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January 11, 2008

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.


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LOL, either that or they've all become Shakers.

Nah, zuzu's right - the "OMG Muslim Hordes Outbreeding Us!!1!" panic-phobia meme has been being promulgated among conservative Catholics since at least 1977 or '78 - at least, that's the first time I ran across it in The Wanderer or the Register, that I recall. Simultaneously (actually, a little bit earlier) the cautionary tale of depopulating, aging Japan was used to warn of the future insupportibility of Social Security, in the same rags. (This has since been modified to serve as a parable of how we will likewise be overrun by immigrant workers, though that was being flogged in conservative publications long before anyone ever heard of Lou Dobbs.)

Although the old Catholic Encylopedia from the turn of the last century, which I believe is hosted on EWTN's website, justifies the slaughter of the Cathars (in many ways spiritually and practically the predecessors of the Shakers) on the grounds that their way of life was suicidal if everyone were to follow it (believing that this life was a vale of tears, they figured it was wrong to bring children into it) and so they should have been killed in the name of sacred Life...

(Notice that it's only "contracepting secular-liberals" who are the problem - celibate Christian clerics are of course something we need more of, or at least shouldn't be persecuted for their failure to breed!)

SCORE: Mary=10, Troll Feeders=0

Its too late little angry ones; you have already exercised, "submission," and fed the troll!

Geez, for people who are supposed to be intelligent......

Hey, what about the shark in the Hungarian Aquarium which reported gave virgin birth to a pup? I heard this on the, "Bob and Tom Show," today so there must be validity to it!

This thread has basically, "Jumped the Shark." (Horrible pun intended)

Huckabee comes across as a scary, religious wingnut. OTOH, he could be on to something with this whole submission thing. Then again something tells me that my wife would take issue with it.

Darn woman, if she'd just submit life would be so easy and so very dull.

Here's my biggest problem with the notion of "wifely submission" -- it's actually *opposite* to the way things should be rationally ordered in order to accomplish the goals they want to achieve.

Okay, so let's say someone has to submit. I think egaliatarian marriage is the way to go, but they think someone has to be in charge. Fine. So who should be in charge? Well, men are bigger and stronger, but men and women are equal in intelligence. This means that between a man and a woman, both are equally likely to come up with a dumb idea that would hurt the family. If the man runs the family, and has the dumb idea, and the woman objects and refuses to submit, he can beat her into submission. If the woman runs the family, and has the dumb idea, and the man objects and refuses to submit, the woman has to actually talk him into it by explaining why it's a good idea. In the process she can come to realize how dumb it is. The fact that she does not have the shortcut of her fists to fall back on enforces that she, as shepherd and caretaker of her family's well being, actually needs to have good ideas and can't just act to aggrandize her own power and then use religious authority or physical force to back up her dumb ideas.

Secondly, men can commit rape, both because they're bigger and because it is possible to penetrate an unwilling woman. Women find it very, very hard to commit rape, just for biological reasons. (99% of all rapists are male. Of the female rapists who rape men, most are probably statutory rapists, preying on boys who consent but whose consent is not legal or meaningful. Women who prey on men who actualy do not biologically consent are almost nonexistent, for reasons we probably all understand.) But women suffer almost all the consequences for sex. Pregnancy is borne by women alone; women are more likely to be injured in sex, even when consensual and especially when not; women get STDs from men more often than men get them from women; women are less likely to enjoy sex if their partner is not attentive, because most women can't come from penis-in-vagina alone. Thus, it makes sense that if someone is in charge of when sex happens, it needs to be the woman. Because the woman can't actually make the man perform against his will, putting control of sex within the marriage in the woman's hands ensures that neither party will be raped, both are likely to enjoy it, and the person who suffers all the consequences is the one who decides when it happens. A union in which the woman is supposed to "submit lovingly" to the person she is having sex with implies that frequently, sex occurs that she doesn't really want, but just puts up with for his sake. Given how bad sex can be for women, particularly when they don't want it, this is unfair. The man should submit lovingly to the woman, because if he can't get it up, she can't then rape him on the grounds that he's supposed to submit.

Thirdly, women are on the front lines of child rearing. If you don't believe in egalitarian marriage, then you probably believe women should be home with the kids. Okay. But that means that the person who knows what's best for the kids, what's going on with their lives and what their needs are, is the woman. The man works all day -- he doesn't even *know* his kids, how the hell does he know what's best for them? Since the marriage exists to facilitate the raising of the children, the woman should be in charge, as she knows the children and their needs the best. Putting the man in charge is like putting the department of mergers and acquisitions in charge of a company that makes oatmeal. They may successfully acquire a lot of other businesses, but I bet their oatmeal will start to suck.

And in fact economists have found that when you give money to poor women, such as microloans, more of it ends up going to benefit their children than if you give it to men. So for the sake of the children, the man needs to lovingly submit to his wife's ideas about how to spend the money -- statistically, she's better at using it for the kids' sake than he is.

Want more biology? Women need help bearing children. It's very dangerous for us, more so than every other species on the planet. And, humans on average will get along better with and do more good for kin than non-kin, all other things being equal. So one human needs the help of a bunch of other people who are experienced with a certain event, namely, birthing children and caring for newborns, and is very vulnerable at that time. It's much better for her to be surrounded by kin with such experience than non-kin. Men, on the other hand, go off to work the fields or work in the city, surrounded by lots of people they're not related to anyway, no matter where they live. So men do not need to be surrounded by kin. Also, men are more often found being nomadic, having no fixed residence at all, and seem to be safer doing that than women are. This implies that women should live surrounded by their *own* family, and that homes are more important to women than to men. Therefore, women should buy homes in their hometowns, surrounded by their sisters and mothers, and take their husbands into their homes to live with them.

The biological and historical facts are quite clear. If someone is in charge in the marriage, if someone lives near their own family, if someone has the right to initiate sex, that person should be the woman. In fact, the evidence is so overwhelming that the woman should be in charge that if patriarchy didn't already exist we'd find it laughable. The person who doesn't get pregnant gets to demand sex? Huh? The person who doesn't bear children in blood and pain and then care for them by feeding them from her own body for years gets to decide where they will be educated or who they will marry? You're joking! The person who has to be surrounded by others of her own sex to help her out with pregnancy and childbearing should be surrounded by total strangers who are related to the guy she married, not her own family? Tell me another one! The people who commit 90% of all murders should be trusted to be in charge? Oh dear god, tell me that was a joke!

If there is a God, there are only two options. Upon looking carefully at God's creation and how it works, you must either conclude that God hates and despises women and set everything up to torture them, or God has been massively misunderstood and actually meant women to be in charge in the family, or maybe thought it was a good idea for men and women to share equally in power. It is *so incredibly stupid* to look at the biology of men and women, with male violence and propensity for rape and willingness to overlook the wellbeing of their children, and say that *men* should be in charge of families, that you have to be a woman-hating sadist to come up with the idea, or actually totally brain dead. I personally don't worship a God who is a woman-hating sadist *or* brain dead.

Again, my personal preference is for egalitarian marriage, because I think the various sins of Man are ones he gets away with because patriarchy lets him, and Woman isn't exactly a perfect little angel either, and it would be better to divide up who does what in a marriage based on the *people* and their talents, not the genitals. But it is undeniably true that almost all rapists are men, that most murderers are men, that seven times as many women are killed or go to the hospital because their men beat them as men do because women beat them, that most murderers of children are men, that men can walk away from an unwanted pregnancy with no biological consequences AND MANY DO, that men can't invest as much biologically in children as women and frequently don't invest as much time, and that worldwide, poor women give more of their money to their children's welfare than poor men do. So if God intended someone to be in charge in marriage, it's obviously supposed to be the woman, and anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded.

Either you get egalitarian marriage or matriarchy out of biology. Biology offers no support whatsoever for justifiying patriarchy... just a mechanism for achieving it. The people who are bigger and stronger and can commit rape might *just* come up with a system that allows them to run everything and then use the fact that they are bigger, stronger and can commit rape to torture their opponents into submission. If there was no God who cared about human affairs, if everything was totally random, there was no eternal justice and no enforcement of what's right and the law of the jungle was the only law there was, I would expect to see men running everything. And funnily enough, they do. How about that.

Wow. This is ridiculous. I am an educated woman (Ivy Leaguer with an MA), well-traveled, speak several languages, am mother to a bunch, a career woman who works outside the home, with friends from many religions. I love the freedom to love that Christ has provided us and I also respect the boundaries that God has provided us. I obey my husband (mostly...I apologize when I don't -- old ways die hard but I correct myself. I also passionately and comprehensively present my case first if I disagree with his decisions, but he has the final say), AND I am a capable, voting citizen. I also dislike Huckabee immensely because I think he's racist and ingenuous, but he's right about a wife's obligation to submit. Actually, I'm better than my husband at many things. That's normal. It's obvious that Jesus respected the power, the gifts and the abilities of women. It's not an oxymoron to be submissive and still equal to the one to whom you submit. Don't you have a supervisor somewhere? We live in America and are charged with showing mutual respect. Quit disrespecting people just because you don't understand their points of view.

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