A Minnesota professor has taken aim at Christmas, putting the Bible under the MeToo spotlight by arguing that the virgin birth story shows God as the ultimate sexual predator.
Eric Sprankle, a professor of clinical psychology and sexuality studies at Minnesota State University, opened the proverbial can of worms this week, tweeting that “The virgin birth story is about an all-knowing, all-powerful deity impregnating a human teen. There is no definition of consent that would include that scenario.”
The virgin birth story is about an all-knowing, all-powerful deity impregnating a human teen. There is no definition of consent that would include that scenario. Happy Holidays.
— Eric Sprankle, PsyD (@DrSprankle) December 3, 2018
Netizens were quick to point out that Sprankle didn’t bother to read the Bible, quoting the very specific passage in which Mary tells an angle “let it be,” thus actually giving consent.
And Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:38
— Leo (@mesayleo) December 6, 2018
Nonsense, Sprankle shot back: the omnipotent deity simply had too much of a power difference over a mortal girl, making her consent meaningless.
“To put someone in this position is an unethical abuse of power at best and grossly predatory at worst,” he argued.
The biblical god regularly punished disobedience. The power difference (deity vs mortal) and the potential for violence for saying “no” negates her “yes.” To put someone in this position is an unethical abuse of power at best and grossly predatory at worst.
— Eric Sprankle, PsyD (@DrSprankle) December 4, 2018
The professor’s comparison of the Almighty with Harvey Weinstein eventually filtered into the media mainstream, prompting observations that the professor is trying to “MeToo God.”
Sprankle’s website describes him as a researcher at Minnesota State University examining “sex work stigma, the effects of sexually explicit material, older adult sexuality, and the intersections of sexual health and genital piercings.”
The professor’s Twitter bio also includes the words “Ave Satanas” (hail Satan).
Among the responses to his was mass-posting the “Fedora Shrek” meme, a common reaction to militant atheism online.
Proof that all the “education” in the world, blue check marks on Twitter, and acronyms after ones name don’t mean anything if even the most simple agreeed on theology can’t be comprehend by someone who chooses to be a heretic.
— Christopher (@tophergras) December 7, 2018
So courageous. Now do Mohammed.
— Herk Driver, Overhead Keg Press Champion (@G130J) December 5, 2018
Sprankle is not the first to argue that Christianity’s origin story was one of rape and abuse. Back in 2012, a series of memes, posters and websites claiming that “God raped Mary” prompted another professor to respond with an essay in The Atlantic, arguing that Mary’s “let it be” was actually rather progressive.
“…with Mary’s words of ‘let it be,’ we have what just might be the first recorded instance of verbal consent in human history,” wrote Karen Swallow Prior.
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