Some people have a hard time understanding community outside their own. They have circles of friends, their families, their churches, and they can’t seem to see outside them. But there are larger communities, and they can manifest in ways that shock people who aren’t expecting them. This is what happened with the Women’s March in January: a huge community of women and those who support them, standing together for their own reasons, but in solidarity and resistance against forces that would oppress them.
That women could form such a community remains problematic for those stuck in their own small ones, and the world of evangelical Christianity was one community that was immediately vexed by it. Aside from a small segment known as the Christian Left, much of the evangelical world still believes that women are subject to the will of men. Pseudo-Christians think that women’s opinions, desires, and dreams come third, behind God and then their husband (or father, brothers, or other male “authority” figures). In order to mentally process the concept of women rising up to voice their own agency, evangelists must justify women’s actions within the ideological confines of their own faith.
This was Lori Bakker’s intention yesterday when she claimed that the women who participated in the March must have been abused as children:
Most women like that have been molested, they’ve been abused, they’ve been whatever in their life. You just have to go back to, typically, early childhood and things like that. And they just need the healing of the lord.
Her statement came, of course, only after her husband, Jim Bakker’s:
I looked them all over. They’re hurting. They’re broken. They’re beaten down. They’re not even healthy. So many of them weren’t healthy looking, even. They looked like they’ve been through a war, some of them.
You perhaps remember Jim Bakker from his sex scandal and subsequent discovery of financial shenanigans back in the late 80s. Along with his then-wife Tammy Faye, Jim successfully recovered the life savings of many a little old lady, securing them for himself and his television ministry. Such a godly man would indeed have some special insight into what makes a strong woman strong, being as his message depends on breaking that spirit.
I had supposed I was going to write this piece and make fun of the asinine statements and assumptions of evangelicals who just can’t grasp women thinking for themselves. But I grew up with televangelists, in a Pentecostal church. Pat Robertson, Jimmy Swaggart, Jerry Falwell, you name it. I must have watched The 700 Club, well… religiously, for roughly my entire childhood. That’s what my mom watched, and we were not the sort of family with more than one television. Whether I wanted it or not, I came to know the lineup of the Christian Broadcasting Network as well as my school schedule. And knowing them as I do, I know that once you get past the scummy, money-hungry power center in front of the camera, the folks that believe this stuff are actually more deserving of pity than scorn.
My sympathies go out to those affected by Lori Bakker’s insensitive and thoughtless comments:
Dear Lori Bakker, the only thing that abused me a growing up was the church's insane ideas.
— Jessi Bennett (@jekahben) February 8, 2017
— L. M. Blaine (@Laurab4redux) February 8, 2017
You're an idiot Lori Bakker. We laugh at you. You're doing sketch comedy right? https://t.co/kcgKLdmS1U
— Tricia resist Nixx (@P_Nixx) February 8, 2017
I hope that one day Lori Bakker will understand the damage she does to the world every time she undermines women. Maybe her small community is complete with men at the head of the table, but it’s not the way the rest of the world works.
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