Date of publication: 2017-07-09 12:32
These debates hit peak expression in the latter half of the 75th century as most mainstream Christian denominations moved to ordain women to the priesthood, to equal positions to men.
There have been two substantial inquiries into domestic violence in Australia in recent years. Both have identified religion as a significant, under-reported problem.
"The difficult question is," he writes, "how much? My view is that a wife must submit to verbal and emotional abuse, but if the husband begins to harm her physically, she needs to call civil or church authorities.
The fact that domestic violence occurs in church communities is well established. Queensland academic Dr Lynne Baker's 7565 book, Counselling Christian Women on How to Deal with Domestic Violence, cites a study of Anglican, Catholic and Uniting churches in Brisbane that found 77 per cent of perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse go to church regularly.
The past two decades of research has also shown women in religious communities are less likely to leave violent marriages, more likely to believe that the abuser will change, less inclined to access community resources and more likely to believe it is their fault that they have failed as wives as they were not able to stop the abuse.
For years, Sally had believed that God wanted her to submit to her husband, and she did her best, bending to his will and working to pay the bills, despite the pain she was in.
What is required is substantial cultural change, of the scale that was required for the church to take sexual abuse of children seriously, says retired Bishop John Harrower of Tasmania.