topics include false rape allegations, the treatment of military veterans, and “the shit feminists say.”
Erin Pizzey Illustrated by Alison Tieman, courtesy of A Voice for Men
Pizzey, a 75-year-old British author and anti-domestic-violence advocate, traces her interest in men’s rights back to her own childhood and years of brutal beatings from her mother. She later went on to found England’s first shelter for battered women. Pizzey maintains that most of the victims who sought refuge there were themselves violent. She came to believe that women deserved a share of the blame for domestic abuse and that the fledgling feminist movement unfairly demonized men by casting them as the sole aggressors. “This huge edifice of radical feminism made this about ‘patriarchy’ rather that human relationships,” she says. “In the process, it pulled the whole discussion away from the needs of people in violent families.”
Pizzey eventually began offering shelter to battered men while crusading against feminism, which she dubs “the Evil Empire.” After a bomb scare and a string of death threats, in 1979 she fled to the United States, where she helped set up domestic-violence shelters in 21 cities. She also worked with lawyers to defend men claiming they had been falsely accused of rape and domestic violence—an endeavor she funded by writing adventure novels. Pizzey later embraced nonfiction, and wrote frequently for British newspapers, such as the Daily Mail (sample headline: “Why I loathe feminism…and believe it will ultimately destroy the family”). She also traveled the world speaking to battered men’s groups. Today, she is editor-at-large of A Voice for Men, and a hero of the men’s rights movement. She feels very much in her element. “For many years, I was this lone voice, and I was hated for it,” she explains. “Now, you just don’t feel quite so lonely.”
Janet Bloomfield: The Social-Media Provocateur
Bloomfield has landed in the spotlight recently as a driving force behind Women Against Feminism, a social-media campaign featuring photos of women with scraps of paper listing their reasons for rejecting feminism. Since the week before last, when the campaign went viral, Bloomfield—a thirtysomething homemaker and doctoral candidate—has been making the network rounds, with interviews on ABC, the BBC, and NBC’s Today Show.
Bloomfield, who lives somewhere in Canada (she keeps her location and the names of her three children secret to shield them from harassment), is an unlikely champion for men’s rights. In college, she studied film theory, and learned to view the world through a feminist lens. But after giving birth to her first child, she decided to stay home and was shocked by the reaction from other women. “It wasn’t so much the disdain for my choice or the idea that I wasted my education,” she says. “It was that they treated me like I was crazy to rely on my husband—as if somewhere lurking inside of him was a sex-starved monster who would toss me out like trash.” Bloomberg began trading letters with her friend, Pixie, who was camped out in the hospital after giving birth to a critically ill baby boy and believed the intensive care staff was treating the sick baby girls more tenderly. Their letters soon morphed into grumbling about the lot of boys and the treatment of stay-at-home moms.
After immersing themselves in the men’s rights blogosphere, in 2012, the pair launched the in-your-face blog, JudgyBitch.com. Bloomfield’s anti-feminist screeds, piled with obscenities and inflammatory theories about rape and domestic violence, made a splash in the men’s rights circles, and the following year she began writing for A Voice for Men, where she now manages social media. She’s also broken into mainstream news and opinion sites, including Thought Catalog, which recently published Bloomfield’s essay, “I’m an Anti-Sexist, Liberal Doctoral Student, Wife, and Mother Who Supports the Men’s Rights Movement Over Feminism, Here’s Why.”
For much of her career, Venker followed the path blazed by her aunt, the anti-feminist crusader Phyllis Schlafly. In 2011, the pair even cowrote a book, The Flipside of Feminism, arguing that freedom and power have only made women unhappy. But their paths began to diverge the following year when Venker, who in addition to authoring books is a frequent Fox News commentator, published a column on FoxNews.com called “The War on Men.” It made the case that men were opting out of marriage because career-minded women had lost their womanly qualities and become angry and competitive. And it urged women to “surrender to their nature—their femininity” if they wanted to find husbands. Predictably, the piece went viral, stirring up a whirlwind of criticism. But Venker was also flooded with grateful emails from male readers. “Men were writing to say, ‘Thank you, thank you!’” she recalls. “‘Finally, somebody gets it!’” Inspired by the outpouring, Venker launch the men’s rights blog Women for Men and shifted the focus of her own commentary to men’s issues. In her recent FoxNews.com columns, Venker argues that white men face oppression “unlike anything American women have faced,” andclaims that men’s “success in fields such as medicine, engineering and technology have done more to liberate women from the constraints of their former lives than a busload of feminists could ever hope to do.” She also maintains that surrendering to male power is an “aphrodisiac” that “grants women access to the deepest parts of a man’s soul.”
In 1969, Cools took part in a supposedly peaceful sit-in to protest racism at a Montreal university. It ended up exploding into one of the most violent student riots in Canada’s history, with protesters setting fires and tossing computers out of windows. Cools, who was sentenced to four months in prison but later pardoned, went on to found one of Canada’s first shelters for battered women. Then, in 1984, the Barbados native became the first black person ever to serve in the Canadian Senate.
According to the Globe and Mail, “Women’s groups applauded the addition of a minority firebrand to the chamber of dozy old white men.” Her belief that domestic violence was a two-way street later put her at odds with the feminist movement, but many Canadians embraced her ideas. In 1995, when Cools told an International Women’s Day gathering that “behind every abusing husband is an abusing mother,” she was inundated with grateful handwritten letters. Many of them were from people who had been abused by their mothers or men claiming they had been falsely accused of domestic violence during divorce proceedings.
Galvanized, Cools—a Liberal Party member turned independent—helped launch a parliamentary committee that traveled the country holding emotional standing-room-only hearings on child custody laws. Critics branded it the “politically incorrect committee” because it heard testimony from hundreds of men, grandparents, and second wives, who spoke tearfully about being cut off from children by a legal system that they alleged favored mothers. For Cools, who lost two siblings to childhood illness, their stories hit close to home. “I understood very early in life what it meant for parents to lose a child,” she told the National Post in the late 1990s. “I’ve always known a parent cannot recover from that. And this is why I will not tolerate the thought of any parent taking a child away from another parent.”
The committee’s final report recommended rewriting custody laws to ensure both parents access to the children and making false domestic violence allegations a crime. Despite overwhelming public support, a decade and a half later, Cools is still fighting to bring these proposals to fruition. Her dogged struggle has won her adoration in men’s rights circles—so much so that A Voice for Men invited the regal, silver-haired septuagenarian to deliver the first speech at its inaugural conference. “The cause that before you and the things that you fight for are valid and just,” Cools told the gathering. “I am on the home stretch of my public career, so you and younger soldiers must come. I encourage soldiers to arm themselves, and to put on battle gear, because it is a fight.”
RedState.com’s Erick Erickson is confused that some women take offense to being described as barbies.
The conservative nicknamed Democratic Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis “Abortion Barbie" due to her filibuster of Texas legislation restricting abortions.
"The phrase was intentional to discredit Wendy Davis, but I never thought about ‘Barbie’ being something that demeaned women," he told the Houston Chronicle during his RedState Gathering in Fort Worth, Tex. “I have an 8-year-old daughter who loves Barbie.”
Though he now realizes that some women find this offensive, Erickson says he’ll continue to use the description.
"It’s a perfect way to parody who she is," he said.
He defended the nickname by explaining that the media has “described her Barbie good looks” and arguing that Democrats were fine with labeling Sarah Palin a “Caribou Barbie.”
Erickson said he did regret a couple of comments he has made. He admitted that he should not have called Michelle Obama a “marxist happy wife" or called former Supreme Court Justice David Souter a "child molester."
A growing number of evangelical Christians are standing up against what they say are the homophobic, sexist, and domineering ideas and practices of pastor Mark Driscoll, the influential head of the Mars Hill megachurch in Seattle, Washington.
Several dozen protestors stood outside the Bellevue, Washington campus of Mars Hill Church this past Sunday, holding signs adorned with slogans such as “Stop objectifying women” and “How many atheists will Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill make?” The demonstrators, many of whom claimed to be former members of Mars Hill, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that they were decrying the church’s ministerial methods, policies, and problematic theology — particularly Driscoll’s regressive teachings about women.
“I am an ex-member [of Mars Hill Church] who left a couple years ago, because my views on life and women evolved,” one protestor told the Post-Intelligencer. “I come from a Jewish family, a family with strong women. It appeared, at the church, most development attention was given to me. Women were seen as accessories in marriage.”
Rob Smith, a former program director at Mars Hill, echoed this frustration with the church’s stance on women and called for a new theology, saying, “In the church’s view, women are just objectives. They are there to please their husbands. In my theology, Jesus freed women. Jesus was surrounded by strong women.”
Sign-waving protests are a new phenomenon for Mars Hill Church, but Mark Driscoll, 43, is no stranger to controversy — or accusations of bigotry and chauvinism. He has made something of a career for being, as one protestor called it, “the Rush Limbaugh of Christianity,” building up his 17,000-member church and Acts 29 network of worship communities by delivering raunchy, sometimes obscenity-laden sermons about subjects such as “Biblical Oral Sex” and penning bestselling books with eye-catching titles such as Porn-Again Christian: A Frank Discussion on Pornography & Masturbation. He also stoked controversy in 2011 when he joked about “effeminate” pastors on Facebook, and told RELEVANT magazine in 2007 that he believed in a Jesus who has a “commitment to make someone bleed,” and that he abhorred those who revere a “hippie, diaper, halo Christ” because “I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.”
Many Christians, such as influential evangelical blogger and author of A Year of Biblical Womanhood Rachel Held Evans, have criticized Driscoll since he founded Mars Hill in 1996. Most take issue with his image of a hyper-masculine Jesus, his flippant comments deriding gay people, and his embrace of complementarianism, or the belief that men and women are designated different roles by God — namely, men are supposedly tasked with most traditional forms of leadership, whereas women are primarily responsible for rearing children.
“[Driscoll] has consistently used offensive and hateful language to speak about gay and lesbian people, spoken crassly and condescendingly about women, and exhibited scary, bullying behavior toward men who fail to conform to his rigid vision of masculinity,” Evans wrote in an email to ThinkProgress. “That he consistently models this type of bullying behavior to the young men in his church is deeply troubling.”
But while Driscoll has long frustrated many of his fellow Christians — particularly progressive Christians — recent years have seen increasingly grave criticisms lobbed against him and his church, with many coming from within his own community. In 2012, people claiming to be members of Mars Hill began reporting that Driscoll had a policy of “shunning” congregants he and his ministers saw as “unruly,” effectively bullying them into silence and submission. This added fuel to existing accusations of unsettling practices and behavior among Driscoll’s ministerial staff and even Driscoll himself, who was accused by a former Mars Hill leadership pastor of being “domineering,” “quick tempered,” “verbally violent,” and “arrogant.” Then, late last year, Driscoll was charged with plagiarizing sections of his new book, and upset many in his pews for reportedly working with a company to artificially inflate his book sales in order to make the New York Times bestseller list.
The charges against Driscoll appeared to crescendo last month, when a blogger unearthed what appeared to be more than 100 pages of sexist and homophobic comments that Driscoll allegedly posted on an online forum in 2000 under the pseudonym “William Wallace II.” The comments included a number of unsettlingly offensive rants, including postings that referred to the United States as a “pussified nation,” called gay people “damn freaks,” and responded to a female poster by saying “I also do not answer to women … If you are the pastor, quit your job and repent.” This slow-rising tide of allegations seemed to rock the church last month, when two prominentmembers of the church’s “Board of Advisors and Accountability” — which sets salaries for church elders and supervises various church ministries — suddenly resigned.
Driscoll attempted to address the situation in a 30-minute video posted on the Mars Hill website on July 21, but said that “a lot of [the accusers] that we are dealing with remain anonymous” and that he is “not entirely sure who they are.” The video sparked the creation of a Facebook group entitled “Dear Pastor Mark & Mars Hill: We Are Not Anonymous.” The group, which now claims almost 600 members, functions as forum where people who have been negatively impacted by Driscoll and Mars Hill can tell their stories, organize events like Sunday’s protest, and claim “I am not anonymous.”
“During a year of job loss for my family, I did not intend to have my tithe money spent to get your book on the NYT list,” wrote one group member. “Although those [embarrassing] moments have been scrubbed off the internet, I remember them. Please stop.”
The group joins with various other blogs such as welovemarshill.com and Mars Hill Refuge, websites constructed so that people claiming to be former members of Mars Hill can post accounts of how they have been hurt by Driscoll and his ministers. But the protests are about more than catharsis: According to the Post-Intelligencer, the growing gaggle of disaffected parishioners are preparing to release “50 specific new charges” against Driscoll, focusing on “allegations of outbursts and abusive conduct, and — particularly — the shunning of former church members.”
Driscoll has publicly apologized for the plagiarism accusations, and actually preemptively apologized for the internet comments in a 2006 book, where he first mentioned his former pseudonym. Some have called for the evangelical community to accept his apology, but Evans, who has been in contact with many former members of Mars Hill, was less sure.
“…I think we have to be really careful about telling victims of abuse when and how they must forgive, and we have to be especially careful that we not enable abusers to continue to abuse,” Evans said. “An apology without change is not true repentance, and we’ve heard a lot of apologies from Mark Driscoll without any discernible change.”
“I believe in forgiveness. But I do not believe in telling victims of abuse that forgiveness requires they endure it.”
Two activist groups on Friday will deliver petitions with more than 100,000 signatures calling on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to better “address the NFL’s domestic violence problem” in the wake of criticism over the league’s punishment of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.
CREDO Action and UltraViolet, two advocacy networks, organized petition drives last Friday after Goodell handed Rice a two-game suspension for his arrest on domestic violence charges. Rice allegedly punched his then-fiancee at an Atlantic City casino in February and was caught on security video dragging her out of a hotel elevator while she was unconscious. Echoing widespread sentiment of the suspension, the two groups called the punishment “woefully inadequate” and “meager” in a release that said they had collectively received more 116,863 signatures on their separate petitions.
“The NFL has a serious domestic abuse problem that it has failed miserably at addressing,” Shaunna Thomas, the co-founder of UltraViolet, said in the release. “Their reaction to the Ray Rice case is nothing short of shameful. Yet, is also sadly predictable as the league has made very clear that it is fine looking the other way when it comes to cases of domestic abuse. It is far past time the NFL clean up it’s act and learn to respect women.”
CREDO’s petition called on the NFL to provide better standards for domestic violence and sexual assault punishments, noting that the league regularly issues harsher punishments for recreational and performance-enhancing drug use (under its collectively-bargained drug policy) than it does for violence against women. UltraViolet’s petition tells the NFL to change its policies “so that violent offenders like Ray Rice receive suspensions that reflect the severity of the crime.”
“We simply cannot tolerate conduct that endangers others. This is particularly true with respect to domestic violence and other forms of violence against women,” Goodell wrote in a letter to Rice informing him of the suspension. The commissioner, who is attending Hall of Fame ceremonies in Canton, Ohio this weekend, has not spoken publicly about the Rice suspension despite the widespread criticism of it.
Adolpho Birch, the league’s executive vice president for labor policy and government affairs, struggled to justify the short suspension in an interview with ESPN last week, saying: “We believe the discipline we issued is appropriate. It is multiple games and hundreds of thousands of dollars. I think it’s fair to say that doesn’t reflect that you condone the behavior.”
Rice held a press conference at the Ravens training camp facility Thursday to publicly apologize. “I take full responsibility for my actions,” Rice said. “What happened that night is something that I’m going to pay for the rest of my life.”
But domestic violence against men, carried out by women, is no small problem. In 2013, the CDC reported that 29% of heterosexual men in the U.S. reported being victims of domestic violence at the hands of their female partners. And that doesn’t account for the number of assaults that go unreported.
If anyone should be “embarrassed,” it should be Fox, given Tucker Carlson’s repulsive behavior. Rhetoric like his is a perfect example of why male victims may be less inclined to speak out about their abuse.
Carlson’s minimizing abuse of men in no isolated incident. In early June, the same host said that teenage boys think that sexual harassment from a female teacher is the "greatest thing that ever happened." A month later he attacked a kid for reporting statutory rape as "whiny."
You might remember swaggering, misogynist evangedouche/human Affliction tee Mark Driscoll from being terrible on Glenn Beck, being terrible on Fox and Friends, or being terrible any time he does anything ever, which is all the time. But he’s really ramped up the action in the last month or so! It seems like dude can’t open his praise-hole lately without face-planting in a big pile of PR doodoo.
You might remember swaggering, misogynist evangedouche/human Affliction tee Mark Driscoll from being terrible on Glenn Beck, being terrible on Fox and Friends, or being terrible any time he does anything ever, which is all the time. But he’s really ramped up the action in the last month or so! It seems like dude can’t open his praise-hole lately without face-planting in a big pile of PR doodoo.
"It’s like Romney at the party talking about the '47 percent,'" says protest organizer Jim Henderson (referring to the video capturing the presidential candidate dismissing 47 percent of Americans as idiotic freeloaders who will vote for Obama). "It’s just one of those moments when he served it up for us to hit it out of the park."
And the VERY latest: Former Mars Hill members have dug up some old posts—written pseudonymously by Driscoll—in which he declares that “we live in a pussified nation” and, by contrast, ”hell looks like a good placebecause at least a man is in charge, has a bit of order and let’s men spit and scratch as needed.”
HELL LOOKS LIKE A GOOD PLACE BECAUSE AT LEAST A MAN IS IN CHARGE.
Hahahahahahaha, crash and burn, dong-face. Thanks for confirming what we already knew about you: Faith is just a cover. Oppressing women and gay people is your real religion. You and your hate and your profit margins are your real God.
Here’s just a taste of what Mark Driscoll, “hipster pastor,” says when he thinks nobody’s looking:
We live in a completely pussified nation.
We could get every man, real man as opposed to pussified James Dobson knock-off crying Promise Keeping homoerotic worship loving mama’s boy sensitive emasculated neutered exact male replica evangellyfish, and have a conference in a phone booth. It all began with Adam, the first of the pussified nation, who kept his mouth shut and watched everything fall headlong down the slippery slide of hell/feminism when he shut his mouth and listened tohis wife who thought Satan was a good theologian when he should have lead her and exercised his delegated authority as king of the planet. As a result, he was cursed for listening to his wife and every man since has been his pussified sit quietly by and watch a nation of men be raised by bitter penis envying burned feministed single mothers who make sure that Johnny grows up to be a very nice woman who sits down to pee.
So, Johnny hits youth group one day to hear from his pussified youth pastor that he should perfect his virginity and dating skills. So Johnny tries to be a loving and patient man who looks for a nice woman like mom who will whip him into shape and beat him into submission so that he can one day join a men’s accountability group and learn how to keep his urges under control, which just causes him to be earn a B.A. in masturbation, M.A. in porno, andPhD in knuckleheadology as Johnny is now so terrified of women and his own penis that he sits in his room alone each night on the internet hoping to get some (with the occasional "falling into sin" with a woman as they inevitabaly cross "boundaries" of intimacy) because he’s so afraid of women and has no idea how to take one, or love one, or serve one, or take one to bed and make the Song of Songs sing again.
One day Johnny finally gives in to the pressure of his pre-humpers singles ministry and gets stuck with some gal left on the shelf long after her expiration date that is just like dear old mom who wants him to shut up like Adam, take his beating, and join a church men’s group that is really a woman’s group in disguise complete with cookies and crying andantidepressants to cope with the insanity.
Poor Johnny is by now so completely whacked that he’s afraid of having kids and hold off his taking on any more responsibility as long as he can because Johnny is a boy trapped in a man’s body walking around in a world of other boys all trying to keep their pee pee behind their zipper and do just like their momma told them and be good women.
And so the culture and families and churches sprint to hell because the men aren’t doing their job and the feminists continue their rant that it’s all our fault and we should just let them be pastors and heads of homes and run the show. And the more we do, the more hell looks like a good place because at least a man is in charge, has a bit of order and let’s men spit and scratch as needed. And all their whining and fighting is nothing more than furtherevidence that we are still kings and unless we do our job everyone and everything is getting screwed except Johnny (metaphorically speaking of course).
I know many of the women will disagree, and they like Eve should not speak on this matter. And, many men will also disagree, which is further proof of the pussified epidemic having now become air born and universal.
Reminder: Over ten thousand people attend services at this man’s churches. Hundreds of thousands of people watch his online sermon. Almost half a million people follow him on Twitter. If you live in the Seattle area, it’s pretty much a given that someone you know has left your social circle for Mars Hill’s promise of “cool Christianity”—which encourages members to distance themselves from non-believing friends and family.
This is what they left you for. This is Mars Hill.
Godly men imitate Christ—who praised the gentle and the peacemakers, who stood up for the exploited and abused, who showed compassion for the downtrodden, who valued women, and who loved his enemies to the point of death.
If this Facebook status were Pastor Mark Driscoll’s first offense, it might not warrant a strong response.But Mark has developed a pattern of immaturity and unkindness that has remained largely unchecked by his church. In evangelical circles, he’s like the kid from high school who makes crude jokes at every opportunity, uses the words “gay” and “queer” to describe the things he most detests, encourages his friends to subject the unpopular kids to ridicule, and belittles the guys who aren’t “macho” or “manly” enough to be in his club.
As blogger Tyler Clark put it, “When you put out a call on Facebook for people verbally attack ‘effeminate anatomically male’ men, I find myself back in high school—shoved against a locker, with the bullies calling me a faggot.”
What we have on our hands is a bully.
And this bully is teaching the young men at his church and under his influence that bullying is an acceptable expression of “biblical manhood.”
This has to stop. As followers of Jesus, we are obligated to stick up for the least of these, especially when they are being publicly bullied in the name of Christ.
We are also obligated to use the proper channels to do so. Many have asked that Mark apologize, but he has refused. Many have written blog posts expressing their concern, but he remains defiant. It’s time to take some more practical steps:
Today I emailed Mars Hill Church to request that the elders take whatever measures necessary to stop Mark’s bullying once and for all. No more empty apologies. This behavior must change.
If you wish to do the same, here’s how:
Write: Mars Hill Church 1411 NW 50th Seattle, WA 98107
If you know Mark personally or attend his church, approach him as a friend and request that he get the counseling he needs to deal with this destructive pattern. Bullying is as harmful to the bully as it is to the victim.
And to turn this bad situation into something good, consider joining the “I’m Sorry Campaign" to apologize for the ways that we as Christians have harmed the LGBT community.
Keith Olbermann offered up a searing monologue that highlights how women are treated generally by misogynistic fools and then linked it to the disgrace that is the NFL. Roger Goodell’s arrogant two game suspension of Ray Rice for “allegedly” punching the lights out of his girlfriend has set the intertubes a blaze. Some people became heroes like Michelle Beadle, and others became villains like Stephen A. Smith, but in the end it’s the NFL that comes out looking like the real knuckledraggers of this story.
Keith Olbermann’s segment on Ray Rice was strong, indignant TV, resonant with everyone who believes a two-game suspension for punching out a woman is a clear signal that the NFL doesn’t consider domestic violence meaningful violence.
"The message to the women who the league claims constitute 50 percent of its fan base: The NFL wants your money. It will do nothing else for you. It will tolerate those who abuse you verbally and those who abuse you physically."
Rice was suspended for two games after being arrested for allegedly knocking out his then-girlfriend, which led Smith to warn women not to “provoke wrong actions”:
We keep talking about the guys. We know you have no business putting your hands on a woman. I don’t know how many times I got to reiterate that.
But as a man who was raised by women, see I know what I’m going to do if somebody touches a female member of my family. I know what I’m going to do, I know what my boys are going to do. I know what, I’m going to have to remind myself that I work for the Worldwide Leader, I’m going to have to get law enforcement officials involved because of what I’m going to be tempted to do.
But what I’ve tried to employ the female members of my family, some of who you all met and talked to and what have you, is that again, and this what, I’ve done this all my life, let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions, because if I come, or somebody else come, whether it’s law enforcement officials, your brother or the fellas that you know, if we come after somebody has put their hands on you, it doesn’t negate the fact that they already put their hands on you.
Smith’s colleague and ESPN reporter Michelle Beadle did not take kindly to the rant and responded on Twitter.
UPDATE: Smith issued another statement on Twitter saying he “sincerely” apologizes for poorly articulating his thoughts.
My series of tweets a short time ago is not an adequate way to capture my thoughts so I am using a single tweet via Twitlonger to more appropriately and effectively clarify my remarks from earlier today about the Ray Rice situation. I completely recognize the sensitivity of the issues and the confusion and disgust that my comments caused. First off, as I said earlier and I want to reiterate strongly, it is never OK to put your hands on a women. Ever. I understand why that important point was lost in my other comments, which did not come out as I intended. I want to state very clearly. I do NOT believe a woman provokes the horrible domestic abuses that are sadly such a major problem in our society. I wasn’t trying to say that or even imply it when I was discussing my own personal upbringing and the important role the women in my family have played in my life. I understand why my comments could be taken another way. I should have done a better job articulating my thoughts and I sincerely apologize.