Prudy Ray, an Indian Christian who often tweets about abusive pastors, sparked an online conversation about the damage caused by messages of “biblical manhood.” In a lengthy Twitter thread this week, Ray writes that people in other nations would be “baffled” by the domestic violence (and its normalization) to which Indian women are subjected.
Ray, 23, identifies himself as Shudra and Dalit, the lowest castes of Indian society. “Please don’t enable men to be more abusive,” he urges fellow Christians. “Don’t bring this patriarchal garbage into my country,” he adds, referencing “the so-called ‘biblical manhood.’” That “will only make women suffer more.”
Indian Women Experience Normalized Suffering
A study published in June 2020 found that 1 in 3 Indian women experiences domestic violence, but only 1 in 10 reports it. “Y’all have no idea how things go in my country,” Ray’s post begins. “Wives think it’s normal” to be beaten, and arranged marriages make matters worse. “Some church pastors know the sufferings of these women and yet be silent,” he adds. Or they tell women to submit and give cheating husbands a pass. Although neighbors know what’s happening, they refuse to get involved.
“The only comfort for these Christian women is church,” writes Ray. “But most of the sermons are focused on how you’re wearing clothes, if you’re late to church you’re not pious enough, tithing.” While abused women stay silent, most pastors “are focused on mint and cumin like Christ says [in Matthew 23:23]” yet “they ignore the weightier matters.”
Ray describes attending a prayer meeting and hearing “the most wonderful prayers” from women, some of whom can’t even read. “They knew Christ even though they didn’t know theology,” he says. “They showed it in their actions.”
Because abuse is normalized throughout Indian society and “daughters are considered a burden,” women “don’t even know they’re being abused,” he writes. “They don’t even know they have so much value and worth in them because they’re made in the image of God.”
Ray indicates that he, his mother, and sisters “have endured the abusive moments” but that “my dad has changed.” He states, “No one should be told that they have to just suck it up and pray and repent for being abused. That’s not the gospel.”
Commenters Thank Purdy Ray for Speaking Out
Ray’s Twitter thread has already received more than 400 likes. Many commenters thank him for speaking up about the topic. “I’ve never considered how toxic theology taught by missionaries can worsen the lives of already marginalized people,” one person writes. Another notes, “I believe today that ‘missionaries’ are White supremacist in disguise. Spreading the lies of the colonialist, capitalist patriarchy, wherever they go.”
One comment reads, “I’ve been sponsoring native missionaries in India for yrs. sadly this thread doesn’t surprise me, but I think it’s important for this to be seen by US [evangelicals] (& UK). I do worry when I see some of the fundie theobros on here talk about going to non-western countries w/ their poison.”