The front page of USA Today (April 25, 2017) had the headline “This is Demonic.” The article was about female genital mutilation. There was a picture of a woman and a statement in bold print saying “A fundamentalist, Christian doctor mutilated her genitals in 1947 to prevent her from masturbating.” A bold-type statement also says that this has been done to half a million females in the United States. If you read the entire article, you find that much of that number has little to do with Christianity, but that isn’t until the last five paragraphs of the article.
It is true that in some non-Christian cultures women are treated as objects. In those cultures it is common to perform female genital mutilation surgeries to remove any chance of the women having sexual pleasure. It is also true that misguided individuals claiming to be Christians may have done the horrible things described in the article. The teachings of Christianity, however, are opposed to sexism and mutilation of the human body of any kind.
Christian teaching is that the human body is the temple of God. First Corinthians 3:16, addressing both sexes, says, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him: for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” Paul repeats this point in chapter 6 verses 18-20. In chapter seven Paul talks about sexual pleasure and places the woman’s pleasure on an equal level with the man’s. In verse 3, husbands are told to satisfy their wives, and in verses 4-5 Christians are told that “the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a set time to devote yourself to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
Sex is a beautiful, loving thing when practiced in obedience to the Creator’s instructions. God designed something incredible for men and women. It is indeed “demonic” to allow God’s gift to be taken away from women. Christianity treats women as equal to men in every way (Galatians 3:26-29). They have different roles, but all are equal. For more on the role of women and the gains women have made because of the teachings of Christianity, we would encourage readers to get a copy of Under the Influence by Alvin Schmidt (Zondervan Publishing).
–John N. Clayton © 2017