Huckabee calls for wifely submission
Gov. Mike Huckabee reaffirmed that a wife should submit to her husband during last night's Republican debate in South Carolina.
Huckabee tried to soften the blow by saying that the Bible commands husbands and wives to give to each other 100%. He endorsed a far more radical position in 1998 when he endorsed the Southern Baptist Convention's amended statement on the family in a national advertising campaign.
The Southern Baptist Convention revised its core statement of belief in June of 1998 to include an explicit dictate for wives to submit to their husbands. Mike Huckabee and his wife Janet were among the 131 prominent Baptists signed a statement telling the SBC: "You Are Right" about the new family code.
Here's what Huckabee said the SBC was right about:
XVIII. The Family
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society.
It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation. [The Baptist Faith and Message]
Am I the only one disturbed from the segue from "the family" to "sexual expression" to "submission"? If family the forum for Christian sexual expression, and wives are supposed to submit to men on "family" matters...
Marie Griffith and Paul Harvey wrote approvingly of the SBC family resolution in 1998. Their article in Christian Century Magazine notes that SBC's changes were even more radical than the views espoused by leading Christian conservative groups at the time:
The SBC's concern about gender roles is not unlike that displayed by such organizations as the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America and the Promise Keepers. But the unequivocal proclamation on wifely submission moves the denomination well beyond the ambiguous and frequently conflicting statements on marital relationships made by these other groups.
Griffith and Harvey explain that "submission" in modern-day America doesn't mean that wives must unquestioningly obey orders from their husbands at all time. They reassure us that wives are still allowed to make suggestions and manipulate their husbands into giving them their way:
The meaning of "submission," of course, has changed significantly over time, despite the convention's claim that its resolution exalts the "unchanging Christ." Even among religious conservatives the word does not suggest blind obedience so much as pliant cooperation and acceptance of familial obligations. Research by sociologists, historians and ethnographers has dearly shown that the language of female submission in recent U.S. history has often been intertwined with the language of egalitarianism and, more important, that many women and men who claim to believe in female submission do not actually practice that belief with the literalness that outsiders might suppose.
In most everyday cases, the doctrine of submission entails consulting one's husband in areas that affect the family; it does not prevent attempts at persuasion, influence or even outright manipulation. Such techniques allow women who lack certain forms of social power or authority to get what they want without, it is hoped, seeming overly aggressive, unfeminine or "feminist." While such methods are not directly advocated by the doctrine's supporters, Southern Baptists and everyone else know that they go on all the time in real life.
Huckabee's dodge about mutual submission doesn't fit the SBC code that he endorsed.
If a wife's relationship to her husband is analogous to a man's relationship to God, it seems that "gracious submission" can't be mutual. After all, godfearing Baptist men aren't told to offer advice to God, nor manipulate the Almighty to get their own way. They're just supposed to accept that God knows best, even if His dictates seem ridiculous.
For example, Mike Huckabee's God tells him that he's not a primate, and Huck doesn't give the Good Lord any guff.