Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wasilla Independent Baptist Church Pastor Ron Hamman Falsely Accused Of Justifying Spousal Rape; Pastor Hamman Merely Says It's A Sin To Withhold Marital Affection

Update July 22nd: Story has gone locally viral; KTUU and KTVA picked it up, and reaction from other religious leaders. Updated post HERE.

An Alaska Dispatch reporter has falsely accused the pastor of the Independent Baptist Church of Wasilla, Ron Hamman, of justification of marital rape in a column by Hamman published in the Mat-Su Frontiersman on July 18th, 2011. Dispatch reporter Amanda Coyne, who normally has a reputation for being an unbiased journalist, levied the accusation in a story entitled "Alaska media: Frontiersman publishes a justification of spousal rape".

The controversy initially surfaced after the Frontiersman published a previous column by Pastor Hamman entitled "Lessons from the life of Lara Logan" on July 11th. In this column, Hamman expressed his personal outrage over the mass assault upon and rape of CBS correspondent Lara Logan, who was in Egypt covering the so-called "Egyptian Revolution". After Logan became separated from her crew, she was immediately engulfed by a swarm of some 200-300 men who sexually assaulted and beat her for 25 to 30 minutes or more. Pastor Hamman decried the lack of condemnation by Muslim clerics, wondering why they hadn't ferreted out the culprits and brought them to justice, and asked when was the last time a large group of Christians did such a thing?

According to Amanda Coyne, someone challenged that assertion, claiming that Christian men partake in this kind of behavior when they rape their wives. I saw no evidence of this in the comments to the July 11th column, but apparently Pastor Hamman received enough feedback to prompt him to publish a follow-up column entitled "What the Bible says about a modern controversy" on July 18th. Pastor Hamman notes that although a wife can press charges against a husband for rape, and get him convicted on her testimony alone, he believes this is not in accordance with Biblical scripture, citing passages from Deuteronomy 19:15 and Matthew 18:16 to suggest that multiple witnesses be required according to God's law.

Here's the part of Pastor Hamman's column that got Amanda Coyne'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.

Prior to that section, Pastor Hamman set it up by citing a passage from I Corinthians 7:3-5, which states "Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency". This shows that Pastor Hamman believes that in a proper marriage, the couple shares everything; the husband is to be just as solicitous of his wife's body as his own.

Nowhere does Pastor Hamman state or even imply that marital rape is justified. What he suggests is that it is a sin for one spouse to withhold affection from another spouse for malicious purposes. This is clearly a violation of the spirit of marriage, because 99.999999 percent of those who get married do so with the full expectation that they will be able to render unto each other "due benevolence". The techniques used and the frequency of intimacy are very much negotiable; the fact that intimacy is expected is not negotiable, and if withheld, is a legitimate justification for divorce.

As a pastor, it is Ron Hamman's job to preach God's law according to his best interpretation, and not man's law. He has done so, and Amanda Coyne has attacked him for it. Then again, valuable intellectual properties like Amanda Coyne are merely scoffers walking after their own lusts. Coyne also chides and denigrates the Frontiersman for even publishing the column, which shows that she promotes political censorship. She has tarnished her reputation for journalistic objectivity.

True pastors of God, regardless of religious denomination, will always attract secular opposition. Pastor Jerry Prevo of Anchorage Baptist Temple has been similarly persecuted here. If the world approves of a pastor, that also means Satan usually approves. Christians have no business empowering Satan. Pastor Hamman needs to hold firm to the rod of iron and not allow himself to be intimidated into skulking off to the great and spacious building filled with scoffers walking after their own lusts.

13 comments:

  1. I don't need either you or Amanda Coyne to interpret Ron Hamman's intentions in this article. I don't read news through a filter. I don't care what you THINK his intentions were. I can read his intentions and come to my own conclusion, and I did. I read it for myself, and in the paragraph you quoted, he IS justifying spousal rape. I'm not a "scoffer walking after my own lust," I am a woman, created in the image of God. If a couple is having martial problems, the appropriate path is to seek counseling, then potentially divorce if they can't resolve it. Rape is never justified.

    Why do you feel the need to defend someone's terrible insinuations simply because that person is a member of the clergy? Sometimes the clergy does get it wrong, and in this case, Ron Hamman certainly did.

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  2. I agree Amy, And on my own personal note. Society needs to stop with this old world nonsense. step out of the dark ages and into the light of the future. We need to understand We are Human Animals in the chain of life and learn to except that life is both mercyful and cruel. Its called reality and the copeing tools we use weither its religion, drugs or alcohol, Denial you name it. Its just that, a way for a person or people to deal with the stark reality which is existance. I believe that Christainity has good points and alot of bad pionts. It reflects the beliefs and social structure of that day and age. Why people still try and hold on to this primitave way. FEAR OF CHANGE. fear of what is unkown. humans hate to fear and not have controll over it.

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  3. I am a Christian woman who completely agrees with what Ron Hamman wrote in his article. I try to make scripture study a daily part of life (do you naysayers?) and the point he makes that “retaliation” by “withholding” is not in line with God’s word is true. The broader truth Mr. Hamman is pointing out is that Christians need to more faithfully adhere to God’s word instead of supporting socially accepted norms and establishing laws outside of God’s word. As a Christian wife I need to love my husband and humble myself and work out any problems with him so it does not interfere with our intimate relationship, and *pay attention* this is key, my husband needs to do the same. The Corinthians scripture Pastor Hamman used supports this.

    The main point of the articl is to live according to God’s word more fully and faithfully and the whole “rape/spousal rape” issue would become a non-issue (along with many other societal problems I might add).

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  4. Amy - I also read the pastor's comments, and I came to a different conclusion than you. You fail to prove either empirically or objectively why your conclusion is preferable than mine.

    But I am relieved to know that you do not need Amanda Coyne's input, either.

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  5. Rebekah - Thanks for your input. Pastor Hamman clearly indicates that his counsel -- and his interpretation of scripture -- is equally applicable to BOTH husband and wife.

    Where these people are getting the idea that Pastor Hamman is justifying marital rape is beyond me. Seems like some people are reading what they want to see rather than what's actually written.

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  6. His intentions are very clear. Marital rape is a sin of a woman to be sexually available to her husband, and since her body does not belong to her and marriage is established to satisfy human needs he is justified in satisfying his needs on the body that belongs to him.

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  7. Hamman's assertions are all well documented in the Scriptures. It is "old world non-sense" to affirm that only one person is adequate to convict a person of a crime. The "Dark Ages" referred to earlier today were actually the time when the light of the rule of the world's new King, Jesus Christ, was dawning opon the world, eventually to manifest itself in on of the United States founding principles, which is liberty under law. The source of that law (and liberty) was to be the God of Scripture, ultimately, King Jesus. All Kings bring with them law, or they are not Kings. The so called Dark ages were the very ages of at least incipient light. Of course, we who "live, move and have our being" in Christ understand another Scriptural truth: "the darkness hated the light". There is nothing new under the sun. Woe to those who call good evil and evil good. Finally, "Kiss the Son, lest He smite you with a curse". America loses the blessings associated with liberty under law when it drifts from its' Christian moorings, for King Jesus, "must reign until He makes all of His enemies a footstool for His feet". No, I do not provide any addresses to these verses. Everyone who loves their liberty should already be more than familiar to them. Amen, brother Hamman.

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  8. "One of the more interesting comments to surface from the legacy of Lara Logan’s tragedy back in February is the allegation of spousal rape."

    This is the first sentence of Hammon's article. This is why people assume the article is about spousal rape.

    "Apparently, as has been alleged, every pastor in Alaska is involved in a big cover-up for not only knowing that this goes on, but in not reporting it to proper legal authorities so that these errant husbands can be thrown in the slammer and their families can be added to the welfare roles (because of the absence of his income, of course).

    But is this true?"

    This the rest of the first paragraph and second paragraph. Where Hammond sets out to deal with the allegations that he and other pastors in Alaska are covering up spousal rape.

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  9. "I, for one, have never had any woman make such an allegation against her husband to me. But even if these accusations are as vast as alleged, there are major problems with them from a Biblical standpoint.

    For instance, there is the problem of truth. That is, this kind of allegation becomes her word against his word. And while I understand that in Alaska the lone female is able to convict her alleged perpetrator, this goes contrary to the Bible. In the book of Deuteronomy we find the following: “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.”

    While this may be a problem for some in that this is Old Testament, this is carried over into the Christian era in Matthew 18: “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one of two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.”

    The purpose for this is the preservation of justice. The truth is that people, including women, can lie. Thus, in not requiring two or three witnesses to the event, Alaska statute proves itself to be unjust, and likewise those legislators responsible for it. But then again, what more can we expect from the lost?"

    These are the second, third forth and firth paragraphs from Hammonds article. He states that biblically speaking the correct thing to do if a wife says her husband is raping her, is NOTHING.
    Unless she has to or three witnesses to the crime. Hammond makes no mention or physical evidence, doing an investigation, medical records, whether or not the wife has physical injuries, nothing. I'm not sure about Alaska but in the part of the US where I live a police investigation, a trial, and a verdict from a jury are need to convict a man of rape. A woman cannot get a conviction solely on her allegation without a trial.

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  10. "But this is not the only problem. The next question we need to ask is to whom does the body belong? While in our day of feminism it is asserted that a woman’s body is her own. Biblically speaking, this is only true prior to marriage, for in Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians we read:

    “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.”

    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."

    These are the 6th 7th and 8th paragraphs of Hammond's article. So allegations of spousal abuse are a problem because a wife's body does not belong to her it belongs to her husband.

    Now lets go back to the first sentence of Hammonds article.

    "One of the more interesting comments to surface from the legacy of Lara Logan’s tragedy back in
    February is the allegation of spousal rape."

    So in response to allegations of rape, and the accusation that pastors in Alaska are covering up spousal rape. Hammond argues that nothing can be done about a wife's accusation of rape unless she comes with two or three witnesses in tow. And on top of treating the accusations as a lie (if her husband didn't rape her in public) she is possibly wicked for failing her martial duty.

    Yes when a pastor tells a woman who says her she is probably lying and that she may be wicked because she claims her husband raped her that is covering up. Anyone one can lie about anything. That is why we have juries and investigations. I wonder why rape is such a special crime that it is not worth investigating?

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  11. I find it interesting to note that Hamman completely glosses over the verses in Ephesians 5---"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church..."

    I believe that yes, wives are wrong who withhold sex from their husbands as a punishment. HOWEVER, that IN NO WAY justifies a man raping his wife to get what he wants. The Bible is painting a picture here, of two people putting the other first in marriage--the wife, being mindful of her husband's needs, the husband, cherishing his wife and nurturing her, and both being self-sacrificial and loving to the other.

    Hamman, by way of omitting certain other aspects of scripture regarding the husband's duty to the wife, is indeed condoning rape within marriage. And I also find it ludicrous that a wife has to have witnesses in order to bring it to court. So what, is she supposed to have witnesses standing by every time she has sex with her husband, in case he gets out of line? That is ridiculous. If a woman lies about rape to get rid of her husband, or to get money from the courts, shame on her. But if even one woman reads this article and then decides she has no right to tell anyone she was raped by her husband, shame on Hamman for perpetuating spousal abuse. I hope no one listens to this crock of crap!

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  12. What I found inexcusable in Hammon's column was his claim that his comments are Biblical, when in fact they were only half so. His entire point was the woman's duty to have sex whenever her husband demanded it, and he almost contradicted the part about the husband's body belonging to the wife and the husband having equal duty to her. If her body is his to use as and when he pleases, then his body is hers, to prefer to be in another room. Why is her duty the only necessary one? Why is only she lying about rape? Why might he not be lying about her refusing him for retaliation? Why, in such a disagreement about the timing of sex in a marriage, the woman the ONLY one to be in the wrong, and always to be in the wrong? If their bodies belong to each other, why must she always submit, and never he?

    Christ's message was always about the total equality of every person. Pastor Hammon, and some others here, agree with only half. That's no better than disagreeing totally.

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  13. Oh, let's not do a battle of the Bible. God might hear and get involved. We have a better term for humans who believe sex is a "need" now. We call it sexual addiction. All addictions feel like a need when they aren't. There are addictions that can even kill you, like coming off heroin, but I seriously doubt anyone dies without their sex. Fundamental's have been using that excuse for wives to "service their need" for far too long. Hurray that we're now calling what it is, rape.

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