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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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Comments

Mary's a thoughtless dipshit who wants to believe that "Slaves, obey your masters in everything" is well intentioned, really, because history demonstrates the master-slave relationship is nothing but healthy and pure and good. Yep, obedience sure serves the slave.

Luckily for Mary, morons are free to be morons in this country.

When you're in a hole, don't keep digging.

I'm not in a hole. If you refuse to listen to others, prefer to misunderstand and swear at others in your anger, feel free.

But I stand by what I've written here... I think some of you refuse to try to look at religion through the eyes of the religious, preferring to think everyone Christian is your enemy and hates on you.

Of course, that doesn't make it true.

Stop being paranoid.

Show some respect, if you really have confidence in your own beliefs and accept that here in America, others are free to think, believe and live their lives as they will. To eat healthy, so to speak, and encourage their own to do likewise.

10 to 1, remember, at the very least...

Pardon me, Mary, but you were speaking of faith, and not of reason.
You're "sorry" if I'm comfortable in my beliefs? How Xian of you, Mary. However, I wasn't speaking to my beliefs. I was speaking of my LACK OF BELIEFS. Big difference, as you, yourself, well noted.

But how in your heaven's name did I (or any other secularist) try to force ANYTHING on you, much less my lack of beliefs? (Logically, how can someone force the lack of belief on anyone?)

You, Mary, the Xian, have just broken the "bearing of false witness" commandment. I have never forced my beliefs, or lack there of, on you, or anyone. Typical Xian melodrama and paranoia.

Be my guest, Mary (as I wrote before) believe any crazy shit you want. But don't tell me that when I merely disagree with you, out loud, no less, that I am forcing my beliefs on you, because that is a false and filthy lie. If your beliefs are so shaky, that my expressing my opinion is the equivalent of FORCING my beliefs on you, well then, your not as strong in your faith as you claim (and that is in no way my fault.)

Lol. Can you say, "StrawMan." Please, continue to misread and misdefine my words, because down deep, you really know that is it yourself whom you have the issue with.

Believe what you like (including that religion is bunk, if you wish) but any neutral party reading this can quite clearly see your hostility toward the religious, and your need to twist what others are honestly trying to explain to you, so that you can condemn others and find fault with their good-faith reasoning.

Maybe just walk away, and in a few years come back to such discussions when you are better able to handle them rationally. Painting all "Xians" as your enemy or thinking they are personally hostile to you can't be very good for the heart or soul. Not to mention your reading comprehension skills.

Nothing here to even argue about.

Even to the extent that there are clear biological differentiators between the sexes, such differences don't constitute a legitimate reason for unequal treatment such as the SBC and Huckabee support. Individuals differ in the content of melanin in their skin - a measurable biological difference, no? Is that a legitimate basis for unequal status?

The bible isn't a proper ethical standard in a diverse society.

I think we have some conflating of issues concerning the biblical passages and parsing Huckabee and the religious right's stand on marriage. This has left untouched the essential problem that Huckabee, Romney, et al present to the voters: what will become government policy? In the most recent (Jan. 17, 2008) issue of "The New York Review of Books" Garry Wills writes about the difference between Romney and JFK. (I realize that Romney is not the same a Huckabee, but the comments relate to all the religious right as it presently behaves). As some may recall, many questioned JFK's catholicism and expressed the fear that he would take his orders from the Vatican. He responded (and I quote from the NYRB article):

"Whatever issue may come before me as President, if I should be elected -- on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject -- I will make my decision ... in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise."

Contrast this with the current attack on the concept of separation of church and state. The current religious right wing argument runs thus: "Secularlism" is a religion [say what?!], therefore liberals and other heathen are attempting to establish a religion in the U.S. Therefore, the first amendment *forbids* the separation of church and state. I do not know if Huckabee signs on to this, but it has "gained traction" among the right wing and constitutes one of the attacks on the first amendment that the next President will either lead of fight depending on who wins. BTW, in proof-reading the above, I saw I had typed "church as state." Maybe I should have left it that way as this is obviously what Huckabee and the right wing Christians want. But I digress.

None of us secular types (that I know of) has barred the door to any church, blown one up (that would be the racists, see under "other right-wing crazies"), denied housing to a Christian couple or interfered in someone else's pursuit of a Christian marriage. We're not the ones attempting to hijack the government to legislate how other people should lead their lives. That would be Romney, Huckabee, & co.

There also exists a historical context that many outside of the right wing have learned. Wills mentions at the end of his article, that the idea that the puritans fled religious persecution to found a better society based on religious freedom is hokum. As Wills wrote about the Massachusetts Bay Colony: "After the colony hanged its sixth Quaker, King Charles II ordered it to stop killing his subjects for their religious views -- reversing the mythology of our grade schools." Right, when they needed a break from annihilating Native Americans they unwound by stringing up a Quaker.

I realize that Mary and other devout individuals will likely consider this a baseless simplistic attack on all religion or religious individuals. Not at all. It's an attack on the whack jobs who would gladly found their blessed better kinder society by burning, hanging or otherwise dispatching any of the rest of us who do not sign on. Like it or not, when Huckabee, Romney and others spew verbiage like what Ms. Beyerstein posted, with words like "submission" and "women" and "sexual" all in the same sentence, it makes the rest of us *very* nervous. From what I have read I do not think Mary is the sort of person to push her religion on anyone and must feel rather ill treated by the vehement reaction to the post in this and other comments. Well, you're not the one we're worried about.

The last point is one of the use and abuse of language and meaning. The religious right invented stealth candidates and "dog whistle politics." Mary attempts to debunk the adverse reaction to Huckabee and the SBC by attempting to explain and give more context to the concept of "submission" in the church. Nice and informative but totally misses the point. If the religious right and its leaders persist in including coded messages in their speeches, position papers, talking points, and sound bites, then whine and complain about how the rest of us do not understand them when we call them on something then I have only this response:

Speak plain English all the time and knock it off with the coded messages. If us nasty secular humanists need a Captain Midnight decoder ring in order to figure out what a politician or religious leader is saying that he's trying to conceal from us then writers like Ms. Beyerstein will continue to post and analyze this verbiage and if some of us come to conclusions that offend the devout then --

Speak plain English or bite me!

To the best of my knowledge Huckabee and other right wing religious candidates actually want:

No one to have an abortion - ever
No one to have birth control - ever
No unmarried couples of any kind to cover each other with workplace health benefits
No same sex marriage
No unmarried couples of any kind to have housing (landlords have already denied housing to unmarried couples on religious grounds).
An end to public schools
Government funding of religious (preferably Christian) schools
A requirement to teach creationist beliefs as science in the schools.
Government funding of religious organizations (again preferably Christian ones).
A religious test for holding elected office.
An end to all entitlement programs

And needless to say, health care for everyone is not on the menu. Also, implied in the above is the re-segregation of the school system. This may take place on religious and/or class lines, rather than color ones (or maybe color, depending on the geographic area). For a look at how a right wing Christian country will run its school system, read about the Air Force Academy and its persecution of non-evangelical cadets. Having your teachers tell you that you will burn in hell for not converting - that's a great way to educate children!

If the devout wonder why the non-devout cringe at the thought of someone like Huckabee as President, then refer to the list above. This is what I obtain by careful reading of what right wing Christians have published or broadcast over the last 25 years or so. If this is not their program, I'd love to hear them deny it - all of them, clearly, consistently and in the little obscure newsletters and pamphlets they think the rest of us don't read. Until then, if they put the words "women" "submission" and "sexual" in the same sentence, the rest of us will pitch a fit.

If Huckabee and the Southern Baptists don't really want women to submit to their husbands in the ordinary sense of the term, why do they keep describing their goal in such misleading terms. Whenever they get called on it, they say something like, "Oh, I don't mean submission, as in the husband dominates the wife. I mean that the husband and the wife love each other very much and do everything they can to make each other happy! Why are you so bigoted and misinformed about my religion and the Bible, anyway?"

'm not in a hole. If you refuse to listen to others, prefer to misunderstand and swear at others in your anger, feel free.

Mary,

I'm just wondering something. Why do you keep dodging the issue at hand and just resort to accusing us of being angry?You are not God, so you have no ability to read our minds.

Now, what I was referring to with my hole comment (which I was just being a bit whimsical and humorous with, and I regret to read that you are not amused) was your comment that the biological differences between men and women dictate that woman must be submissive. You may not know this, but most readers of this blog find that statement laughable at best, and highly offensive at worst.

And because I pointed that out, that of course makes me angry, I know.

Please. Reading and responding to Mary may be entertaining in itself (I sure didn't find it so), but it only offers encouragement to somebody who doesn't mean to contribute to discussion. I gave her a fair shot and concluded it was impossible to think anything other than her posts were ultimately about a narcissistic personality trying to grab attention by shallow pontificating, pissing people off, or by any means necessary. Ignore and refuse to respond, she'll get bored and move on, and we'll have more fun talking to each other.

Look, I just told Mary to go fuck herself. And I get accused of being angry.

Compare that to the many examples in the bible of their angry psychopathological god doing all sorts of insanely violant crap. Then go fuck yourself again. You know, just to make sure.

Anger? Feh.

Hey Mary, you should watch the first third of this movie (it's free, online): ZEITGEIST Snuggle up and get some popcorn! :)

And another thing: this "mary" persona appears to be a "rational mimic." You see them once in awhile, defending the indefensible (often some sort of religious garbage) in a manner at it first seems to bow to the confines of logic, but upon rudimentary inspection you see that they are just plain nuts.

Excuse me if I have lost all patience with such people.

"...I think some of you refuse to try to look at religion through the eyes of the religious..."

That's not refusal, Mary -- what you're asking for is impossible.
I can look at religion only through my own eyes. As an irreligious son-of-a-bitch, I do not see it the way you do.
If you wanted us to look at religion through the eyes of the religious, Mary, you should have described what you see in terms so clear, vivid, and plausible that we could accept your viewpoint as valid.
This you failed to do.
Instead you complained that anybody who saw things differently was attacking you and must be full of hostility.
This is not the way to make friends and influence people, Mary.
You may be a good Christian, but you're a lousy evangelist.

By the way, my blogging name is not a slap at your savior. It's short for "Excitable Boy" -- I'm a fan of Warren Zevon.

As someone perhaps a bit more familiar with the New Testament

I don’t doubt that. When I get to passages like: “Slaves, obey your human masters in everything, not only when being watched, as currying favor, but in simplicity of heart, fearing the Lord.” (Col. 3:22), I tend to lose interest and find something else to read.
Even as metaphor I'm not a big fan of slavery, submission, etc. Particularly when considering what uses southern white baptists have put such passages to.

your comment that the biological differences between men and women dictate that woman must be submissive

It's never a "must". I wrote that some of you from the outside interpreting those words so nefariously might consider, as a suggest for those seeking a family that it was written from a biological basis:

Women physically "submit" to being impregnated (as opposed to animalistic dominance by force); men work to protect and provide for the life-bearing woman when she is in her birthpangs, and playing an active biological role in delivering and nursing their offspring.

Look -- it might not work for you, which is fine. But to laugh at such time-tested "suggestions" is also to dismiss the roles within the family and the evidence that shows that healthy families often voluntarily accept these roles -- mother, father, "obedient" children" -- and turn out better for it.

Can it be done with mother-mother, or father-father, or single parenting? Sure. But often these are more exceptions, with one person picking up the slack and performing dual roles.

Laugh all you like, think I am "digging", but that is a more accurate description to me and many of how that biblical phrase is interpreted in reality. I DO understand that "submission" can seem weak and yucky, especially when you are young and unconcerned about fertility or the basics of biology. Misinterpreting the word "submission" as a negative has a lot to do with it. But as any S+M afficianado could tell you, there is great power to in submission, positive growth both parts of a couple performing those roles.

Did I say you were angry? No. But I certainly believe many of those who responded directly to me here are. You, I think, do not wish to understand how others think about their beliefs and these particular words, which is a shame, because you might be falsely attributing and might come away more reassured and less afraid or convinced that others who understand the value of such passages are just simplistic loonies. (no offense to the Canadian coin intended ;-)

The cash value of "mutual submission," at least as understood by such evangelicals as the Promise Keepers, does seem to be that husbands should be the final decision makers. If there are men and women who choose to live that way, who am I to object? Their lives are their own; it's their problem, not mine. Huckabee may be only a bad role model provided he stops short of trying to impose this choice on the rest of us by law or public policy.

Sad, H. actually wants a religious test for public office? He'd need to amend Article VI, section 3 of the Constitution:
“...no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."
That's nothing to worry about.

Shrimplate, you "just told Mary to go fuck herself. And I get accused of being angry." How could the one reasonably follow the other?

Cfrost, the New Testament is hardly Torah from Sinai to me, but note that the passage from the Epistle to the Colossians prescribes conduct for slaves without mandating slavery. It doesn't apply without the institution. It didn't worry Wilberforce.

Indeed, Huckabee's candidacy isn't worth any hand-wringing. His reactionary and parochial views will prevent him getting elected president. If he is enjoying a spotlight to proclaim his views, it's no affront to the public. We could do worse, say by suggesting that it's uncivil for a candidate to disclose his thinking with candor. How else could we know whom to elect and reject?

You may be a good Christian, but you're a lousy evangelist.

By the way, my blogging name is not a slap at your savior. It's short for "Excitable Boy" -- I'm a fan of Warren Zevon.

1) I am not an evangelist, nor have I ever identified that way.

2) I too like Warren Zevon ("well that's the one thing we've got...")

3) Despite the allegations above, I do not interpret all X's as deliberate disrespect for Christians. But I do stand by my belief that calling others "Xians" over and over is a deliberate form of disrespect -- a codeword -- rather than innocuous shorthand, a way to save typing out extra letters.

And I think the angry and disrespectful responses above of those whipping out the "Xian" label confirm my belief.

AH - thank goodness I'm not in a relationship with you :).

Mudkitty, stop trying to opress me! Why are you so angry? Please stop the cussing and read what I've written. I just want the simple freedom to keep you as a slave, as my religion commands.

Dock, you're entirely right that it would be better if everyone simply ignored Mary, but I suspect that it's futile to try to untroll a thread that's already been successfully trolled. And while milo is always an obvious troll from the first post, Mary is much better at trolling, and will probably always get some sort of response (I realize that she's going to take this as a compliment, but so be it). If this thread was my first encounter with her, I would probably think that she was a lunatic who was trying to contribute to the discussion---i.e. a luntic, but not a troll. It's only when you go through a few threads with her till you realize that she's just fishing for responses. Unfortunately, I don't think there's much hope of stopping such trolling from being successful, short of banning. I would be in favor of viewpoint-neutral, troll-based banning, although there is of course always the problem of distinguishing trolls and people who you strongly disagree with. But since LB is (I assume) anti-banning, and since other regular posters seem to for some reason enjoy arguing with a lunatic, I don't think there's much to be done other than to get what fun there is to be had in the derailed thread.

If Huckabee and the Southern Baptists don't really want women to submit to their husbands in the ordinary sense of the term, why do they keep describing their goal in such misleading terms. Whenever they get called on it, they say something like, "Oh, I don't mean submission, as in the husband dominates the wife. I mean that the husband and the wife love each other very much and do everything they can to make each other happy! Why are you so bigoted and misinformed about my religion and the Bible, anyway?"

Respectfully, LB:
I don't think that the Bible needs to be rewritten because people like you don't understand what that passage means.

It is you who is misinformed, seeking to filter words and passages that have nothing to do with your modern liberated interpretations, into ancient text.

Why not seek to better understand, rather than insist it be rewritten to conform to your modern-day ideas of feminism -- which already has changed over the decades and certainly will in the coming years?

Christian women are generally not treated shabbily -- nor as lessers -- under this passage.

Take care of the true consequences to women when you call for re-writing or throwing away this book -- maybe take a look at all the negatives in reality that have befallen women and children by the feminist movement, and those who would reject acknowledging the unique roles each sex in invited to play in some of these (voluntary) family relationships.

(I'm curious: many of us believe that women and children come off less well by those who solely follow the OLD testament; does that text come in for your total scorn as well, and is there any blueprint you might advise young families seeking direction to follow, or just wing it and hope for the best, no spiritual guidance needed? How would you measure the results?

If your father was still alive, for example, is there any rules or guidance you wish he might have better followed to extend his life, and I don't mean in the eternity? Sometimes, common sense understanding of biology and attendant "rules" -- such as healthy eating, no smoking, exercise daily -- really do impact the final results.)

Mary, the science of biology had not begun when Paul and Peter wrote their instructions. It was not a biological event. I do not believe that women are biologically inferior to men such that submission is wise, prudent, humane, decent. You cite biology - I cite political, economic and cultural sexism.

I see nothing of value in the concept of grown adults "submitting" to each other, even with general admonitions not to misuse such power. Anyone who should be "submitting" should not be getting married. The submission ethic hinders the moral development of both the submissive and the dominant; the former fails to take moral responsibility for the results of avoidable courses of conduct and the latter fails to learn the challenge of dealing in equal partnership with a fully sovereign human being who, like him, must take moral responsibility for decisions good and bad.

Paul and Peter each had a lot of things to say on a lot of topics, but only because an organized civil rights movement for women (i.e. feminism) has challenged the injustice and social catastrophic damage caused by sexist dominance within marriage does this sexist passage get a lot of play.

Sad - you make me look like a piker. Right on ya mate!

Cfrost - your example is excellent.


*****


Mary - Show some respect!?! Then what did YOU mean by 10 to 1? It would almost sound like a threat, if it weren't such a non-sequiter. And "10 to 1, at the very least" is also a mathematical anomaly, and that's putting it politely. I'm beginning to think you got your law degree in Lynchburg Virginia. Logic is not your strong suit, and I mean that kindly.

I'm not "condemming you" Mary. I'm expressing disagreement. Condemning people is what Xians (and all people from religions and cults) do when they assert that they and only they know the truth, the light and the way, or that they and only they can see into the hidden meanings of texts.

Xians condemn non-believers to hell for all eternity. Do you deny that, Mary? If so, you'd be lying. The so-called free will to choose between heaven and hell, for all eternity, is hardly free will. In addition, you implied that, even in this earthly life, I, mudkitty, don't get it, because I disagree with you, because I'm not you, and because I haven't had your experience of grace...(which is, again, false - I have had your experience of "grace.")

(Again, please don't feign worrying about my "heart and/or soul." If you can't see how offensive that is, than you need to re-think everything you've ever thought true and good...but mostly, you're insincere. Especially when you accusing others of being angry, when you sound sooo angry yourself - Miss "10 to 1 - peace be with you" whatever that means. (You can't even take teasing.)

"Good faith reasoning?" Hardly, Mary. You're spouting Xian propaganda, which is your right, under the first amendment of the Constitution. And it's my right, Mary, to express my disagreement with you, under the first amendment. Sorry to shock you, Mary, but 10 to 1, or not, this is not an Xian Nation.

As for your thinking, Mary, that I am hostile to all religious people, that is, once again, bearing false witness. If that were true, I'd never get invited to any of my family gatherings.

BTW - I never said I wasn't anti-religious...that was never in question. And so what? Don't pretend you're able to read between the lines. My text and subtext are consistent.


*****

LB, I must say, you're quite the diplomat.

Speak plain English all the time and knock it off with the coded messages.

Again, it's the plain biblical text.
Many denominations speak straight from the text, and thus understanding the text IS important.

They're not about to rewrite the bible just so some of you feel more comfortable, in order to seek your votes. And why should we have to compensate for the younger generation's biblical ignorance, even on a cultural basis?

"One of the greatest pieces I ever read is a prayer by St. Francis of Assisi, which is a reminder for each of us who would be peacemakers: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy; O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

Of course, you don't have to be a believer to show basic respect for beliefs of others.

Mary, your gratuitous reference to the passing of Dr. Beyerstein is completely irrelevant to the discussion of the sexist implications of Mike Huckabee's ideology, and therefore morally offensive by the standards of decent people.

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