Sunday, April 20, 2014

Kevin Swanson Insists He Isn't a "Patriarchal-ist"

With recent scandals involving Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips in the news, the Christian Patriarchy Movement has received fresh attention from mainstream society. Now, a controversial Christian radio host is insisting that he's not a "patriarchal-ist".

In an April 18th blog post at Generations with Vision, Swanson insists that while he endorses the "Biblical" mandate for male headship, he is not a "patriarchal-ist". He explains to readers that he condones women seeking college educations, earning degrees, traveling abroad, and assuming positions of civil government leadership. Swanson defends his position by redefining the word "patriarchy" to refer to the Old Testament patriarchs, something different than what his critics meant.
"1. The Bible employs the Greek word “patriarchy” to refer to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Acts 2:29; 7:8,9;, Heb. 7:4), and I’m not Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It would be arrogant for me to assume that I will bear the influence of men like this over the next 2000 years.

2. Rather, the Bible calls the husband (me), the “head” as Christ is head of the church (Eph. 5:23). This is clear biblical language, and for those still out there who believe the Bible, it’s okay to use biblical language."
Swanson argues that the word "patriarchy" is used to disparage Christians who obey Ephesians 5, in which Paul commands wives to submit to their husbands. "I  also like to point out that the nuclear family is weaker than it has ever been, because Betty Friedan and a million of her friends hate Ephesians 5:22-33," he wrote. Swanson characterized such critics as people "incorrigibly attached to hollow ad hominems, straw man manufacturing, and guilt-by-association arguments".

Considering Swanson's long-standing support for patriarchal values and organizations, his rejection of the "patriarchal-ist" label is ridiculous. As recently as last year, Swanson participated in a history conference hosted by Vision Forum, a decidedly patriarchal organization. His disdain for feminism, independent women, and female empowerment measures is well-documented at Right Wing Watch. Furthermore, during the January 8th edition of his radio show entitled "Sexting and Christian Modesty", Swanson was unapologetic in his celebration of male headship and female submission. (More here.) At the 13:27 mark, Swanson holds up the patriarchal model of marriage as ideal.
"Friends, if you're interested in the kind of character traits that God requires, and if you're interested in rebuilding the nuclear family, functional nuclear family with husband and wife where the wife is trained to ... submit herself to her husband, and the husband is trained to give himself up self-sacrificially for his wife, he's not the selfish pig little boy that's doing porn in the basement and learns how to be self-centered with his masturbation when he's 18 or 19 years of age, and then he lives a self-centered lifestyle until he's 29 years of age, then he finally gets married, and then he gets divorced at 36. Okay, that's the other worldview."
At the 9:24 mark, on the topic of raising daughters, he rejects feminist values in favor of female silence and meekness. He cites Biblical passages such as Titus 2 and 1 Timothy 2, which encourage female submission and deference to authority.
"If you're going to give your daughters a godly raising, or a good raising,  you've got to define character properly. When I was interviewed by the mainstream media on this issue of the Girl Scouts, the guy asked me, "Well, what kind of values would you promote? What exactly is it that you're interested in? I said, a Biblical value. I'm interested in establishing a Biblical value for raising daughters, not just the feminist values, but the Biblical values. He says, "What are those?" I say, Titus 2 and 1 Timothy 2 talks about how women ought to be meek and quiet, and they ought to learn in silence, and they ought to be modest in dress and saved in childbearing, and she fears God."
What observers can plainly see is that patriarchy is patriarchy. Misogyny is misogyny. Full stop. Playing fast and loose with word definitions doesn't change the fact that Swanson has consistently endorsed male dominance and female subordination. Patriarchy is unfair and unjust, no matter how Swanson frames it.

Julie Anne at Spiritual Sounding Board sums up the matter succinctly. 
"Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard have wreaked havoc on Patriarchy. Proponents of Patriarchy will be quick to say that these two men were in sin and believed in the wrong kind of Patriarchy, because when Patriarchy works the right way, it is beautiful, yada yada.

It’s not a matter of what kind of Patriarchy, or the wrong kind of Patriarchy, or substituting a nicer word. When women are treated as objects, as personal property, when they are not allowed to question, to think for themselves, that is wrong. When a woman has to surrender to a man who uses sex to “conquer” her, that is wrong. When a woman must go through her husband as mediator to get to God, that is wrong."


  1. We know we're winning the culture wars because the other side is afraid to use language that describes itself honestly. Anti-abortion agitators don't call themselves anti-abortion, they call themselves "pro-life", which could mean all kinds of things. Opponents of gay marriage call themselves "supporters of traditional marriage", which no one would even guess had anything to do with opposing gay marriage if they hadn't been bombarded with the euphemism for years. And now the patriarchalists have come up with some convoluted word-game to avoid calling themselves "patriarchalists". If they were winning the argument, they would proudly call themselves what they truly are, because there would be no stigma attached to "patriarchalist" or "anti-gay-marriage" or whatever. They can't do that. They can only defend their position by obfuscating what that position is. They're losing.

    1. Infidel -- Good point. These language acrobatics signify that they're trying to justify themselves.

  2. So Swanson doesn't like the label "patriarchal-ist" but he demands that women be disempowered.

    Well, I'm glad he cleared that up.

    1. Agi Tater -- I rarely expect Swanson to make much sense.

  3. Swanson is a fool, every time he opens his mouth garbage comes out. Its incredible really that one person can make so much trash up.

    1. Christian -- I can't argue with you there.


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