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.