Christians Who Lie to Advance a Higher Cause: Phyllis Schlafly Employed “Stranger Care” But Didn’t Talk about It

Anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly, the mother of six and a darling of the American far right, spent decades opposing for working mothers “stranger care” (child care assistance).

But it turns out that, in raising her six children, she had more than a bit of help herself. Salon today quotes her niece, Suzanne Venker (who recently co-wrote a book with Schlafly), conceding in interview the following:

“I’m going to say this the best way I can. She had domestic help…. She wouldn’t have called them nannies, but she had people in her home. That’s what she chose. Did she mention that fact enough to get her point across to young people about how she managed to do it? No, she did not.”

In other words, Schlafly concealed the truth from others (that is, lied) to advance what she regarded as a higher cause (anti-feminism).

Isn’t that exactly what the misogynist author of 1 Timothy (the liar who pretended to be the apostle Paul telling women to stay silent in church) did as well?

Here’s the biblical scholar Bart Ehrman on the author of 1 Timothy:

Whoever wrote the book of 1 Timothy claimed to be Paul. But he was lying about that — he was someone else living after Paul had died. In his book, the author of 1 Timothy used Paul’s name and authority to address a problem that he saw in the church. Women were speaking out, exercising authority and teaching men. That had to stop. The author told women to be silent and submissive, and reminded his readers about what happened the first time a woman was allowed to exercise authority over a man, in that little incident in the garden of Eden. No, the author argued, if women wanted to be saved, they were to have babies (1 Tim. 2:11-15).

I find this striking. An anti-women’s equality author from the first century not only sounds similar to a contemporary one (Phyllis Schlafly), he also shares with her the same attitudes about concealment in the advance of a cause.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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5 Responses to Christians Who Lie to Advance a Higher Cause: Phyllis Schlafly Employed “Stranger Care” But Didn’t Talk about It

  1. TomH says:

    Patently, you are lying when you claim that concealing the truth is the same as lying.

    You perhaps could properly claim hypocrisy.

    • santitafarella says:

      Tom,

      There’s concealing the truth, and then there’s concealing the truth. A father presenting a wrapped present to a child is not lying, but a person not coming clean on the witness stand is, don’t you think?

      It’s not telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

      But I suppose you’re right if you mean that one must actively and explicitly speak an untruth to engage in lying, but in the broad family of lying gestures don’t you agree that concealing what you know to be the truth from others, and knowing that it would materially effect their perception of the issue at hand (and distort it) is a form of lying?

      It seems to me at least fair to call such behavior the perpetuation of an untruth. And I would call that lying.

      And isn’t this an obvious instance of a religious zealot suppressing the whole truth of a matter in the name of a higher cause?

      —Santi

    • LOL, Those good ole Christian values are hard at work I see.

  2. Lastchiefsfan says:

    I recall reading an interesting article about how the “moral” people are the most unethical. I deal with hundreds if not thousands of businessmen and businesswomen in my business. I have never once met an outspoken Christian, or even a company with “Christian” or “Integrity” in their name that does a good job or stands by their work. Invariably they either fail to finish the job, overbills, does poor quality work, or just plain don’t show up.

    The conduct of “Christians” including blatant sins of commission or omission, much like Phyllis Shlafley, are the #1 reason why people who believe in God would never call themselves Christian.

  3. concerned christian says:

    Lastchiefsfan,
    I doubt that your claims are based on any real statistics. Can you tell me the percentage of devout Christians who are in prison compared with the percentage of devout Muslims or Jews or atheists?
    On the other hand can you tell me the percentage of devout Christians who committed their lives to serving others compared with the percentage of devout Muslims or Jews or atheists?
    You can ask the same question on every level and the answer will always be that Christians on average are either matching the norms of other groups or are having a more positive impact on the world than any other religious group.

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