"Sexual Satisfaction Will Not Stop the Shrew From Nagging": Studies in Crap Talks Marriage With Dr. Roy Branson, Jr
Each Thursday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. I do this for one reason: Knowledge is power.
A Bill of Divorcement Volume I: But And If Thou Marry
Discovered at: Estate Sale
"If marriage is to have any chance of being mutually fulfilling, both partners must ignore modern notions about the place of men and women. The feminist-liberal-Marxist ideas do not work, never have worked, cannot work, and ought not work!" (page 169)
"DO NOT MARRY ONE WHO LISTENS TO ROCK MUCIC." (page 103)
Like skirt-lengths and the Dow Jones, the relative craziness of America's craziest preachers serves as a kind of cultural thermometer, rising and falling with the times. In his ladies-smell-bad marriage guides of the late sixties and early seventies, Tim LaHaye sought to restore traditional "family" values in a country gone mad while still teaching the very 70's belief that maybe a man should get his wife off, too.
That's a far cry from the primness of crazy preachers both past and future, including LaHaye himself, who gets through his entire Left Behind series without once reminding men about the clitoris.
By the Clinton era, America's crazy preachers had come to mistake neuterhood for a principle. From Dr. Roy Branson's But and If Thou Marry:You see, by the 90s, crazy preachers had reached a new consensus. From Dr. Roy Branson's unmelodiously titled But and If Thou Marry:
Not if you're doing it right!
In one of the few passages in which he neglects bold, italics, and caps, Branson points out that "sexual satisfaction" doesn't accomplish any of the household tasks that no sane person would ever expect it to.
"Many times couples let physical attraction push all other considerations into the background, and a disastrous marriage is the inevitable result. Sexual satisfaction will not stop the shrew from nagging in the morning, nor cause the irresponsible lout to get a job and pay his bills. It will not take the beer out of the grocery bag nor clean up a filthy kitchen."
By this logic, married couples should chuck out their bibles because it never bakes up a mess of fish sticks. An evangelical revivalist who once penned a book titled The Hard Things of God, Branson believes that what matters in a marriage isn't feminist-liberal-Marxist ideals like satisfaction, passion or love.
Instead, it's godliness, a trait he insists most marriages lack. Since his crazy preaching is of a 90's vintage, he makes this point in a shouty, talk-radio style:
"Marriage itself is not a sin for a Christian, but most marriages are sinful."
The problem with those sinful marriages? One partner is not godly. To make sure you have a Branson-approved union of last-century gender roles and mothballed private parts, just follow his advice:
Well, that's fairly obvious. Got another?
Adultery is bad. Okay. Anything else?
Now, wait a minute! God hates spell-check, too? I always thought a "narcist" was someone in favor of the forced segregation of C.S. Lewis fans.
For 120 pages, Branson lists the people you shouldn't marry. Among others, these include:
- The angry: "YES, YOU WILL BE MISERABLE. YOU THINK NOT - BUT YOU WILL!"
- The violent: "Why are there so many children severely and unscripturally beaten and killed by their parents? Because one or both spouses are prone to violence."
- The slothful: "OH, YES! YOU WILL BE EVER SO SORRY IF YOU MARRY A LAZY PERSON."
- The rebellious: "And the children of such sorry marriages? Ah! The children! The children! The children!"
To illustrate "Do Not Marry A Person Who Drinks Alcoholic Beverages," Branson constructs this woe-pyramid:
Shocking Detail: The terrors of rock music inspire Branson to a Whitmanesque flight of list-making fancy.
"How can you say you see nothing wrong with music sung by drug addicts, Christ haters, Satan worshipers (or at least Satan mimickers), America haters, flag burners, and practicers and promoters of every sin known to man? If you do not see anything wrong with rock music you should not call yourself a Christian. You may be a Christian, but you should not say you are because you disgrace and scandalize your savior."
He detests Christian rock as well, as it "draws people back to the sound of the mixed multitude and Satanic sensuality, license and violence," Worse,
"Christian rock is a guise that permits people to hold on to the old sins under a new name. God does not substitute one sin for another. 'Go, and sin no more,' he told the adulteress. The Christian rock philosophy is com[parable to Him telling her, 'Commit no more adultery with a man; have a lesbian affair instead.'"
Damn! Branson has heard much awesomer Christian rock than I have.
So, what steps should you take if you accidentally marry some DC Talk-loving social drinker who believes that love-making is an expression of your togetherness?
Counseling is out of the question:
"Remember, not only are such professional 'counselors' and 'psychiatrists' not found in the Bible, there is not even so much as the concept or shadow of a thought of such."
There's no mentions of the printing press either.
So, you're staring down a Godly divorce. Don't worry, though - Branson's got your back in the pro-divorce, marriage-destroying second volume!
After that, you might want to dip deeper into the Branson oeuvre.
This order form is a perfect timeline of escalating Evangelical madness, with each book more a-crackle with crazy than the last. One blurb insists, "Never a book like this! NEVER!" Probably not, but your Crap Archivist hazards that, since then, there's been dozens to top it.
Also available: both volumes of Bill of Divorcement on tape for $60 and a study guide for $10!
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.