A few years back, I was invited by a friend to join a Facebook group called Order of Man. I believed then the premise of the group was rediscovering, embracing, and encouraging authentic masculinity in our modern times. And with feminism and modern conveniences disrupting so much of what manliness is perceived to be, I felt the group was one I could identify with and appreciate. And so I joined.
In the time since, my participation has been largely confined to receiving notifications when others post or comment. From my observations, the posts are usually one of two varieties: either showing off some cool, manly experience or object, or else asking for advice in a difficult situation.
A latter variety of post came across my Facebook notifications one night last week, and I investigated. It was a photo of a box of condoms and birth control, along with the explanation that the daughter of the man posting had been hiding this box in her bedroom until his wife found it. The man’s mother and the daughter’s aunts had secretly given the daughter these things without even informing him or his wife first. Consequently, the man was upset and debating how best to respond. Thus he was now asking the over 30,000 men on Order of Man for advice.
I chimed in with an even-keeled two-sentence comment that he should contact each of the family members involved one by one and let them know what they did was inappropriate, disrespectful, and neither welcome nor helpful. This seemed to go without saying! Of course he as the father had every right to be frustrated and to establish boundaries.
As I read through the comments from other men, however, I began wondering whether mine might be the minority view.
As I scanned the replies which had been posted before mine, and which were being posted after, I found that most of the feedback to this frustrated father could be characterized as one of the following:
- You’re being immature and naïve to think you have a right to be upset about this. Who do you think you are?
- Your daughter is going to have sex – whenever she likes, with whomever she likes, whether you like it or not; she may as well be prepared to do it “safely.”
- Your mother and your daughter’s aunts should not have been the ones to send her the condoms and birth control – you should have; shame on you for not.
- If you get upset about this or try to establish boundaries with any of the persons involved, you’re just going to push them away from you. Give up now while you’re ahead.
And so on and so forth went the opinions of most of the other men.
More than one told the father to grow up, or that they were angry with and disappointed in him for having dared to take the position he was.
A few liked my comment or expressed similar sentiments. As I read through those which were asserting the opposite view, however, I became disgusted.
When did so many men become not only so ignorant and irresponsible, but so confidently such? They were downright shameless in their inanity and mockery of good taste and judgment.
And this was a group encouraging men to become their best? Surely more encouragement was needed!
Entering the Fray
After growing increasingly irritated at the lack of good judgment on display, I commented something reprimanding the masses. Shame on them for having such irresponsible views.
What ensued was to be expected, and I was not shocked. Three or four men took exception to my shaming them all and decided to then mock my upbraiding.
There was no reason in the world for this father to discourage his daughter from having sex, they said.
I told them there were actually many reasons, and that the responsible thing for this father to do would be to encourage his daughter to be self-controlled and virtuous, and to wait.
That was just my opinion, they said.
To this I countered that it was not really mine, but God’s.
Then followed an extended mocking of my faith. How could I believe a book written over 2,000-years ago by human hands? How could I be so stupid to think something like that was true?
To this I replied that it seemed to me God was not obligated to reveal himself only in ways that did not involve old books, and that the age of the Bible was irrelevant.
And so the debate went on for a couple of hours, with rapid responses from several directions, and in a variety of tones.
One gentlemen was quick to say nobody was going to change their minds, and we should all just agree to disagree.
Another one took the low road of making jokes about Christian doctrine.
Still another scoffed that I was a religious nutjob. And what did I make of the morality of slavery in the Bible, or of God commanding genocide? Did I eat shellfish and wear clothing made from more than one type of fabric?
My perspective was decidedly unwelcome.
An Abrupt End
The debate ended after a back-and-forth exchange in which, oddly enough, I was told I had to respect the views of others. By this, the man saying it seemed to be implying I had to treat all alternative attitudes and opinions with equal regard.
I told him that was not at all the case. Why should I tip my hat to senseless, irresponsible, or immoral views?
We were in the midst of the exchange when I suddenly found I could not click through the latest notification of someone else replying. It was no longer available or visible to me.
I refreshed the page, and found that all notifications pertaining to that thread had disappeared, except those alerting me to other people having commented on the photo not in reply to my comment.
One of the page admins had apparently deleted my initial reply, and all subsequent debate was now gone forever, tossed into the memory hole just like that.
I had figured this might happen. This is not my first rodeo. I had a very similar experience on a “Christian Homeschool Families” page last January when objecting to women publicly posting sexual problems they and their husbands were having. Only in that case, when I messaged the moderators to ask why they had deleted my post, I got into a subsequent argument with the moderator and was myself booted from membership on the page.
In the case last night also, I messaged the admins at Order of Man to ask why my comment had been deleted.
In the ‘About’ section of the Facebook group, it clearly states we can disagree and debate. I screenshotted this. Debate is precisely what I had been doing. Why then had they deleted my comments? What was my error?
Dereliction of Duty
Facebook says the moderators had seen my message as of 5AM Thursday morning. It is now 6:30AM Monday and they have still not replied. And they probably never will.
This is how it goes. I hate it, but this has become the trend. When substantive and meaningful debates occur online, we censor one another.
Inclusivity is valued to such an extent that moral clarity is jettisoned.
“Respecting others” has come to mean affirming them, either explicitly or implicitly.
For instance, the initial father in question is told by many he is “disrespecting” his teenage daughter to object to her hiding condoms and birth control in her bedroom. And he is disrespecting her grandmother and aunts to object to their giving her these things without so much as alerting him and his wife.
But since when is respect defined along such lines? What part of respect necessitates not telling others that their behavior and attitude is inappropriate and wrong?
Of course, it is a self-defeating premise when the attitude implicit in telling someone their wrong is rebuked by those whose implicit attitude is that you are wrong to tell others they are wrong.
More importantly, however, this trend amounts to rebellion against authority, particularly God’s, and extending on from there.
I saw it a year ago on the Christian Homeschool Families page. Here it is again on Order of Man.
It seems the trend that men are publicly marginalized and humiliated as husbands and fathers. Then they are mocked still further when they object to such treatment. The next tact is to shout them down. Then their content is removed from the marketplace. When all else fails, they are evicted.
The Final Verdict
Quoting God, the prophet Malachi once wrote:
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful Day of Yahweh. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
I think also of the experience Lot had when the men of Sodom came to his home demanding he send out his two guests so they could have sex with them. When Lot offered them his daughters instead, they replied harshly.
“Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down.”
One would think the men of Sodom would have here recognized that they were acting in an evil way when rebuked. Instead they were shameless, and became enraged when Lot tried to plead with them to not do the evil thing they had in mind.
Yet we know what their end was. Lot’s two guests were actually God’s angels sent to extract Lot and his household from Sodom, whose wickedness was known to God, and which God had decided to finally judge and punish.
Was it disrespectful for Lot to try to stop the men of Sodom, or warn them what they were doing was wrong? No.
Indeed, Lot actually tried too hard to appease them, even offering them his daughters!
Yet “God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap,” as Paul wrote to the church in Galatia.
So it was with Sodom and Lot. So it is with us.