In two of the most recent episodes of the atheist broadcast “Reasonable Doubts,” they conducted an interview with Vyckie Garrison, formerly of the “QuiverFull” movement. QuiverFull, essentially, teaches that Christians overcome the world by simply out-breeding everyone else. They forbid the use of any manner of birth control or contraceptive, claiming such things to be unbiblical.
Vyckie found QuiverFull as a young wife, and became convicted by their teachings. She had her husband reverse his vasectomy, and they continued having children. Vyckie had some medical issues with her uterus which made each pregnancy risky for both her and her children, but QuiverFull teaches that if God doesn’t want you to have the baby, he will keep you from getting pregnant.
Vyckie’s husband was blind, so early in their marriage she worked while he received government assistance, helping to support the family. She also did most of the administrative duties for the family, an arrangement with which both she and her husband were comfortable. However, after joining QuiverFull, she became convicted that it was the husband’s job to rule over the wife, so she stopped working and urged him into the role of doing all the administrative duties. Also, she came to the conviction that receiving government aid is unbiblical, so they began refusing the aid.
With him unable to work, and her under the impression that wives are forbade to work biblically, she ended up publishing a news-letter/magazine for the Quiverfull movement, she doing most of the writing/editing/distribution of the newsletter, despite her conviction that women should not work. The magazine became the family’s primary source of income. With her family growing with successive pregnancies, the little income they received placed them near the poverty line.
Vyckie homeschooled their children, and would not allow them to attend Sunday School at their church because there were kids in Sunday School that attended Public School, and she could not risk exposing her children to them. Vyckie moved her family from church to church because she increasingly viewed each church as being “too liberal.” Eventually, she established her own home-church, although she didn’t overtly lead it, because she concluded that this, too, would be unbiblical.
“Focus on the Family” named her clan “Family of the Year,” and Christian organizations everywhere lauded the fine example she and her family were presenting. Meanwhile, Vyckie kept getting pregnant, each pregnancy more medically dangerous than the last, until the final pregnancy nearly took the life of both her and her baby.
Eventually, Vyckie fell into conversation with a kindly atheist uncle of hers, who began questioning why she did the things she did. As they corresponded, she began to see how oppressive and self-destructive her behavior was, and came to the conclusion that, since she justified all of her behavior biblically, that the Bible must be an outdated book of bronze-age teachings, not God-inspired.
No longer a Christian, Vyckie divorced her husband, enrolled her children in Public School, and established a website titled “Quivering No Longer,” where she attempts to rescue other women from the oppression of the patriarchy and misogyny of Christianity.
“Reasonable Doubts” responsively tsked the despicable nature of Christianity, and the bravery Vyckie displayed in breaking free from her husband’s oppression.
"It is generally assumed that Paul is the author of a Christianity of female subordination. But more recent studies have shown that the historical Paul in fact continued most of the assumptions and practices of early charismatic, inclusive Christianity. Indeed, most of the New Testament evidence that women functioned as local leaders, as well as traveling evangelists, is to be found in the Pauline letters. Paul addresses almost an equal number of women along with men (sixteen women and eighteen men) in his greetings to Church leaders in Romans 16. He mentions two women, Euodia and Syntche, as having preached the gospel "with Barnabas and me" in Philippians 4:2-3. He addresses a woman name Junia by the title of "apostle," and constantly refers to the husband and wife team, Priscilla and Aquila, as "Church leaders," usually naming Priscilla first. He also speaks of the prominent woman Phoebe by the title of both "deacon" and "prostasis" or leader, of her community.
“Paul received from the early Church both a practice of thus including women in the ministries of catechesis, prophecy, local Church leadership, and traveling evangelism (the role Paul calls that of "apostle"), and also a baptismal theology of male-female equivalence in Christ as reflected in the Galatians 3:28 reference. This formula was not original with Paul; he cites it from early Christian tradition. The Galatians baptismal text expresses the early Christian vision of the new humanity in Christ. It was consciously moulded to contrast with the traditions of rabbinic piety, adapted from Hellenistic philosophy, in which the Jewish male thanks God for having been born male and not female, free and not slave, and Jew rather than Gentile. By declaring that in Christ these divisions had been overcome and all these groups made "one," the early Christian stated the essence of his or her new identity as one where the equivalence of all humans in the image of God had been restored."
The Gospel of Luke emphasizes the role of Jesus’ female followers almost as much as his male. Scripture takes pains to point out that Jesus gladly spoke with prostitutes and Samaritan women, and welcomed women of every sort into his discipleship. The women followers of Jesus did not abandon him at the cross as his male followers did, and the women were the only ones brave enough to visit his tomb, being the first to discover his resurrection.
All of this must be seen in light of the first century view of women, which was unflattering to say the least. If viewed as merely a book of bronze-age notions, the Bible is, at the very least, revolutionary in its approach to the value and dignity of women.
It is evident by Vyckie’s testimony that she was the driving force behind her own oppression. The approach she took to scripture was extreme, based on her own self-rightous works, and the minority view of Christian scholars and theologians.
“Fighting for the Faith” is a Christian broadcast aimed at criticizing irresponsible, ridiculous, and radical behaviors and teachings that pervert the nature of Christianity. “Reasonable Doubts” is an atheist broadcast aimed at criticizing religion as a whole (although they, too, mostly just focus on Christianity). Ironically, or perhaps appropriately, both shows frequently cover the same religious news.
Pastor Gervase Nicholas Edward Charmley, a frequent commentator on “Fighting for the Faith,” said this in their response to Vykie’s story:
“[Quiverfull appears to be] a group that by any objective, historical measure, was never a Christian church, but some small and heterodox sect.
“In the case of [Vyckie], given that her views led to her effectively leaving the church before becoming an atheist, she had long ago parted company with Biblical Christianity.”