Note: This article was written in the context of the latest allegations concerning domestic violence against women in the church. It is not intended to diminish abuse of men by women, which is equally valid and horrific. The content of this article is applicable for men, but for simplicity, is directed to a female audience.
The Christian church is no stranger to controversy, and concerns of abuse are especially disturbing. The Roman Catholic Church has deflected their sexual abuse controversy, in particular by insisting that it falls within the authority of the Church rather than civil governance. In non-catholic cases, domestic abuse controversies seem to only crop up in so-called fringe sects that border on cult-like behavior.
But now, thanks in part to Rachel Denhollander, the #MeToo movement is evolving into #ChurchDV, and mainstream evangelical-Protestant denominations are being called out. There’s a real question about how Protestants will handle this. Some have blamed egalitarian ideas brought into the church, while others have ridiculed people speaking out.
This controversy is contributing to the angst between complementarians and egalitarians on ‘biblical’ masculinity and femininity. But libertarian Christians have a foundation from which to fight the tyranny of abuse without compromising true doctrine. The principles of self-ownership and non-aggression, grounded properly in historic Christian theology, can bridge the gap for abuse victims.
Libertarianism: a consistent expression of Christian liberty and justice
The principle of self-ownership
Self-ownership is the keystone of inalienable rights. Inalienable rights cannot be transferred, given away, revoked, stolen, etc. They are either recognized and respected or ignored and violated. Biblical submission doesn’t diminish a woman’s human rights. Biblical headship isn’t a license to violate a woman’s rights or the Christian liberty of conscience.
Women, you own yourself! You own your body and your life. With respect to God, this is a principle of stewardship, but with respect to mankind (including your husband), you are the rightful owner of your self.