My head jerked up when I heard the chapel speaker told the “ladies” in the auditorium that they need to “mow your lawn.” I was even more shocked when this dean at the Southern Baptist college where I taught extended the metaphor by saying that women who had multiple sexual partners were like “crack houses,” where people also enter and leave often.

I teach Old Testament, and I’d spent much time in my classes over the past four years discussing the image of God and its implications for how we view other human beings. I was certain when I went through the channels outlined in the faculty handbook that my objection to the objectification and degradation of women would be handled quickly and seamlessly. Of course my school doesn’t think sexually active women are crack houses. Of course my school doesn’t think it’s okay to tell women to “mow your lawn.” Of course they’ll release a statement affirming that all humans are made in God’s image and, therefore, all humans have inherent value distinct from their sexual activity or pubic hair.

Russ Meek

Associate Professor of Old Testament at William Tennent School of Theology