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51 Rutgers L. Rev. 1207 (1998-1999)
What's God Got to Do with It - Church and State Collaboration in the Subordination of Women and Domestic Violence

handle is hein.journals/rutlr51 and id is 1223 raw text is: WHAT'S GOD GOT TO Do WITH IT? CHURCH AND STATE
Linda L. Ammons*
In this Article, Professor Ammons explores the role of Judeo-
Christian institutions, ideology, and doctrine in promoting women's
subordination  and   in  condoning   domestic  violence. Professor
Ammons traces how the dogma of male supremacy is construed from
Biblical narratives, becomes part of church codified hierarchical
gender roles, particularly within the marital relationship, and how
religion was used to endorse the submission of women to men
through brute force, if necessary.
Ancient secular myths and theories recasted as Divine imperatives
in Canon law and Christian tradition, which the State accepted as
custom and law, shaped the courts' acceptance of violence against
women in private and in some instances public spheres. Despite the
criminal and civil justice system's modification of laws concerning
domestic violence, Professor Ammons argues that many religious
communities have been slow to reevaluate their traditions, to ac-
knowledge their culpability in tolerating domestic violence, and to
actively challenge the ideological assumptions that support violence
against women within the belief structures of such religious commu-
nities. Battered women who hold traditional religious views on male
supremacy remain vulnerable because of their need to reconcile the
tensions of their legal rights of bodily integrity and autonomy with
* Associate Professor of Law, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland
State University. The author would like to acknowledge the assistance of The
Cleveland-Marshall Fund in preparation of this Article and thank the following
persons: Paul Carrington, Vernellia Randall, Kunal Parker, Helen Jenkins, Patti
Falk, Phyllis L. Crocker, Susan Becker, Karla Springman, Joel Finer, Bae Smith,
Anna Frazier, Ellen Quinn, Marie Rehmar, Michelle Morrow, Connie Barry,
Nadine Hauptman, Shawn Cormier, Regina Harden, Leon Boyd, Angela Privitera,
Yvette Barksdale, Dena Davis, Terrie Collier, Sally Goldfarb, Monica Clardy, Mary
Ann Jarochovic, Susan Holman James, Annmarie Pinarski, Laura Dwyer, The Mid-
Atlantic and Midwest People of Color Scholarship Conferences, and the American
Academy of Religion.


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