Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Part 1: Worshipping Your Wife -- Literally?
The short answer is, “Of course not.” But, because long-winded answers are my stock in trade, I'm going to unpack "Of course not" into a whole slew of paragraphs, and maybe even stretch it out over several posts.
But why even raise the question, you may wonder. Does anyone advocate, or actually practice, idolatry of the female?
Yes, in fact. As I wrote in a sidebar on my Worshipping Your Wife website (a sidebar not incorporated into the actual book):
“In some female-supremacist organizations, males literally worship females; and in coupled relationships, literally worship their partners (by whatever agreed-upon exalted title). In some instances, there are even religious trappings—thrones and altars and confessions and so forth.”
Here’s an example, from a letter to Elise Sutton by the daughter of a self-proclaimed goddess: “My Mother was a staunch Female Supremacist. It was her lifestyle and her religion… [My father] had to worship her as his earthly Goddess and be her slave. My Mother had ceremonies and rituals where the men had to worship the women.”
“My wife makes me worship her, pray to her and chant to her,” writes another husband. “It is a beautiful thing. I humble myself before my wife and pray to her. Then I kiss her feet and slowly work my worshipful kisses up her legs and eventually make my way…”
Heavens! Our devoted husband gets awfully intimate at this point, so let’s take an elliptical break… and pick up with: “It is not uncommon for both I and my wife to have tears in our eyes during this sacred ritual.”
And yet another husband, similarly driven, once asked Elise Sutton: “Is it normal for me to create an elaborate altar that idolizes beautiful women?.. It is about serving a living deity to me.”
I like Elise Sutton’s answer: “Women are worthy to be worshipped but you must be careful to worship women in a manner that will meet their practical needs... You can build an altar in your home and meditate all day long but unless you get our there and serve women in practical ways, your faith will be without works and thus be meaningless (to borrow from the Bible).”
And she went on to chastise him lightly for his idolatrous theology: “I think you are confusing religion with spirituality. A woman is not a deity nor God. Don’t confuse the Creator with the creation.”
Or, as I wrote in my online sidebar: “This is not what Worshipping Your Wife advocates. It is not about literal worship (goddess or otherwise), idolatry or anything even remotely sacrilegious. It is about respecting and honoring, revering and protecting, adoring and cherishing.”
So, summing up, of course not! I’m not advocating literal wife worship.
And yet, I do use the term “worship” quite a lot—and talk about enshrining one's wife as a domestic goddess and what-not. And in both my book and blog there’s a lot of stuff about kneeling at her feet (though it’s supposedly just for massage).
So what’s really going on? I’ll have to think about it and get back to you—in part two of this post.