Friday, July 22, 2011

Wasilla Baptist Pastor Ron Hamman's "Spousal Rape" Statement Goes Locally Viral; Anchorage Broadcast Media Outlets Pick Up The Story

The July 18th, 2011 Frontiersman column by Wasilla Independent Baptist Church Pastor Ron Hamman, which has drawn accusations that he is promoting "spousal rape", has gone locally viral. Both KTUU Channel 2 and KTVA Channel 11 have picked up the story. Because Pastor Hamman cited a scriptural verse which states that a wife’s body belongs to her husband and his to hers, people are claiming he doesn't believe rape can take place within a marriage. Once again, here's the part of Hamman's column which seems to have gotten so many people's panties in a twist:

The truth is that God has given to us physical needs we commonly refer to as a "sex drive," and he has designed for these to be met within the bounds of marriage. The trouble comes when one spouse or the other decides to exact retaliation against the other because of some offense and withholds him or herself from his or her mate. This is wickedness, and such is a violation of the spirit of marriage on the part of the withholder. Thus, if these allegations of spousal rape are due to the wife withholding herself in attempt to control or punish her husband, she is out of line with God. And it doesn’t matter how many laws are passed, it will just be another reason why God will not bless America.

Once again, there is nothing in this passage where Pastor Hamman justifies marital rape. He merely points out that some wives will withhold sex from their husbands to punish them, and that he considers this a violation of the spirit of marriage and contrary to God's word on the subject (the applicable scriptures he used, which also condemn similar behavior by husbands, are published in my previous post on this issue). Perhaps Pastor Hamman should have anticipated that many people would overreact, and added a short statement also indicating God's condemnation of rape.

KTUU Channel 2 news video:


KTVA Channel 11 news video:

Public Reaction: Official reaction has now been recorded from representatives of other local churches and from some other sources.

-- Pastor Julia Seymour of the Lutheran Church of Hope (ELCA): Pastor Seymour said “I felt very angry and very ashamed. You’re not biblically required to return to someone who is hurting you, putting yourself in that situation again and again, that's not what's required.” She added that some pastors do interpret the bible literally, but she believes what were published are Bible verses taken out of context and misused. Pastor Seymour published a more detailed response on her Faith, Grace, and Hope blog.

-- Dan Jarrell, a pastor at ChangePoint: Pastor Jarrell emailed the following statement to KTVA: “Christian husbands serve their wives in love and are never forceful with them. Christian wives trust their husbands to treat them with honor and respect. When these biblical principles are ignored or neglected the results are always horrible and sometimes criminal."

-- Scott Somers, a member of New Grace Christian Church: Somers told Alaska Dispatch that Pastor Hamman's opinion represented fringe views and that it gives Evangelicals a bad name. He believes Hamman has twisted scripture to his own ends.

-- Standing Together Against Rape (STAR): Lead advocate Erin Patterson explained, "We're satisfied that the Special Victims Unit looks at these cases open-mindedly, just like other cases that come in. We know that the statutes don't discriminate based on marital status. There's nothing in our statutes that say if you're married, then it's ok." She also noted that Hamman's column has made STAR's job tougher, undermining their efforts to promote accurate information on the rights of victims to report sexual violence regardless of their marital status.

-- Mat-Su Frontiersman: Editor Heather Resz e-mailed KTVA saying that the reaction to the column has led to planning for a public summit on sex crimes. However, she declined to comment on the decision to publish Hamman's July 18th column. Since this post, the Frontiersman published an editorial entitled "Rape is illegal and immoral", in which they apologize for the fact that Pastor Hamman's July 18th column offended so many.

-- Pastor Hamman: Would not respond to media enquiries. However, one commenter to the Alaska Dispatch story noted that in response to his own e-mail, Hamman fired back, saying "the lost will hate God's word".

Interesting that the media failed to solicit reaction from some of our more patriarchally-organized churches, such as the Roman Catholic archdiocese, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Anchorage Baptist Temple. The LDS Church clearly states that "The Lord condemns abusive behavior in any form — physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional. Abusive behavior may lead to Church discipline". They further state "Victims of abuse should be assured that they are not to blame for the harmful behavior of others. They do not need to feel guilt. If they have been a victim of rape or other sexual abuse, whether they have been abused by an acquaintance, a stranger, or even a family member, victims of sexual abuse are not guilty of sexual sin".

Obviously Pastor Hamman does not need to apologize for preaching God's word to the best of his interpretation. But in his next column, he should elaborate further and firmly state that the Bible does not justify rape in any form, using appropriate verses to support this contention. It would also be useful for him to explain that the verse about a wife’s body belonging to her husband and his to hers really means that a spouse should treat the other spouse's body as sacredly as his own.


  1. What started all of this was not Ron Hamman's article of July 18, 2011 but his article of July 11, 2011 in the one and the same Frontiersman's Faith page. Mid article you can see that he states rape does not happen in Christianity, in Churches. He took flack from Christian women for that article and instead of admitting rape does happen in some cases, he went on the war path doing the offending article that blasts Christian wives who complain as if they have no rights, as if no respectible Pastor would listen to them, as if they can not testify as a witness to the crime itself. However, no one knew why he'd done the July 18, 2011 article but his staff who heard him asked to repent for ignoring spousal rape in Christianity with the July 11, 2011 article as if he's so righteous. He's proved he isn't. The man who believes he has the right to just rape a single women alone in a crowd, him and all his buddies (whether Muslim, as Ron claimed, or not) and the man who rapes his own wives because she has no right to complain, are both the same kind of rapists. No matter what their faith or lack thereof. It's insane for anyone to expect a raped person to ever want to have sex again with that rapist. Wives who withhold under such circumstances are not punishing their husbands. They are the same as every other rape victim on the face of the earth. And that is what was pointed out to Pastor Hamman after 7/11/2011 and what he was addressing with the 7/18/2011 article. Ask his Receptionist.

  2. You guys do not have the full picture here of Pastor Hamman and what this was all about. What started this was his article in the Fronteirsman's Faith page on 7/11/2011. When that article put Christian women in an uproar and he was asked to repent for publishing that rape does not happen in Christianity, in churches, Pastor Hamman did not back down but went on the war path with the now so offensive 7/18/2011 article.

    And sadly Rev Seymour is incorrect. The Bible says a spouses may not separate except for times of prayer and fasting. "But if she does" she must remain celibate until they reconcile. It's not the unpardonable sin for the wife to leave. And, yes, she may leave to go get health care and recover. So, it's not all cut and dried one way or the other. What everyone is ignoring is evidence tesifies. Bruises, cuts, torn tissue (need I get more specific?) all tesify. And always have. Biblically, and not. That's why this issue is so important. What started all this is Alaska has NO reporting requirements like the rest of the USA when it comes to non minors, non over 60 years of age, victims unless we're talking about that obviously so impaired adult that everyone can see is severely disabled. What about all once were prefectly healthy but now damaged wives in Alaska? No one is required to help them! Ask that Churches Secretary what's really goiing on, she knows.

  3. Opps, Pastor's "need" is showing. Maybe, he should zip that up. If sex is an actual need and not a desire (though, agreed, it is about the most insistant desire humans have) then how come all the unmarried teens in his Church only want sex, but don't actually need it? What about all the widows and widowers down through out time who don't "need" sex anymore because their life partner died on them? If it's a need how come we don't die while waiting on the Lord to bring us new spouses? What about all the people like Saint Paul, John the Baptist, and not a few others in his own bible who seem to have managed quite nicely serving the his same God without anyone to service their "need" for sex? Actually, in the bible is states more than a few times of the year when husbands may not have conjugal relations with their own wives. But that would be Old Testament wouldn't it? And Ron believes Jesus dying on that cross make the OT laws null and void. Actually, according to his gospel, we are free from the law of Moses completely. They never seen to adress whether that means just the law of Moses, God's Law, or whether it includes the laws applicable to us by the nation we live in too. So, how come he gets to cherry pick only those "biblical principles" that enslave women who've been foolish enough to marry men like him?