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"Christian Domestic Discipline" - Really?

Some days it’s embarrassing to be a Christian – and not in a good way. It’s those days when something like “Christian Domestic Discipline” is spread across the internet and I have to wonder, who are these people? For those of you not readily familiar with this lifestyle choice, here is the definition: "A Christian Domestic Discipline (CDD) marriage is simply a traditional, male-led, Christian marriage which utilizes aspects of Domestic Discipline. It is set up according to Biblical standards." The "methods" include corporeal punishment such as spanking with objects.

Some days it’s embarrassing to be a Christian – and not in a good way. It’s those days when something like “Christian Domestic Discipline” is spread across the internet and I have to wonder, who are these people?

For those of you not readily familiar with this lifestyle choice, here is the definition: “A Christian Domestic Discipline (CDD) marriage is simply a traditional, male-led, Christian marriage which utilizes aspects of Domestic Discipline. It is set up according to Biblical standards.”  The “methods” include corporeal punishment such as spanking with objects. CDD is touted as being based on consent which is discussed at length in a remarkable piece of convoluted logic that concludes with she doesn’t mean “no” when she says “no.”

Because what happens when she says “no”? She’s being disobedient and merits further punishment. How can you have a real relationship with another adult based on punishment and reward? Here’s the thing: authentic consent is based on equality of power which is the ability to say “yes” or the ability to say “no” and not be punished for it.

At the risk of stating the obvious, CDD is a pathetic attempt to baptize domestic violence with a typical religious excuse. As usual, the biblical principle upon which this ideology is based begins with Ephesians 5:22 (“Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord.”) neglecting the preceding verse 5:21 (“Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.”).

Lest we forget, the Bible was freely used in the 19th century to legitimize slavery in this country. Sadly it is still being used today to legitimize slavery in marriage: “And as for what a man gets out of it, besides a woman who obeys his every command, Vera [a CDD wife] says her partner is satisfied by her growth. ‘He enjoys seeing the person he owns, his property, become the thing God wants her to be. It might sound weird, but that works for me.’” Property?  Herein lies the fundamental problem with this practice.

Women, beware of “Christian” men who try to convince you that CDD has anything to do with God’s will for you. It doesn’t.

Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune 
FaithTrust Institute

P.S. Click here to read and sign the statement "Faith Leaders Against Christian Domestic Discipline."


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Posted by Gale at Jul 03, 2013 01:59 AM
Ephesians 5:21-22 is widely misuderstood. It has nothing to do with being viewed as property. God created people and He knows people are people, not property. That passage is written in the context of a husband leading his household in respectful, loving ways that protect his wife from abuse and instead treats her with fairness, dignity and honor. He reminds his wife she is worthy because God says she is. As DV and rape prevention advocates know, sex is to be shared; not taken. To become who God wants me to be, I need to submit to God before all else, even my husband. Such is truly the Biblical definition of submission.


Posted by Judy at Jul 03, 2013 01:59 AM
There are as many covert ways of this "logic" as there are overt.

Christian Domestic Discipline

Posted by Laura Parker at Jul 03, 2013 12:54 PM
Your blog this morning about Christian Domestic Discipline caused me to look up CDD on the internet. This after driving to work this morning and choosing to listening to WMBI, Moody Radio in Chicago, Moody Bible Institute being my alma mater. Every once in a while I have to listen to keep in touch with my "roots." So this morning someone from Illinois Family Institute is talking about the problems of homosexual people marrying, as this may lead to new interpretations of marriage, plural marriages of all sorts. And then they use as an example a homosexual couple who adopted a child from Russia, sexually abused the child, and took him to other people to be abused. So now I'm depressed - between CDD and IFI, I've about had all the "Christian" I can take for one day. Thankfully I have enough resources and connections between coworkers at Crisis Center for South Suburbia and fellow Christians at Morgan Park United Methodist Church to be able to survive. But thank you for the information about CDD. I will use it as information in my class on the Religious Aspects of Domestic Violence.

Christian Domestic Discipline

Posted by Amy Smith at Jul 03, 2013 12:54 PM
Such a theory and practice is neither Christian nor acceptable in an enlightened society.

CDD blog

Posted by Ellen Johanson at Jul 03, 2013 12:55 PM
Thanks Marie for your thoughtful analysis. I, too, saw this on the internet a few days ago and was dismayed to read it. Truly there is nothing Christian about this. It's not Christian, it's not domestic and it's not discipline--let alone God's will for anyone. Seems like the article originates from Great Britain--any idea how prevalent this is in the USA or in other non-British cultures? Unfortunately, these ideas seem to be present everywhere. CDD is nothing but domestic violence cloaked in religiosity. There's another very simple Christian word for it--SIN.


Posted by Kate Johnson at Jul 05, 2013 02:17 PM
I was just enlightening people last weekend to this horrible "example" of a Christian marriage and how submission and these verses are taken so out of context. Equals mean as a woman I am not a child, I am your equal. We don't get to abuse or hit an equal. Period. It is against the law.

Sadly, this is not new, I have heard about this for years. I guess it is getting more publicity at the moment. As we fight to say no to violence and abusive relationships in our ministry (, and that Christ would never condone this, we have others use His name for evil; no wonder many mistrust Christianity.

CDD is not consensual

Posted by Dawn Fortune at Jul 05, 2013 02:21 PM
There is similar talk going on in the consensual alternative sexuality community about CDD. For people who engage in consensual impact or sensation play as part of their sexual expression, consent is of paramount importance: no must mean no if yes is to mean yes. Sometimes "no" can be embedded in a code word or phrase, but stop always means stop. Responsible players respect others' boundaries and limits or they are ostracized. CDD is inherently non-consensual because it does not allow the woman choice or agency in the activity. The alternative sexual community is distancing itself from any notion that CDD is simply another form of "kink" play. It's not. It is abuse -- of both the women and of religion and spirituality.

Christian Domestic Discipline

Posted by Just Me at Jul 22, 2013 06:33 PM
About a year ago I was looking for ways to make my own marriage more Christ-like. I stumbled across a CDD group on facebook. I befriended many of these folks.

One woman (the group admin.) is early 20s. She and her husband had a baby and three weeks later he was spanking her because she had a bad attitude. She claims that CDD cleared up all of their post partum problems.

Another woman claimed that she was bipolar until they started practicing CDD. CDD cured her bipolar.

Many of the women admit to misbehaving so that their husbands will spend time with them. It seems that spanking is followed by cuddling and sex.

Some of the couples are not married and practicing bare bottom spankings. They claim that practicing CDD is not sexual yet they admit to having sex with their partners. When you point out Bible verses against premarital sex, they will tell you that you are being judgmental.

They do not know much about the Bible. They can quote the verses about wives submitting to their husbands and that's about it. They are incredibly weak at discussing anything doctrinal. When they give links to back up their lifestyle it's usually a link to a porn site or bdsm. "I Love Lucy" episodes is another favorite link to provide.

I tried to discuss politics with them. Forget it! The women vote for whomever their husbands tell them to vote for. In the last presidential election many of them had no idea which party the candidates belonged too.

I also noticed that when the spankings got "a little too hard" the wives blame themselves. She figures she had it coming to her for upsetting her husband so much and she's learning a lesson.



Posted by Ellie at Jul 22, 2013 06:35 PM
I saw this on the internet to and was really suprised. I think that people can choose how they want to live their lives in however way they want doing what they want as long as there are two consenting adults that are making informed choices on what they want and not what one person wants or what they think is expected of them.
I have been doing a lot of research about this and it obviously stems from Domestic Discipline and the added 'Christian' at the beginning makes Christians feel comfortable about actually taking part in Domestic Discipline which is essentially what it is.
People can be very easily influenced into lifestyles that perhaps they don't want to be in or they do it because everyone else does it.
If you are from a small town of people who all practice the same beliefs and cultures you will conform to that because that is what you know, what is expected and its awfully lonely on the outside when you are not following the majority.
If you are a young person who is getting married and CDD is something that most people who know do it and your church might even advocate it then you will think that this is what your are expected to do and I think that is what is scary.
When entering in any type of relationship there are going to be bumps in the road, arguments, disagreements - nothing is completely harmonious and neither should it be. Thats the fun of it, spice of life ... otherwise it would be very boring. I am not too sure that giving someone consent to hit you is the right way to go about it especially if it is one-sided. I now think ok so what if the HOH does something wrong? How is he punsished? What if the HOH believes that a punishment is due but the wife feels that she doesn't deserve it? How do you cope with that? If you cannot argue then you have to take the punishment. If you feel that it is wrong you say something but then you have to take a harsher punishment for not taking the original one and talking back. It just seems you are damned if you do and damed if you don't.
In any type of Domestic Discipline relationship usually one person has to enjoy a certain amount of pain. This is because you need to be able to cope with that pain. Your body acts as a natural painkiller releasing endorphins this helps your body cope. If you are hitting someone who doesn't want to be hit or enjoys it then it will almost certainly have severe psychological implications to the one being hit ... especially fear of the husband, fear of the punishment to the point of wanting to leave him or wanted to find another way.
I feel that some women could be forced or coerced into this type of relationships and that is really unacceptable under any circumstances.

Christian Domestic Violence

Posted by Ellen at Apr 22, 2015 02:29 PM
No woman should be subjected to this torture. The Nazis used these punishments, how in all that is holy, can anyone claim this is not abuse?