WaPo Op-ed Claims The Virgin Mary’s Purity Is Offensive To Victims Of Rape

WaPo Op-ed Claims The Virgin Mary’s Purity Is Offensive To Victims Of Rape

In a recent Washington Post Op/Ed piece, Pastor and author Ruth Everhart has made the claim that the fact that Mary, mother of Jesus, was a virgin, sets an impossibly high bar for Christians. She bases this opinion on the fact that she herself was a victim of rape and therefore cannot ascribe to that purity. It is difficult to see how these things are related. But Pastor Ruth gives it a whirl by trying to connect the two. She whines, “Now the rest of us are stuck trying to be both a virgin and a mother at the same time.”

It is quite apparent that someone has been drinking too much eggnog. To claim that all women are trying to “be” the Virgin Mary is a bit unhinged to say the least. Rape is a horrific and violent crime that is out of the control of the victim. Mary, on the other hand, is God’s chosen vessel, a willing participant in God’s plan to bring His Son, the Savior, into the world. Rape involves the forcible control of another by a criminal. Mary’s story involves a voluntary sacrifice of love given to her God. Luke 1 in the NLT elaborates for us:

“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

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Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 3“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.”

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.”

Pastor Everhart (pictured above), you are a Pastor and should understand that Mary’s purity was necessary so that the Holy Spirit could come upon her and conceive Christ, so that no human man could be thought to be the father of Christ. But after Jesus was born, Mary engaged in marital sex like any other mortal woman. If God’s plan that Mary be pure prior to giving birth to Jesus, is somehow a threat to women now, that is on them. It is more than ridiculous to suggest that women feel ‘less than’ because they can’t “be Mary.” There is only one Mary. And we are not her. No one should need a safe space from Mary and the biblical account of her call from God.

God loves the victim of rape as much as He loves anyone else and He is not holding anyone up to the pre-birth of Jesus purity standard of the woman He chose to bear His Son. She was a mere mortal woman, it’s true. She is not divine, she is fully human, a humanity she passed on to her son Jesus, who is both fully man and fully God. But she WAS chosen for a special job, a job no other woman had or will have. The bar for Christian women is not to be a virgin and a mother, like Mary was for her firstborn Son. It is to recognize our flaws and rely on God’s strength and grace to live according to His standards for marriage and sexual activity as best we can. Christians are not called to perfection, they are called to reliance…on the Lord. That is exactly what Mary did, rely on and trust in, her Lord and His plan for her life. And that is a standard ANY Christian woman can meet whether she has been a victim of rape or not. God didn’t do any of this to “hurt you” as you claim you are, Pastor Everhart. He did it to save you. Merry Christmas, the Savior is born!

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Sonja Bochow

I live in Newark, DE, am married, and the mother of four children; Liam, Brenna, Keira and Erin. I am also a full time Bible teacher and have a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from West Chester University.

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