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The Olympian, Olympia Washington

Saturday, February 22, 2003


Violence can happen even in religious homes


Much as we hate to think about it, there IS violence in Christian homes. And Jewish and Baha'i and Buddhist and Hindu and humanist homes.

We all want to think that devout worshippers in church, temple, synagogue or center would never hit each other at home. But they do.

And not all domestic violence involves physical blows. It can manifest itself in controlling the partner, using emotional, mental and even spiritual concepts.

Whether we are born into our faith or are converts, we still carry a lot of emotional baggage . . . most of it stemming from misunderstandings of the sacred scriptures of our faiths. For instance, some Christians think that being the "head" of the marriage means that the husband is to control every aspect of the wife's life.

Some Baha'i women are confused about the difference between reporting a crime and backbiting. (So to avoid "speaking evil" of a batterer, they avoid reporting the abuse.)

Domestic violence in the faith community was one of the 16 topics included at the Thurston County Domestic Violence Summit, held on Jan. 31. As chair of the subcommittee on faith-based organizations and representing Associated Ministries, I learned that the faith communities fall into three groups.

One group has its act together with programs and resources for all.

One wants to be involved but isn't sure where to start.

The third group is totally clueless.

There are abundant resources that can be used to educate our congregations and social service clients about the religious aspects of family violence. And Associated Ministries will be exploring projects to use them.

If you think you would like to participate, call me at 360-455-4607 or the AM office at 360-357-7224.

It is not necessary to be an AM member.

Janet Tanaka is a representative of the East Thurston County Baha'i Community. Perspective is coordinated by Associated Ministries in cooperation with The Olympian. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Associated Ministries or The Olympian.

©Copyright 2003, The Olympian (Olympia, WA, USA)

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