The gospel heals families

Recently the (Australian) ABC reported that the men most likely to beat their wives were evangelicals. It's not true, they made it up. There is no evidence. What evidence exists points to the transforming power of the gospel.

In the US, Conservative Protestant men who attend church regularly are found to be the least likely group to engage in domestic violence.

Marxist feminist Elizabeth Brusco set out to study the impact of evangelical conversion on family life in Columbia. Here's what she discovered by careful research:

The asceticism required of evangelicals brings about change in the behavior of male converts, particularly in relation to the machismo complex in Latin America. Drinking, smoking, and extramarital sexual relations are forbidden. By redirecting into the household the resources spent on these things, such changes have the effect of raising the standard of living of women and children who are in varying degrees dependent on the income of these men.

My data on Colombian evangelical households support the conclusion reached by virtually every other analyst of Latin American Pentecostalism, that is, that conversion of both a woman and her husband improves the material circumstances of the household. Quite simply, no longer is 20 to 40 percent of the household budget consumed by the husband in the form of alcohol. Ascetic codes block many of the other extra-household forms of consumption that characterize masculine behavior in Colombia: in addition to drinking, smoking, gambling, and visiting prostitutes are no longer permitted.

Furthermore, an emphasis on male as well as female fidelity within marriage prohibits a man from keeping a woman other than his wife, and so a man's limited resources are no longer split among two or more households dependent on his wage.

In re-forming male values to be more consistent with female ones (i.e., oriented toward the family rather than toward individualistic consumption) the movement provides a "strategic" challenge to the prevailing form of sexual subordination in Colombia. [pp 5-6]

Bruscho concludes:

The tangible changes and improvement in the standard of living of women and children in dependent households is only a symptom or an indicator of something much more remarkable that is happening.

With conversion, machismo is replaced by evangelical belief as the main determinant of husband-wife relations. The machismo role and the male role defined by evangelicalism are almost diametrical opposites . Aggression, violence, pride, self-indulgence, and an individualistic orientation in the public sphere are replaced by peace seeking, humility, self-restraint, and a collective orientation and identity with the church and the home. [p 139]