In his book, Doug Wilson writes about how a Christian man should go about finding a wife. Craig sums up Wilson's ideas of Christian courting by saying:
Wilson has written a little book called Her Hand in Marriage where he explains that, from a Biblical perspective, the father has authority over the daughter, and that an interested young man should approach the father before he ever approaches the daughter about courtship. If the father approves, the young man can begin spending time with his daughter under the supervision of the family. As time goes on, the two can begin spending more time alone together. But throughout the entire process, the father is the authority over the daughter.
Craig says that while he has a bone to pick with Wilson over specifics, he doesn't necessarily disagree with Wilson's general message.
To Craig's (partial) credit, he does say this in response to Wilson's views on women:
Sure, that all sounds good and everything until you actually try doing it that way. I would be willing to bet that if I walked up to the father of a girl I was interested in at church and said, "I'm interested in getting to know your daughter", the father would probably say, "Okay… she's standing right over there, so why don't you go talk to her?" Wilson might say that the father isn't doing his job, but the reality is that, right or wrong, this is the way things work in 21st century American culture.
Notice that while Craig accepts the reality of today's (post-Christian) world as not working that way, he doesn't actually disagree with Wilson's view that "women = property":
Now, as I said, I do believe Wilson's philosophy or vision for Christian courtship and marriage is a good one, so I don't want to give the impression that I disagree with it in theory.
Every time I read anything from a Christian about women, and every time I read any historical or news source concerning Christian treatment of women, the ownership concept is all over the place. What I mean is, that Christian women are owned at all times by someone other than themselves. Either they are owned by God, or their father, or their husband, or even a combination of these! But at any rate, the poor women are constantly treated as property.
But when Christians encounter my charge of sexism and maltreatment of the status of women, they disagree quite vocally. They say that not all Christians agree about this, and that I'm taking things out of context, or adhering to a narrow fundamentalist view of Christianity.
Yet again, I have to call bullshit. Ownership of women is so incredibly widespread in liberal, conservative, and moderate Christian circles, that I've yet to see a single Christian write against the idea. And believe me, I do read a lot of Christian writing. When I read religious/atheist blogs (and I do quite often) about half of my reading is done on Christian blogs, the other half is for atheist blogs. And this is probably the 1000th time I've read some Christian view about women not having ownership over their own person. I've yet to read anything from a Christian who says that a father or husband doesn't own their daughter or wife.
Would I ever accept a doctrine of my mother owning me and a woman having to ask my mother permission to court me? Hell no. And would I ever ask a father permission to court his daughter? Hell no. It's not his choice; its his daughter's choice. If I wanted to court a woman, it would be because I respect her as an equal, and my equals own themselves. It would be an insult to the woman to ask her father and to treat her like a commodity or piece of property.
I don't court pieces of property. I respect myself too much. I court women who are my equal. And I consider women my equal because I am not some chauvinistic insecure sexist bastard. I don't want to marry a piece of property. I want to marry an equal, where the respect and admiration and love between us is equal.
Craig, again to his credit, has experienced both Christian and non-Christian social environments. Craig couldn't ignore the reality of the situation when he compared Christian women to non-Christian women:
let me tell you that Christian women need to take a few lessons from non-Christian women. The non-Christian women I've been around over the years are not afraid to get into relationships with men and actually arrive at conclusions about men far more quickly than Christian women. Sometimes I don't think Christian women will go out for a cup of coffee with a guy without some kind of sign in the heavens telling them to go for it.
I literally LOL'ed at this. I think Craig may have accidentally revealed a bit too much about the detrimental effects that accepting an other-ownership doctrine can have in the mind of a young woman. Craig says here in no uncertain terms that non-Christian women are much more of what a woman should be: thinking for themselves, and taking responsibility for themselves.
Incidentally, Craig's blog is called "Autonomy is Madness," yet he quite clearly is praising secular women for their autonomy, while lamenting the lack of autonomy in Christian women. Craig has also expressed multiple times in the past that he thinks that Christian women are crazy.
So is autonomy madness, or is it the reverse? Craig is obviously implying that the reverse of his blog title's message is true, yet he doesn't seem to realize it. Craig can't seem to see the big picture here - that his religion is detrimental to the social lives of both male and female Christians. The Christian singles simply can't compete with the secular ones.
Anyway, where is the "women own themselves" Christian view? Where can I find the writings of a Christian who says that men do not own women, and that both men and women are equal in the sight of God? Where are the Christian writings that say that the father does not own the maiden, or that the husband does not own the wife?
And perhaps more importantly, where is the Biblical support for a "husband does not own the wife" Christian view?
Obviously the "women are property" Christian view is fucking up the lives of the Christian youth, and they are watching their secular peers live much happier, more fulfilling social and romantic lives, in general. I know that I sure am!
Thanks to Dr. Zachary Moore for writing about this first and bringing this to my attention.